Call Me Country: Beyonce & Nashville's Renaissance (2024) Movie Script

[music playing]
Beyonc is the greatest
entertainer of her generation.
This is a person who
has a very intense
relationship with a
very large body of fans.
You went to the
concert, and you
saw the concert filmed, right?
Three hours, yes, well-spent.
(SINGING) I wanna house
you and make you take my name
I've met so many of
my goals, and I just
keep making new goals
because I'm never satisfied,
and I always want to grow.
Well, the highly
anticipated second act
to Beyonc's Renaissance
project, Cowboy Carter,
dropped last night.
You guys, oh, my god.
I'm crying.
She's the first Black woman
ever to top the Billboard's
Hot Country Songs chart.
There is a public
perception about country music
that it is a
predominantly white genre.
I mean, I've seen
people say things like,
I didn't know that there
were Black country singers.
It's kind of an industry
that takes care of its own.
It has not been a
genre that has been
accepting of Black people.
You often find
partisans of country music
saying, well, this is
or that ain't country.
Beyonc, honey,
you need to stop.
How is that supposed
to be country?
That Beyonc
bullshit country song?
[scoffs] Bitch, please.
I think, pretty
clearly, what Beyonc
is trying to do is shove open
a door for other Black artists.
When I heard "16 Carriages--"
(SINGING) 16 carriages
driving away while I watch them
I was like, it has begun.
[music playing]
We love Beyonc!
Beyonc doesn't
do anything small.
When she releases
an album, she rolls
it out and invites the world.
This is the greatest rollout
moment of an album ever.
Beyonc does a commercial
on the Super Bowl.
The network is
crazy powerful.
I bet you can't break that.
[laughs] I bet I can.
Wait, what?
All of America is
already watching.
The whole crux of
the Verizon commercial
is, look at all
the ways that I've
already broken the internet.
Look at all the things
that I can do that people
will lose their minds over--
because I'm Beyonc.
What if I run for president?
What if I'm an alien?
What if I'm an astronaut?
We can handle anything.
And then she says--
OK, they ready.
Drop the new music.
Fuck the game!
What is she talking about,
where is this-- what?
Did she just say that?
Did it really mean--
is there new music?
I was not even
watching the Super Bowl.
I was at a performance
for a friend
and had turned my phone off.
And as soon as I
got in my car, you
would have thought someone
had died because there
were like 50 messages.
Have you heard it?
Did you see it?
Part of the excitement
with Cowboy Carter
was the suggestion that this
would be a country album.
The fans are like, yes!
Let's go.
We want this.
They love this.
(SINGING) family live
and died in America
Good ole USA, good ole USA
Shit, whole lotta red
in that white and blue
I mean, there's so much
red in the white and blue?
It's, you know, the violence
that Black and Brown people
have experienced being in
America, but not so overt
that it's a protest song.
We're just saying,
America, we have a problem.
Cowboy Carter is
a political album,
placing herself in
country, where we're
not supposed to feel welcome.
It's really finna get real
because you have to acknowledge
her gift and her
talent, and then
she's bringing that to a genre
that is not used to change.
[guitar playing]
My love for country
music began--
man, I was probably about
knee-high to a grasshopper--
put it that way.
I was real little.
It just came out as,
like, I was soaked in it.
You know what I'm saying?
(SINGING) Leading
my way like Sinatra
And on a bad day,
yeah, I got a mantra
Be original, be yourself
Don't worry about anyone else
I grew up in
Mississippi on a farm,
born the son of a preacher.
My granddad was a truck
driver and farmer.
And the backyard was 100 acres.
They had Duroc hogs, blue
turkey, 110 head of chickens,
whiskey stills down
off in the bottom.
(SINGING) Now, every
show is sold out
To me, I didn't see country as
a color, but other people did.
(SINGING) You say
you want a country
Well, country is
what I'm playing
There's no doubt,
I can hold out
Aaron has been doing
this for a very long time.
He's one of those people where
it's long overdue for him
to see the success
that he deserves.
I have a buddy.
He said, Aaron, I want
you to meet this guy.
He was an artist.
He plays at the Grand
Ole Opry and everything.
I ain't going to drop no names.
So I asked him where he
was from, and he's
like, California.
And I said, all right,
I'm from Mississippi.
And he's like, so
what do you do?
And I was like, whoa, he
went for the sweet move.
And I'm like, nah, bro,
I do traditional country.
And it was-- and that was it.
He didn't say too much,
and he just walked off.
Yeah, so, he's a
white country artist,
and he has all
this opportunity.
And look at his attitude
towards somebody he don't know,
and he just seen a color.
So that gave me more
fire to keep doing me,
keep writing what I write,
keep living my life,
and don't worry about
artists like that.
Because artists like that
got it made in the shade.
I ain't got it
made in the shade.
The country
music industry has
not done any work to make Black
people feel safe in the music.
We have just been
so overlooked.
You cannot be scared of
what country looks like.
Country ain't
never been a color.
When I first heard the two
singles drop, I was like, uh,
shit, that's country.
(SINGING) 16 car--
Man, what?
I have always
felt that Beyonc
has a sort of
national personality
where everybody can see
themselves reflected.
(SINGING) Say my
name, say my name
When no one is around you
Beyonc obviously
coming out of Destiny's
Child, an R&B girl group.
(SINGING) Uh-oh,
uh-oh, uh-oh, oh, no, no
The solo career
starts, psh, explodes.
(SINGING) Get me bodied
She's somebody who has never
really been beholden to genre
in a way that was
limiting to her,
whether that be pop, whether
that be R&B. She seems
to move to the next thing.
(SINGING) To the
left, to the left
I write the songs
that I need to hear,
and that I feel other
women need to hear.
And I'm all about empowerment
and the strength that we have
when we unite as women.
Beyonc had come to
be seen as an artist
for everyone, someone
that a lot of white women
could gravitate towards.
I've kind of broken
barriers, and I don't think
people think about my race.
I think they look at me as an
entertainer and a musician.
She would do
all of the things
that a pop star has to do.
But when she moves
into Lemonade,
she moves into the space
where she is reflecting
a world that she wants to see.
This is a woman who shouted
out the Black Panthers
at the Super Bowl.
It is a notion of,
"we have arrived,
and we're taking up space,
and we're not going to ask you
for permission to do that."
I think "Formation" was
really one of the first times
that people had to
stop and be like,
oh, maybe this isn't for me.
The "Formation" video came
out at a time when there was
so much commentary
happening around the Black
Lives Matter movement.
We have her singing about how
much she loves her Negro nose
and her Jackson 5 nostrils.
(SINGING) I like my Negro
nose with Jackson 5 nostrils
These are choices
that Beyonc
is making that relate to her
own maturation as a
human being.
Trayvon did not have to die.
We all know the reason why.
Looking at the way
Black people are treated
and standing up for women who
have been wronged by society.
There was a time when a
woman's opinion did not matter.
If you were Black, white,
Mexican, Asian, Muslim,
educated, poor or rich,
if you were a woman,
it did not matter.
Look how far we've come
from having no voice.
won't break my soul
Renaissance is about Black
women and queer people,
and it is this
powerful upliftment.
I see you.
I love you.
I center you.
And then she comes
with a country album.
ain't Texas, woo!
Ain't no hold 'em
My banjo being on a
world recognized song
is just kind of
blowing my mind.
(SINGING) So park your Lexus
TikToks of Black
people dancing
to the sound of my banjo?
That banjo represents hundreds
of years of our history,
whether people know it or not.
[banjo playing]
The banjo is an
instrument invented
by people of the African
diaspora in the Caribbean.
Enslaved people brought
versions of the banjo
to the United States
over on the ships.
And then it makes its way
up with them to North America
and becomes a central
part of Black life.
And there are loads of white
people playing music to it.
It took the
Scottish, the Africans,
Native American people
to come together.
I'm going to borrow this,
and I'm going to borrow this,
and I'm going to borrow this.
And like, it's like gumbo.
What happens, then,
is a couple of things.
You have the great migration,
a lot of Black people
leaving the South, and then
you also have the recording
industry coming in.
They're wanting to sell
music to certain people.
What was called
"hillbilly music"
in the 1920s and what
were called "race records"
around the same time
was basically code
for a certain brand of
white music and a certain
brand of Black music.
Eventually, race
records evolved
into what's known
as rhythm and blues
or R&B. What's known as
hillbilly became country.
It was like the ultimate
capitalist decision
to split these things in half.
They create the
segregation, and then we
have perpetuated it as the
music industry has grown.
This is not like,
oh, Black people
are getting into country--
no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Like, we've been in
country music, right?
You can go back to, like,
the first family of country
music, the Carter Family.
(SINGING) Oh, he taught me to
love him and promised to love
Carter specifically had this
very distinct playing style.
Well, it came from a Black man.
It came from Lesley Riddle.
And of course,
that historically
has always been attributed
to Ma Carter, when
that's actually Lesley Riddle.
I mean, one of the earliest
stars of the Grand Ole Opry
in the 1920s was DeFord
Bailey, the so-called
"harmonica wizard."
[playing harmonica]
There were literally
Black artists
there from the first night
that the Grand Ole Opry began.
Linda Martell.
She was the highest Black
woman to chart until Beyonc.
And this was in the late '60s.
Of course, Charley Pride.
(SINGING) We'll walk
the fields together
Charley Pride had 29
number ones on country radio.
He succeeded in spite of
the fact that he was Black,
not because he was Black,
you know what I mean?
If you take Hank
Williams, Sr., for example,
he fused the blues
with country music.
(SINGING) I tried
so hard, my dear
So it has a very
inherently Black inspiration
in our genre that happened with
the godfather of country music.
So this started a
long, long time ago.
It seemed to be that we've
gotten away from that
somewhere along the way.
We have to remember
it is an industry.
People who are in
power decided this is
what the Nashville sound is.
Nashville is the
gateway to country music.
It is not only the center
of country the way,
say, the movie and
television business
is centered in Hollywood.
It really is kind of the
arbiter of what country
music is.
There's no one faction that
controls Nashville wholly,
but it's kind of an industry
that takes care of its own.
The idea that it only
happens in country music
is a little misleading.
There is definitely gatekeeping
happening in hip-hop.
There's a ton of gatekeeping
that happens in jazz.
I think a lot of
people still think
that this is like
a meritocracy,
and that's absolutely not true.
Greed is driving the train.
Everyone has a boss.
The bosses have bosses.
The top bosses
have shareholders.
There's this constant
chain of fear,
which slows down progress.
The thing that they
know for sure how to do
is to market white men.
The Mount Rushmore
of country today
would be Morgan
Wallen, Luke Combs,
Luke Bryan, Jason
Aldean, still be Kenny
Chesney up there, Keith Urban.
It's generally held by
label heads in Nashville
that it's a bad bet to give a
contract to a female singer.
they bury our dreams
We push them up
through concrete
We're growing where--
I will never forget this.
I'm sitting in the hallway at
a major label in Nashville.
I can hear them
playing the music.
And everything sounds
really positive,
and everyone's laughing,
and they're talking.
Oh, this sounds so pretty.
Oh, it's good.
Blah, blah, blah.
And then, everybody peeks out
the window, and I'm like, hi.
And then suddenly, you know,
suddenly it's like, oh, well,
we got to figure out how
to find songs for someone
like her.
Let's tweak some
things with her accent.
Maybe we need to figure out
how to build an audience
for someone like her.
Black people have a hard
time in country music.
Queer people have a hard
time in country music.
But even white women have a
hard time in country music.
If you ask one
country radio executive,
he says the key to success
is leaving the women out.
Tomato gate is
a flare-up that
happened when a
radio programmer
was quoted saying that--
To maximize
radio listenership,
women should be like
tomatoes in a larger
salad of male artists--
never played back to back
and never more than about 20%
of the mix.
All of a sudden I
was this idiot saying,
take women off radio.
The lettuce is Luke Bryan and
Blake Shelton and Keith Urban
and artists like that.
We're not thinking
about gender fairness.
We're just trying
to make money.
There are certain things
that make ratings go down.
Every country radio
station in a rated market,
you won't find anybody
playing over 20% females.
Not a single one.
The sad thing
about that comment
was that it does
largely reflect
reality as country radio
programmers understand it.
However dismal that
number is for white women,
it's a fraction of a
fraction for Black women.
I believe we make up 0.03%.
Since its inception,
there have only
been eight Black women to be on
the Billboard Country charts.
I am one of them.
There are 1,000 ways I can
respond to the question of, how
do we make radio more diverse?
But fundamentally,
we don't want to.
I don't think that there's
any financial incentive
for them right now
to try to figure out
how to market a Black woman,
because up until Beyonc,
there was no reason.
In a country where we
think there's racism--
and there is-- there is no
racism by country radio.
If you give me a
great record, I don't
care what your skin color is.
If the Beyonc record
is the best record,
I'll play it more
than anyone else.
Country music is supposedly
three chords and the truth.
But one of the open
questions about country music
is, who's delivering
that truth?
Who gets to say what country
is, what the South is about?
Beyonc told you
years and years ago
that she will never
take the country out
of her because that's
who she is culturally.
She grew up going to
the Houston Rodeo.
When she came back to the
rodeo a couple of years later
as a solo artist, she
wrote into the stadium
on the back of a horse.
When you look at the
cover art of Cowboy Carter,
she's representing
that rodeo queen.
She's from the South.
My parents are from
Louisiana, Alabama.
Do I not to get to
have a say in what
the South should sound like?
I'm stoked that Beyonc is
tapping into her Texas roots.
(SINGING) Time is ticking
like it always does
It flies right by
There's so much music
culture in Texas,
and I think country is
an important dimension
of that music.
(SINGING) You can do to quell
I grew up on the
outskirts of Houston,
and I grew up obsessed
with country music.
As a young Black girl,
listening to country music,
it didn't feel strange to me.
That was all I listened to.
And that really formed
the foundation for what
I think of as a great song.
And I always carried
that with me.
The first time I lived in
Nashville was in the early
2000s, which was a
starkly different
experience as a Black queer
artist than I'm having now.
I'm not sure that
the music culture
had been pressed
enough to diversify
that I could find my place.
(SINGING) Say my name
I started to experiment with
electronic music and R&B.
In the quarantine
of 2020, I found
myself just reaching for
something that felt like home.
(SINGING) I've wandered
off from here to Houston,
Looking for a place
that I can call my own
In Nashville, we are
seeing some evolution,
but there are ceilings that I
can't even feel that I don't--
I'm not even aware of because
I can only get so far.
People are placed into the
box of, you're a Black woman.
You can only do this.
You should only be doing this.
These are the boundaries that
we've established for you.
Roam free, but roam free
within those boundaries.
People have tried
to put whatever
labels or whatever boundaries
or limitations on Beyonc.
She's been able to stop and
say, no, this is who I am.
The first song on the
album, "American Requiem."
See, this is the critical line.
(SINGING) Used to
say, I spoke too country
And then rejection came,
said I wasn't country enough
They used to say
I was too country.
Then I wasn't country enough.
Whatever you think
of Cowboy Carter,
this is a revenge album.
I'm going to come back
with the baddest country
album you've ever
seen, and I will
show you up at your own game.
Before Act Two,
Beyonc came out
with a statement
on social media
and shared that this album
was born out of an experience
that I had years ago where
I did not feel welcomed.
You can only assume
she's referring to the 2016
CMA Awards when she
performed "Daddy Lessons"
with the Chicks.
(SINGING) With his head held
high, he told me not to cry
Oh, my daddy said shoot
It definitely made me
think of that moment,
while I was at the CMAs myself,
to see Beyonc in my hometown
of Nashville with the
Chicks, this is probably
the best moment of my life.
Then, an audience member in
front of me proceeds to say,
get that Black bitch
off the stage right now.
I remember instantly kind of
being taken back to reality
in that moment to
realize that there's
like a threat of
Black people being
in this genre for some reason.
For Beyonc to not be welcomed
feels like a gut punch.
The crowd in the arena seemed
to enjoy the performance,
but the social media
universe was another story.
Some country music fans
were not happy about
Beyonc's presence.
After the awards, the CMAs
published her performance
on social media
that some people
were using to
denounce Beyonc being
there or for outright racism.
That's right, folks.
Beyonc performed at
the CMAs last night
and is on a mission to take
country music away from us
hardworking white people.
Beyonc did not belong there,
even looked out of place.
Keep country, country.
I don't know why
they feel country is
so precious that it
cannot be entered
by Beyonc from Houston.
But here we are.
It wasn't out of the norm
to have someone like
Beyonc there.
The CMA awards,
every single year,
they book a pop
star because they
want to get as many eyeballs on
the presentation as possible.
I was skep--
I am on record of being
skeptical when she
came out with "Daddy Lessons."
What angered me about it
was that it overshadowed,
you know, two other
performers of color
who were kind of naturally
there, Charley Pride, and then
myself as a guest
of Eric Church,
having me sing on
his song that's
all about like
turning hate into love
and getting rid of
these words of anger.
And that upset me that
that was overshadowed.
I'm not gonna lie.
My feelings were hurt a
little bit because there
is a Black woman standing on
a stage that I wanted to be on
and had never been invited to
be a part of, even though I was
very much a part
of the community
and had worked very hard to
be a part of the community.
Just because of
the race of an artist
doesn't necessarily mean that's
the reason they're not being
embraced by country fans.
There are dozens of
pop stars or stars
from other genres
coming to country music
and getting a cold shoulder.
There have been attempts
at crossover in country music
by everyone from
Jewel to Jon Bon Jovi
that have not really taken.
Beyonc far and away
is not the only one.
Lil Nas X is a
Black Southern man
who stumbled across
a beat that sounded
to him like country music.
And instantly, Lil Nas X said,
I can do something with this.
(SINGING) Cowboy hat from
Gucci, Wrangler on my booty
He recorded a song that
he called "Old Town Road."
He talked about having
Wrangler on his booty.
Can't nobody tell me nothing.
And he just thought a cowboy
song with this banjo sample
would be an instant success.
And he was right.
I want to say thank you
to every single person who
has made this moment
possible for me.
It was only when Billboard
was told by factions within
Nashville, we don't consider
this a country record,
that Billboard decided
to pull "Old Town Road"
off of the Hot
Country Songs chart,
and then all hell broke loose.
A hit song is sparking
controversy over what country
music should sound like.
Billboard pulled it, decided
it wasn't country enough.
"Old Town Road," a song
that Billboard actually
removed from the country
charts because it
wasn't country enough.
Is it because
this is somebody
who's new to Nashville,
didn't record in Nashville?
Is it because he's Black?
Does his race matter?
These were the kinds of
questions folks were asking.
Billboard responded
to the backlash
by saying their decision to
take the song off the country
chart had absolutely nothing to
do with the race of the artist.
That was Billboard,
as an institution,
unilaterally deciding that
is where that song resides.
That was not country
music's decision,
but unfortunately,
country music
got lumped with all of that.
I think it's also important
to note that Lil Nas X
was invited to the CMA Awards.
It's also important
to note that he
won a CMA Award for
his collaboration
with Billy Ray Cyrus.
Billy Ray Cyrus was
approached and asked,
would you participate in a
remix of "Old Town Road"?
And he said, yeah,
because he wanted
to help Lil Nas
X point a finger
and pose a question
to Nashville.
If I add a white country singer
and a cowboy hat to the song,
does it instantly become
an actual country song?
"Old Town Road"
was all of me.
It was everything that I'd
been raised on my whole life
by banjo and bluegrass
and solid country hook.
If country music fans dig
it, then it's country.
Even though Billboard
Magazine never let it back
on its Hot Country Songs
chart, it established
that "Old Town Road"
had kind of been
a country song all along.
It did not stop there.
It just blew him up to the
biggest possible proportion.
So when we think about an album
like Cowboy Carter that gets
people asking questions
to the institutions,
so I think that is the major
thing that is going to assist
artists of color
and queer artists
and being able to move forward.
If I were to
point to a period
where country music started
wrestling with its identity,
I would say the killing
of George Floyd in 2020.
There are demonstrations
going on right
now all across the country.
People on the streets in
the middle of a pandemic
protesting the killing of
George Floyd in Minneapolis.
That prompted a reckoning
across the country that
led to country
music asking, are we
contributing to
this environment,
and can we be more welcoming?
George Floyd and
Sandra Bland and Ahmaud
Arbery got us as
a country to start
thinking about these things.
And country music finally
had to sit with itself.
And a lot of people put
out statements and posted
black squares and
talked about the action
that they were going to take.
It was very much, How can
we put a Band-Aid on this?
instead of wanting to do the
inner work and inner healing
that is required to create
meaningful change when
something like that happens.
It took Mickey Guyton
10 years to get her debut
album to be released.
George Floyd had to
die for this woman
to put out a song that got
recognized by the industry.
(SINGING) And if
you think we live
She's recorded records
like "Black Like Me--"
(SINGING) You should try
to be, oh, Black like me
where the subtext of her
being a Black female country
artist is now the text.
And, you know, if country music
is three chords and the truth,
that's Mickey Guyton's truth
and she's singing about it.
Country music is
always evolving,
but when it does
that, there's this,
like, push and pull
between what it used to be,
where it wants to go, and where
other people are pushing it.
In 2021, TJ Osborne, one
of the two Brothers Osborne,
came out as gay.
This is remarkable in the
country music industry
for a mainstream country act.
Before I came out,
it was like these--
I felt very, like,
stiff anywhere I went.
Well, you know, I was
micromanaging every move.
give me that look,
that "let me down easy" smile
I would sit still
and hold a guitar
and sing into a microphone.
I didn't want to
do anything or say
anything that might
bring questions that
would make me uncomfortable.
(SINGING) I'm right back
where I'm really home
When TJ came out to me,
I felt relieved for him
that he was able to tell
me something like that.
I knew that he wasn't
having to carry that weight.
Secrets are heavy, and that one
must have been a metric ton.
And I cried genuine,
happy tears.
I was proud of him.
I was happy to know that
he, like the rest of us,
has been able to experience the
complexities of life and love,
unfortunately, in secret.
But I felt like that was
the first day of the rest
of our lives as brothers.
I know that I wanted
to come out publicly,
but how we were going to get
there was years in the making.
In the video, "Stay a Little
Longer," we put a gay couple
and an interracial couple.
And there was a lot of people
that had a huge problem
with all of those things.
And it was like kind
of odd because it
was like we were seen as
allies, which was amazing.
But the whole time, it was
like kind of seemed phony
to me because I'm gay.
And so as it went on, it was
like, OK, we're gonna do this.
It came out in Time Magazine.
I didn't even get
to read the article,
or I had no idea what
was about to happen.
It was also
challenging because I
didn't want it to be perceived
as attention seeking.
I just wanted it
to kind of happen
and move on with my life.
But things really changed
in an instant for me.
I hope you feel the tsunami
of love that is headed--
that has been heading your
way ever since you spoke out.
And I did feel a sense of
purpose I'd never felt before.
Being able to truly, completely
be myself and be happy,
I had fallen back in love
with what we did again,
more than I'd ever had before.
I felt, like, a
closeness with our fans
that I never felt before.
I didn't know what to expect.
I mean, I did not expect this.
This is incredible.
Thank you.
If I could go
back now from here
and tell myself where I
would be, like, oh, my God,
I would never believe that
I would have ended up here.
Younger me came out of that.
The very last line of the song,
"You got me where I am today,
got a few things right
along the way, you'll see.
Just wait, younger me."
I'm almost getting
teary eyed saying it now.
It's all part of living.
Life is scary, and it's kind
of messy and ugly sometimes.
But if you push through, then
beautiful things will happen.
And I think our lives
are proof of that.
At the end of the
day, the people
that will make the biggest
impact are the artists.
You know I love it
when you sing along.
This is one of my favorite
songs of all time.
It's called "Fast Car."
Luke Combs recorded that song
just to be an album cut, just
almost as like a
fun thing, maybe
a tribute to Tracy Chapman.
It was a song that
he sung all the time
when he was growing up.
(SINGING) You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
So the reason that "Fast
Car" became this big hit was
completely organically,
which is the new market that
we're seeing opening
up in country
music and changing the
paradigm that puts radio first.
So much of country music is
built on singing other people's
songs, being able to appreciate
the people who create it
and where it comes from.
"Fast Car" is a song
created by a Black woman.
we'll make something
Me, myself, I got
nothing to prove
To see Tracy Chapman
on the Grammy Award stage
with him in 2024 was
an incredible moment
because it was him
stepping back and allowing
her to have that moment.
The success of
Combs's rendition
makes Chapman the first Black
female songwriter to top
the Country Airplay chart.
We can't overlook that this
was the first solo Black woman
to get these accolades.
And so when I hear just sort
of the knee-jerk reaction
of like, well, anyone who
doesn't like Beyonc making
country songs must be racist,
I think about all these
moments here.
To see her being recognized
for the powerhouse songwriter
that she is was incredible.
I wish that it had
been for her version.
Luke Combs took a lot
of flack, some deserved,
some not deserved.
But I really loved
the performance
that he did on the Grammys.
It had been the first time
that she'd performed in years,
and it was the most poignant
moment of that whole evening,
and rightfully so.
And so I liked him centering
her in that moment.
And I wish more
people would do that.
This current moment that
we're having right now,
you have this influx of
Black artists coming in.
And it seems like
there's this Renaissance.
You've got Madeleine
Edwards, Shaboozey,
Camille Parker, Kane Brown.
You've got Darius being a
modern-day Charley Pride.
We've built upon
so much of a legacy.
You had Rissi
Palmer in the 2000s.
And then we have Holly G
kind of coming in and taking
the torch again and creating
Black Opry for all of us
artists to come together
and to thrive collectively
and individually.
When I'm at the
Black Opry, I'm
thinking I'm the only
person around that's Black
doing traditional country.
(SINGING) Spring take
me right on into summer
I met so many Black artists,
and it was like a homecoming.
And then when we
started passing
the guitar around
playing, I was like, wow!
(SINGING) It was six days and
seven nights in Myrtle Beach
(SINGING) And Tennessee blues
We wanna share our
stories, just like Luke Bryan
and just like Morgan Wallen.
Woo, woo!
And the thing that we
have working in our favor
that our predecessors did not
is the internet and streaming.
You still need country radio,
but the music is getting
out directly to the fans.
And for that, I think we all
can be extremely grateful,
because I know for me, I
wouldn't have a career anymore
if it weren't for that.
I know Beyonc has an
incredible, glittering resume,
but the deep relationship with
the fans is the true accolade.
We revere her like
a queen, and we
will follow her to
wherever she wants to go
and whatever she wants to make.
OK, "Jolene" is next, one of
the monsters of this album.
I love that she takes
"Jolene" and makes it her own.
Dolly Parton,
she's been saying
forever that she would love
to hear Beyonc sing "Jolene."
(SINGING) Jolene,
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
And, like, I think it
honors the original song--
(SINGING) Please don't
take him just because you can
while putting
Beyoncness into it.
(SINGING) I'm still a Creole
banjee bitch from Louisianne
Don't try me
Oh, my god.
- We love you.
- We love you.
We love you, Beyonc.
Thank you so much
for everything
you did for music industry.
I think whenever Beyonc
enters into a conversation,
through no fault of her own,
I think it automatically takes
all the air out of the room.
Like you automatically are
going to look at the unicorn.
Like, you know what I mean?
And so, I've seen people say
some really hurtful things,
like that she is
the reason Black
people are in country music.
And it's like
we've been working
at this for a very long time.
And I don't think
it's her intention.
But yeah, I do think
that some of it
does take the attention away.
I do have a fear
that this moment
could take attention
away from women
of color in country music.
Now, that said, there has
been some data that that's
actually not the case.
Beyonc's new
album, Cowboy Carter,
has boosted streams for Black
Country artists on Spotify.
I've often said in
a lot of interviews
that it would take Beyonc
putting the banjo on her song
to, like, blow this up, right?
Turns out that that
was kind of right
because that has really blown
everything kind of wide open
and given a spotlight from
more mainstream sources.
But my question is, what
happens going forward, right?
We can't just go,
oh, it's done.
Because like, you know,
when the dust is settled
and the next record comes
out, then what happens?
To all the record labels,
every radio station,
every award show, my hope is
that we're more open to the joy
and liberation that
comes from enjoying art
with no preconceived notions.
This is a gigantic
moment for Black people
who live in the country space.
Beyonc is just
here, and she's out.
But Tanner Adell lives here.
Willie Jones, Rhiannon
Giddens live here.
So she's absolutely changing
the lives of some of the people
who already lived
in this world.
[guitar playing]
When I look at my career
now, I'm more than blessed
because I'm in my skin.
It's going to get better.
A whole lot better.
It's gonna take love and
appreciation of all kinds
and all colors of country.
(SINGING) Yeah, and I've
been used to changing
You can feel it in
the song I'm singing
Between the laughter and tears
All my life, I've
been shifting gears
All my life--
I've just got invited to make
my debut at the Grand Ole Opry
this summer.
close my eyes at night
Then I awaken to light
The money I made
The Grand Ole Opry is a rite of
passage for a country artist.
(SINGING) I want to live
I want to live
It is also an
opportunity to get
in front of one of the largest
country audiences in the world.
(SINGING) I'm gonna
drive in my car
I'm gonna go to the store
I'm gonna go for a run
Then I'm gonna come
right back home