Here’s Why Fans Think Beyoncé Is Calling Out the CMA Awards

Eight years before her new album Cowboy Carter came to fruition, Beyoncé released what was then her most country song to date, “Daddy Lessons,” on her critically lauded 2016 album Lemonade. Half a year later, she performed it at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards alongside The Chicks.


However, there was backlash before the superstar even took the stage. A pre-show announcement teasing her performance sparked calls for a CMAs boycott on social media, with some people blasting the awards show for including Bey, whose tribute to the Black Panther Party during her performance of “Formation” at the 2016 Super Bowl had also earned pushback. (Some viewers also called for a boycott due to the inclusion of The Chicks, who famously pissed off the country music industry by criticizing George W. Bush at the height of the Iraq War in 2003.) After the performance, there was no mention of her appearance on the CMAs website.

Now, close to a decade later, fans think Bey is getting the last word. While unveiling the Cowboy Carter cover artwork Tuesday (March 19), the singer wrote that the Renaissance sequel was “born out of an experience” she’d had years prior where she “did not feel welcomed,” adding, “it was very clear that I wasn’t.”

It didn’t take the Hive long to connect the Houston native’s statement back to her rocky relationship with the awards show and its viewers. “Beyoncé left the CMA’s in 2016 and started plotting her revenge arc in the car,” one person tweeted shortly after she posted her message.

“Beyoncé really said oh yall didn’t like me at the CMA’s well imma make a whole country album, queen,” added another fan on X.

Billboard has reached out to the CMAs for comment.

It is worth noting, though, that Bey also emphasized in her cover reveal, “This ain’t a Country album … This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album.” Still, it’s clear that the Grammy winner is embracing the genre on a bigger artistic level than ever before. Cowboy Carter, for instance, was led by two singles, both of them alike in their country influences: “Texas Hold ‘Em,” which historically topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks earlier this month and also made her the first Black woman to go No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and “16 Carriages.”

“She turned that experience into a deeper foray into country music with #COWBOYCARTER — the first taste of which, ‘Texas Hold ‘Em,’ made her the first Black woman with a No. 1 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart,” one fan mused on X. “Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.”

See more reactions to Bey’s possible allusion to the CMAs below.

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