Beyoncé tops Billboard country chart with genre debut “Texas Hold ‘Em”

Beyoncé has once again made history as the first Black female artist to have a No. 1 country song, Billboard announced Tuesday.

Just more than a week after being released, “Texas Hold ‘Em” topped Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart at No. 1 and “16 Carriages” sat at No. 9. The R&B and hip-hop icon and native Texan is reclaiming a genre that scholars say has roots in Black instruments and music traditions, yet has historically excluded Black artists, especially Black women.

The two tracks, released Feb. 11, were announced during a Super Bowl commercial in anticipation of the release of Beyoncé’s upcoming album — a sequel to her 2022 album “Renaissance” — to be released in March. She is also the first woman to top both Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs since the lists were created in 1958, Billboard reported Wednesday.

Beyoncé is not the first Black female country singer, but her newfound success in the country charts spotlights a genre that has historically been predominantly white and male. In recent decades, women of color have set out to forge a path for artists who look like them in the country genre, a genre with strong roots in Black musical traditions.

“Black people and brown people have always had an interest in country music — they’ve always played it and always enjoyed it,” Amanda Marie Martinez, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told NBC News in 2020.

Prominent country instruments, such as the fiddle and the banjo, were played mostly by enslaved African people and eventually incorporated into music driven by white Southern artists, according to Martinez, who has written extensively on country and race. Nonetheless, country radio stations in the early 20th century primarily featured white artists who have come to dominate the country music scene.

As the genre and its audience have diversified over recent decades, artists such as Rissi Palmer and Mickey Guyton are advocating for more visibility for Black country musicians. Many hope that Beyoncé’s new country album will redefine in the cultural consciousness what it means to be a country artist.

“Texas Hold ‘Em” gives Beyoncé her seventh unique No. 1 spot on an array of song charts, according to Billboard. (Currently, only Justin Bieber beats out Beyoncé with eight unique No. 1 songs across charts.)

For more from NBC BLK, sign up for our weekly newsletter

First appeared on

Leave a Comment