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Gatekeeping in Country Music

Dominique A. Pineiro
Country singers playing guitar. Photo by The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff. Licensed by Flicker.

Country music has changed over the many decades it’s been around, with new artists redefining country music and other music artists dabbling in the genre. Though not everyone likes the change, they show resistance to the change.

Think about the history of country music. Where did it come from? Country music began in the early 17th century and started when European and African immigrants came to North America. They brought folk songs and folktales, along with instruments and music traditions. Though the first country recording did come until the 1920’s.

Country music has changed so much with every new song released since then. Those folk’s song that shaped the genre have now been turned to blue collar American life and working-class focused music. Artists take country music and mixed it with popular genres during that time period. Country music now has mixed with genres like pop and rock, though it keeps to what people think about when they think of country music.

So, artist like Beyoncé, Post Malone, and Lana Del Rey wouldn’t be one of the first artist a country listener would think of when they think of country music. Even though they have or are writing country music to what is considered country today or back then with a modern twist.

Beyonce at one of her concerts. Photo by Wikimedia Commons. License by Wikimedia Commons.

With Beyoncé new releases in country music, they’re has been some mixed reactions to her songs. Country music fans had a lot of hit or miss with the songs. With some thinking they should not be considered country or some thinking it’s a spin on pop music.


“I don’t think it should be considered country because it’s just another pop artist trying to become a country artist. It also just doesn’t sound country at all,” said junior Gabrielle Noel.

Though her fans and some country fans do agree with the song being considered country. Her fans are embracing her country songs and are here for it.

“Yes, I think any artist can write any genre,” said senior Olivia Baker.

Texas Hold Em’ and 16 carriages were both released as singles, with Texas Hold Em’ at No.1 and 16 Carriages at No.9 on the billboard Hot Country. Beyoncé is also releasing a country album called Cowboy Carter on March 29th. Her new album has been in the works for the last 5 years.

With her rise in country music artist like Dolly Parton and Maren Morris are supporting her. This is not true with some country fans and radio stations.

“Beyoncé’s song is not a country song because she is trying to make her own spin of it and it doesn’t fit my kind of country I listen to,” said junior Josh Raveaux.

With one Beyoncé new country song ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’, there has been a hit or miss with liking the song or considering it country. Only 8 out of 150 country stations were reported to play the song. KYKC Oklahoma, a country station, did not want to play her song as they did think it was country.

There was a petition for the song to be played on the country stations saying that it attributed to racism, revisionist history, and gatekeeping. The petition goes up to 27,000 signatures for the country stations and all music produced apps to play her song and label it country.

Gatekeeping country music has been going on for a while and based on what Beyoncé has spoken about her new album, she plans to change that. She plans to reclaim the genre.

Though everyone’s opinions are different on who can write country music and how it can be written, it definitely gives country music more listeners. These big artists bring their genre and mix it with country to make something new. Thus, continuing to change the genre.

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About the Contributor
Katelyn Berdine
Katelyn Berdine, Newspaper Editor
Hello, my name is Katelyn Berdine. I'm a Senior at Weir High School and this is my second year on Weir Student Media staff. In my free time I like to sing and read. My favorite color is red. Working on staff is a really exciting to be a part of.
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