Country Controversy: Beyoncé’s Radio Request Sparks Genre Debate and Policy Reversal

A US country music radio station initially declined a Beyoncé fan’s request for her song “Texas Hold ’Em,” citing their focus on country music.

(Photo:- beyoncé/instagram)

A country music radio station in the US, KYKC in Oklahoma, initially faced controversy when it refused to play Beyoncé’s song “Texas Hold ’Em” upon a fan’s request. The station’s general manager, Roger Harris, cited their dedication to country music as the reason for rejecting the song. The fan, displeased with this response, shared a screenshot of the email on social media, accusing the station of racism and discrimination.

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This post quickly gained traction within Beyoncé’s fanbase, known as the Beyhive, and garnered over 3.5 million views. The campaign urged supporters to contact the radio station and request the song, leading to a significant influx of emails and phone calls. Harris, surprised by the overwhelming response, mentioned receiving more communications in support of the song than ever before in his career.

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The parent company of KYKC, South Central Oklahoma Radio Enterprises (Score), clarified that Harris was unaware of Beyoncé’s venture into country music and had responded based on the station’s traditional genre focus. Harris explained that, until then, Beyoncé had not been considered a “country artist.”

Despite initially not having the song files, KYKC eventually located them, including “Texas Hold ’Em” and another track, “16 Carriages.” Four hours after the online campaign gained momentum, the station announced on Twitter that they had added Beyoncé’s song to their playlist due to the overwhelming support.

This incident highlights the ongoing debate about genre definitions within country music. Similar controversies, such as the removal of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” from the Hot Country Songs chart in 2019, demonstrate the challenges in defining what qualifies as country music.

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Beyoncé herself faced genre-related issues in 2016 when her country-inspired track “Daddy Lessons” was rejected by the Recording Academy’s country music committee for consideration in the country Grammys. This incident sparked renewed discussions about the politics and ambiguous classifications within the country music industry.

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