Country music is gearing up for a renaissance with Beyoncé’s upcoming and long-awaited release of Act II.

During Super Bowl LVIII, while many were still recovering from Usher’s halftime performance, the “Break My Soul” singer appeared in a Verizon commercial making several attempts to break the internet. From setting up a lemonade stand to inventing a “Beyoncé-I” robot, each attempt was unsuccessful. However, when Bey entered space, she uttered seven mere words that accomplished her goal: “Okay, they ready. Drop the new music.”

After the commercial aired and fans started scrambling for the new music, Queen Bey released two new songs. With the release of “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” and Beyoncé’s recent outfit selections, fans are speculating that Act II will be a country album.

The Bey-Hive couldn’t be more ready for her to shake up the country music lane. She already gave them a taste of her country prowess with her song “Daddy Lessons” from her sixth studio album “Lemonade.” Beyoncé’s influence undoubtably will bring a new demographic to country music. However, many fans hope that it will be a reclamation for Black people in the country space.

Country Music’s Vast Spectrum

Many people look at country music, as a predominately white industry. However, they tend to overlook the influence that Black people, specifically Black women, have on the industry. Many Black artists are met with pushback when trying to enter the industry. Black artists, like K. Michelle, have been pushing against that glass ceiling.

While her performance may have been a shock to some, K. Michelle has been very vocal about wanting to transition into the genre. In a conversation with PEOPLE, she said that she was advised against going into the country genre when she first stepped into the music industry.

“Basically, I was told that going into R&B was the only route or at least the easiest route,” she recalled. “So, that’s what I did. But, there was always this little piece of loneliness and sadness in me because I couldn’t do what I knew I was supposed to do.”

Now, she is fully invested in her transition. She moved back to Tennessee and is dedicating her artistry to the genre. In June, K. Michelle performed “Country Love Song” with Justin Champagne at the CMA Fest. In September, she released her final R&B album, “I’m The Problem,” where she made her official country music debut with the bonus track, Tennessee.”

K. Michelle’s latest work in country music is only possible because of those who came before her. The Black contribution to the genre goes back generations.

A History of Black Women in Country Music

In the early 20th century, artists like DeFord Bailey, a harmonica player and one of the first stars of the Grand Ole Opry, paved the way for Black musicians in country music. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that Black women began to make their mark.

Linda Martell made history in 1969 as the first Black woman to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, opening doors for future generations. She released her album “Color Me Country” in 1970, leaving an incredible mark on the genre. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, trailblazers like Odetta and Rhetta Hughes continued to challenge stereotypes, infusing country sounds with their unique style.

Tina Turner, often called the Queen of Rock n’ Roll, dabbled in country music. Her hit, “Nutbush City Limits,” told the story of her growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee. The single led her to make her first solo album, a country one. The 1974 project “Tina Turns the Country On!” covers country songs by different artists, like Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton.

Black Women in Country Music Today

Despite being underrepresented, these trailblazing Black women have repeatedly proven that country music knows no boundaries.

Mickey Guyton

Mickey Guyton is a powerhouse whose voice resonates with authenticity and raw emotion. In her breakout hit, “Black Like Me,” she shares a poignant reflection on racial identity, offering a perspective rarely heard in the genre. With a voice that effortlessly spans genres, Guyton is a force to be reckoned with, challenging stereotypes and paving the way for a more diverse country music scene.

Rissi Palmer

Rissi Palmer is a name synonymous with soulful melodies and country charm. As the first Black woman to chart a country song in nearly two decades, Palmer’s music is a celebration of individuality and a love letter to the roots of country music. “Country Girl” is an anthem that captures the essence of her journey, showcasing her ability to seamlessly blend the traditional with the contemporary.


Yola’s soulful voice and genre-defying sound has earned her acclaim far beyond the country music sphere. With a Grammy nomination, Yola’s music transcends boundaries, blending country, soul and rock. “Faraway Look” is a testament to her storytelling prowess, inviting listeners into a world where vulnerability meets strength.

Miko Marks

Miko Marks, a true storyteller in the country music scene, brings an authentic touch to her artistry. “Ancestors” is a soulful exploration of heritage and connection to one’s roots. Marks’ passionate delivery and the song’s evocative lyrics paint a vivid picture of the strength found in cultural identity. “Ancestors” immerses listeners in a narrative that goes beyond the ordinary, celebrating the rich tapestry of history and resilience within the Black experience.

Brittney Spencer

Brittney Spencer is a rising star in the country music scene, using her platform to address social issues and promote inclusivity. In her single “Compassion,” Spencer’s evocative lyrics and captivating voice draw attention to the power of understanding and empathy. As a fresh voice in the genre, she brings a modern perspective to traditional country themes.