Azealia Banks: Beyoncé who plays country is a “white woman cosplay”

Azealia Banks' Critique, Beyoncé's Artistry, and the Intersection of Race in Music

Beyoncé doing country is like a white woman cosplaying. This was written by Azealia Banks in Instagram stories after the announcement of the release of Cowboy Carter, Bey’s country-influenced album set to be released on March 29th.

In addition to criticizing the album title, which links the word “cowboy” to the surname of popstar Jay-Z. «They didn’t even make a small effort to find a more artistic title». Banks mocks Beyoncé by saying “switch[ed] from baobab trees (a reference, perhaps, to The Lion King soundtrack) and black parade to this literal pick me stuff”.

Not stopping there, she says Beyoncé’s move “reinforces the false rhetoric that country music would be a white art form following the Civil War” and consequently “the idea that there is no racism, segregation, slavery, violence, theft, massacres, epidemics, manifest destiny madness underlying slogans like ‘proud to be American’ or ‘God bless America’“.

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Finally, citing Beyoncé’s 2016 performance with the Chicks (formerly Dixie Chicks), she writes that Beyoncé does “lame things like bringing white women put on the blacklist to country music awards when they would never, ever do the same for you. I just wish you weren’t obsessed with always being boring and cute“.

This is not the first time Azealia Banks has spoken out about the Cowboy Carter operation. In February, she wrote that “there’s nothing country about all this. Get ready to be fooled again” and that “critics will never accept an ugly blonde wig and Jay-Z’s arrogance. It’s a major musical scam”. Black girls, she wrote again, “can do country”, but Beyoncé isn’t doing it right“.

In the post where she presented the album cover, Beyoncé explained that Cowboy Carter “isn’t a country album, it’s a Beyoncé album” and that it comes after “a bad experience years ago” with the country music community, perhaps the refusal to include her song “Daddy Lessons” in the Grammy category nominations in 2016. “When they didn’t make me feel welcome, I delved into the history of country music. I hope that in a few years an artist’s race will become irrelevant in relation to the music they make”.

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