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Why the Beyoncé Backlash?

A Case Study in Manufactured Hate

By Howard BronfmanPublished 16 days ago 3 min read

Beyoncé, inarguably one of the most iconic artists of our era, inspires an odd dichotomy of reactions. There's the fiercely devoted fanbase, buzzing with each new release. And then there's the curiously vocal contingent of detractors whose disdain for the artist seems wholly unconnected to any concrete critique of her work. Beyoncé's recent foray into country music with "Act II: Cowboy Carter" has reignited this puzzling phenomenon.

Let's step back and analyze this dynamic. Beyoncé, for all her pop stardom, is an uncontroversial figure. She's not embroiled in social media feuds, nor does she court drama or offer divisive opinions. While deeply dedicated to her philanthropic work, she rarely makes overt political statements. In essence, as a person, she's remarkably unproblematic. Yet, a certain faction seems to dislike her with an intensity that feels at odds with a reasonable person's casual disdain for an artist not to their taste.

This dislike often manifests in an exhausting backhanded compliment pattern. We see social media posts and think-pieces prefaced with, "I'm not a fan of Beyoncé, but…". The question begs asking: why? Why the pressing need to broadcast non-fandom before offering any sort of positive statement? It's as if there exists some unwritten cultural rule that honest praise for Beyoncé must always be accompanied by a preemptive disclaimer.

Perhaps nowhere has this bizarre behavior been more pronounced than in the reaction to "Cowboy Carter". An objectively well-crafted, country-infused exploration of new territory, the album has been received with the predictable outcry. Take country singer Hardy's recent Instagram post snarkily noting, "I didn't see Beyoncé at the rodeo". This dismissive jab, coupled with the fact that Beyoncé has performed at rodeos in the past, hints at an underlying resentment of the fact that this Black female artist is achieving critical and commercial success in a genre often presented as exclusive.

Let's be frank: race and gender undoubtedly play a role in the anti-Beyoncé sentiment. Those who cloak their vitriol in claims of "genre purity" have a short memory indeed. Country music, like many other American musical genres, is deeply indebted to Black musical traditions. The attempt to gatekeep and bar Black artists from the contemporary scene is both ahistorical and frankly, absurd.

And then there's the paradox of the haters themselves. The level of dedicated engagement required to constantly produce anti-Beyoncé content directly undermines the claim that these are just people casually uninterested in her work. One only need look at how they obsessively monitor her every move, poised to offer commentary they insist is not fandom.

The real question, the one rarely addressed head-on, seems to be, "Why do you actively dislike Beyoncé?" Sure, music is subjective. Not every artist is for everyone. But when this dislike morphs into a personality trait, into a cultural force that generates more online discussion than reasoned critique of her actual work, something more sinister is at play.

Now, this isn't a call to silence every negative comment about Beyoncé. However, it is a call to dissect this bizarre cultural fixation on tearing down one of the most talented and dedicated artists of our time. If you insist Beyoncé isn't your cup of tea, then simply… don't drink the tea. But to all the relentlessly vocal haters, here's a challenge: instead of knee-jerk negativity, offer something more substantial.

Provide examples, cite facts, engage with the actual music she makes, and articulate a reason for your disdain that exists outside the nebulous realm of personal distaste. Because as it stands, the anti-Beyoncé sentiment reads less like an honest musical critique and more like a case study in manufactured, culturally-sanctioned hate against a successful Black woman who dares to excel in every field she enters.

pop culturecountrycelebrities

About the Creator

Howard Bronfman

Black, queer, & opinionated writer. Sparking debate, seeking solutions.

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  • angela hepworth16 days ago

    I paused my third run through of Cowboy Carter to read this, not even kidding. (The album has no skips. She’s done it again.) As a long time Beyoncé fan but also just as an American, it is so evident that all the country artists and listeners lashing out against her and her latest album right now are bitter and, like you mentioned, hate that Beyoncé can do it all. She’s been genre-hopping with nothing but pure success as of late and they can’t stand it. They really do hate to see a proud, successful woman outsing and outwrite them—especially a Black woman, ESPECIALLY in this genre. As more queer and POC artists penetrate the mainstream, the current state of country is moving more and more away from the nationalistic, conservative Southern genre it’s been and becoming more and more expansive, and that’s a beautiful thing; Beyoncé, already a cemented legend in the world of music, will be a part of that amazing legacy. The Beyoncé hate train is nothing but tired racism with sprinkles of misogyny to top it off and it’s just ridiculous. There’s no arguing with influence and talent, and Beyoncé has it in boatloads. A part of me hopes that her third installment will be rock, because it’s also definitely a genre that needs a redefining moment for the rep it’s gotten—even if I would love to see her go into more of a rap direction. Anyway, sorry for babbling, I just love Beyoncé. Awesome piece here!!

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