’Yonce crashes the CMAs

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

BEY­ONCE seized the spot­light at the Coun­try Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion Awards this past week by cheer­ily per­form­ing a fu­sion song, in a pow­er­ful if un­stated mes­sage on US race re­la­tions.

The pop su­per­star, whose ap­pear­ance at the awards in Nashville had not been pre­vi­ously an­nounced, took the stage with­out an in­tro­duc­tion and sang a track off her lat­est al­bum with coun­try vet­er­ans Dixie Chicks seam­lessly join­ing in.

The song, “Daddy Lessons”, al­ready had a coun­try twang but the live ver­sion went fuller in re­gional di­rec­tions with shouts of “Yee­haw!” as well as New Or­leans-style brass.

Bey­once, who has been in­creas­ingly out­spo­ken in sup­port of the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment against po­lice bru­tal­ity, was a rare African Amer­i­can per­former at the an­nual awards.

Coun­try mu­sic has his­tor­i­cally been linked to white cul­ture in the US South, although the genre’s au­di­ence has rapidly grown across the United States in re­cent years.

Bey­once, clad in an an­gelic white dress and lay­ers of pearls, and the Dixie Chicks opened the song by each say­ing sim­ply, “Texas”, high­light­ing their shared home state.

But Bey­once – who in Au­gust wowed the MTV Video Mu­sic Awards with a med­ley from her al­bum Lemon­ade that in­cluded drama­tised shoot­ings – made no overt com­men­tary in Nashville.

Dixie Chicks – who in­cor­po­rated lyrics from their hit “Long Time Gone” into the song – soon af­ter the awards re­leased a free down­load of the “Daddy Lessons” col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bey­once.

So­cial me­dia re­ac­tion was pro­lific and largely pos­i­tive, with the awards ini­tially over­tak­ing the dra­matic fi­nal game of base­ball’s World Se­ries as the top trend­ing topic on Twit­ter.

But some coun­try mu­sic fans posted that they did not ap­pre­ci­ate Bey­once’s in­clu­sion, triggering heated and at times racially tinged ar­gu­ments on Twit­ter.

The Dixie Chicks are no strangers to scru­tiny. The all-fe­male trio was widely boy­cotted and largely black­listed from coun­try mu­sic ra­dio af­ter front­woman Natalie Maines in 2003 crit­i­cised then­pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush and the in­va­sion of Iraq dur­ing a con­cert in Lon­don.

The Coun­try Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion awards, which was mark­ing its 50th an­niver­sary, also brought out an­other sur­prise star – Tay­lor Swift.

Swift – a coun­try singer turned pop ti­tan who ac­cord­ing to Forbes mag­a­zine was the past year’s high­est-paid woman in mu­sic – pre­sented the night’s En­ter­tainer of the Year award to Garth Brooks, one of the top-sell­ing artists of all time who has re­turned to the scene af­ter a hia­tus.

Chris Sta­ple­ton won Male Vo­cal­ist of the Year for the sec­ond straight year. A long-in-the­shad­ows song­writer, the 38-yearold was the sur­prise win­ner at the 2015 awards, bring­ing main­stream at­ten­tion to his de­but al­bum Trav­eller.

Coun­try mu­sic su­per­star and for­mer Amer­i­can Idol con­tes­tant Car­rie Un­der­wood won for Fe­male Vo­cal­ist of the Year.

This year’s Al­bum of the Year went to Mr. Mis­un­der­stood by Eric Church, a coun­try star who branched fur­ther into other gen­res.

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