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A radio station is now playing Beyoncé's country song after an outcry from fans

Beyoncé watches Jay-Z as he accepts the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award during the 66th Grammy Awards on Feb. 4.
Kevin Mazur
Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Beyoncé watches Jay-Z as he accepts the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award during the 66th Grammy Awards on Feb. 4.

An Oklahoma-based radio station said it is now playing Beyoncé's new country single, "Texas Hold 'Em," after its initial move to not play the song drew quick criticism from fans over what they perceive to be narrow-mindedness.

A fan said he emailed KYKC requesting the song and received the following response: "Hi — we do not play Beyonce on KYKC as we are a country music station."

He posted a screenshot of the reply on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, late Tuesday morning. The post went viral, and the "Beyhive," the term used to describe Beyoncé's fans, swarmed to make additional requests for "Texas Hold 'Em," one of two country songs Beyoncé released on Super Bowl Sunday.

KYKC said they received thousands of calls and emails requesting the song be played. A few hours after the viral X post, KYKC posted to Facebook an image of its show schedule, which showed the song in a 2:28 p.m. time slot.

"Lots of calls coming in for Beyoncé's Texas Hold 'Em," the caption said. "It's coming up in minutes."

KYKC told NPR they did not know the song was out, and that a distributor had not yet sent it. It also said local listeners "did not really want us to play it."

"I've heard R&B stations play Adele, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake with no problem and didn't tell them 'Oh we not playing their music because XYZ'," one user said. "The same grace needs to be given when black musicians decided to pursue another genre of music [i.e.] country."

"Totally agree. ... we love Beyonce'...we didn't even have the song," the station replied.

KYKC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a more extensive statement to The Tennessean, Roger Harris, the general manager of South Central Oklahoma Radio Enterprises (SCORE), said: "We are a small market station. We're not in a position to break an artist or help it that much, so it has to chart a little bit higher for us to add it. But we love Beyoncé here. We play her on our [other top 40 and adult hits stations] but we're not playing her on our country station yet because it just came out."

Similar backlash ensued in 2019 when artist Lil Nas X released "Old Town Road," which blended elements of rap and country. Initially, the song charted on Billboard's Hot 100, Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. But the publication later removed the song from the country chart, claiming it did not have enough elements of country music. The decision was criticized by country mainstay Billy Ray Cyrus, who was later featured on the remix.

As of 7:19 p.m. Tuesday, the station commented on Facebook that it had already played "Texas Hold 'Em" twice.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]