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Beyoncé sends flowers to Black female country artists as “Cowboy Carter” ropes in millions of listeners

"Thank you for opening doors for me," she wrote to singers Mickey Guyton and K. Michelle.

Beyoncé’s gratitude for the women who came before her took the form of lush floral bouquets this weekend as she released her eighth studio album.

Cowboy Carter, Bey’s foray into country music, dropped on Friday to acclaim, controversy, and constant replays on steaming services worldwide. But in the middle of the frenzy, the 42-year-old Grammy winner made sure to acknowledge the Black female country artists who helped pave the way.

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage </p> Beyoncé

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Beyoncé

K. Michelle and Mickey Guyton each received a glorious flower arrangement and a personalized note from the "Texas Hold 'Em" singer.

“Thank you for opening doors for me, queen,” Beyoncé's message to Guyton read. “Keep shining. Love and respect, Beyoncé.”

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage </p> Country star Mickey Guyton

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Country star Mickey Guyton

Guyton, the first Black female solo artist to earn a Grammy nomination in a country category, shared photos of the flowers and a message on Instagram, writing, “With opportunity comes possibility. The possibilities are endless with you, @Beyonce. God gave me an assignment and I followed. May the doors continue to stay wide open.”

In 2021, Guyton performed her single “Black Like Me” at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony. The song, from her studio album Remember Her Name, was nominated for Best Solo Country Performance (the award went to “When My Amy Prays” by Vince Gill). The 40-year-old musician snagged a nomination in the category again the following year, with “Remember Her Name” (it lost out to Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave”).

Singer and former reality TV star K. Michelle also hit Instagram to share pics of her flowers and card from Beyoncé, who wrote, “You’re killing it! I love what you’ve been doing and I know it’s not easy to enter a new space. Sending you positivity and respect. I hope to meet you one day. Love, Beyoncé.”

Michelle, who is 42, began her music career as an R&B artist and a member of the Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta cast before transitioning to country, which she performs under the stage name Puddin.

<p>Jeff Hahne/Getty</p> Country singer K. Michelle, a.k.a. Puddin

Jeff Hahne/Getty

Country singer K. Michelle, a.k.a. Puddin

“WOW! This is soooo nice. One of the nicest things EVER. I’m in tears,” Michelle wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m so nervous about FINALLY getting to put out my first country album, and this just fueled the fire 🔥. I’m so motivated.”

Michelle released “Tennessee,” her first solo country single, in 2023, and promises that a full album is on the way.

Beyoncé’s entry into the country music scene wasn’t entirely smooth, and that negativity is something Guyton and Michelle say they have also experienced.

After the surprise post–Super Bowl drop of the Cowboy Carter tracks “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages“ last month, country radio stations across the country hopped on the Bey train, though not all of them initially wanted to play nice.

In response, radio host and former American Idol mentor Bobby Bones spoke out, schooling naysayers with a lesson in the history of the genre, including the gatekeeping that continues to make it hard for some artists to cross over.

"Country music is based on the music from Africa brought over on the slave ships. And from Europe. With the fiddle and banjo," Bones said. "So all these dudes yelling 'that ain't country'… unless you're European or African, you ain't really 'country.'"

Guyton has talked openly about her difficulty being accepted into the mostly white and male world of country radio. When fans tried to manufacture a rivalry between Michelle and newly minted country singer Beyoncé, Michelle posted on Twitter, “Why would anyone need to check on me? I’m one of the greatest African American country singers of all times, with no album even out. Y'all been mentioning me ALL night. I’m just happy to be spoke about in my genre. I love Bey and will be supporting her like I always do.”

Cowboy Carter features 27 tracks and a long list of collaborators ranging from the mega-famous —  Dolly Parton! Willie Nelson! Miley Cyrus! Post Malone! — to the mega-famous-to-be, including Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts, Willie Jones, Shaboozey, and Robert Randolph. Bey and  Jay-Z's 6-year-old daughter, Rumi Carter, also makes her professional music debut with a short appearance on the song "Protector."

In addition to its covers of Parton's "Jolene" and the Beatles' "Blackbird," Cowboy Carter pays special tribute to Linda Martell, the first commercially successful Black female singer in country music, who landed in the charts with her 1969 single "Color Him Father." The 82-year-old pioneer is featured on "Spaghetti," the album's 12th track, and on "The Linda Martell Show," an interlude before the song "Ya Ya."

Less than 24 hours after Cowboy Carter hit streaming services, it has already become Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day this year, with “Texas Hold ‘Em” alone racking up more than 200 million listens.

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