Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

The Controversy Behind Beyoncé’s song “Texas Hold Em”

The Controversy Behind Beyoncé’s song Texas Hold Em

The song “Texas Hold ‘Em” is off Beyoncé’s upcoming eighth studio album, Cowboy Carter. It is performed by the American vocalist and co-leads the album with “16 Carriages” as the lead single. On February 11, 2024, during Super Bowl LVIII, Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records unexpectedly released the song. “Texas Hold ‘Em” is a fast-paced country pop, western, and soul song with folk influences. The song was named after a popular version of the classic poker card game. It was co-written by Beyoncé, Elizabeth Lowell Boland, Brian Bates, Nathan Ferraro, Megan Bülow, and Raphael Saadiq. 

“Texas Hold ‘Em” was praised by reviews for its celebration of the Black heritage of country music, authentic sound, fun tone, and Beyoncé’s vocal performance. In addition to being a commercial hit, “Texas Hold ‘Em” represented other historical firsts. It became Beyoncé’s ninth solo number one song, when it peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.  

The song, named after the poker variant, is used as a metaphor for romance, leading to the well-worn idiom to lay your cards down and solicit a potential lover to show their intentions. Beyonce intended for this song to be vibed to and feel the beat of the song to dance to. The song also happens to be really catchy. Beyoncé wanted to remind listeners that country music is another kind of dance music.  

The song is more than just a metaphor, it is an element of her larger body of work honoring the history of Black artists. With her previous album, Renaissance, she honored the heritage of club music, where Black and LGBT people found safe havens and friendship. In “Texas Hold ‘Em,” Beyoncé now dives into country music, which has strong ties to her Texan background.

“The song itself I feel like I can relate to because she was able to relate to us in a sense,” Jade Dillard, African American freshman, said.  

The way some media outlets have responded to Beyonce’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” release leads one to believe that it was a major cultural shift and a fearless statement of Black identity in country music. However, classifying it as such overlooks a deeper and far broader cultural shift. 

I think she is an artist that wants to keep challenging not only herself but the limitations that the music industry puts on artists of color, and this is one way for her to do that” Adriana Martinez, Eureka College music professor, said.

Beyoncé constantly tests limits and experiments using different musical styles. Her efforts to transcend genres are very important for Black artists. 

Her 2016 Country Music Awards (CMA) appearance with the Dixie Chicks caused controversy. Her political views, featured in songs like “Formation” and “Freedom,” drew criticism from certain country music celebrities and fans.  Even with criticism, Beyoncé continued by turning criticism into inspiration.

Yet it is Beyoncé’s Blackness that country music took issue within the first place. Sadly, racial prejudice is still relevant. Being a Black superstar, Beyoncé has difficulties breaking into a genre that is dominated by white people. They see her as an outsider or different from the roots of the genre, and certain individuals can object to her participation. 

Beyonce didn’t let that overcome her; she is on a path and is a witness to determination and drive as she keeps breaking stereotypes and elevating the status of Black musicians in the country music industry. Beyonce doesn’t care about what anyone thinks of her or her music, because she is still making millions from it. She is one of the most respected Black musicians in the music industry. Beyonce also supports her fans the way they support her.  

“The song itself is worldwide, and everyone loves her song. I know I do personally, I mean what’s there to hate about it,” Alissa Crawford, sophomore, said. 

Beyonce’s “Texas Hold Em” is a catchy song that reflects Beyoncé’s love for her Southern heritage and her celebration of the role that black musicians play in country music. It has now become Beyoncé’s ninth solo number one single, having also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

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About the Contributor
Alexis Smith
Alexis Smith, Staff Contributor

Alexis Smith (Peoria, IL) is a sophomore majoring in Communications and Media Studies. Alexis has been interested in writing and has also been looking for more photography opportunities. Alexis has a lot of interests, but photography and writing are at the top of her list.