Beyoncé seemingly responded to backlash regarding her new country album, Cowboy Carter, during her acceptance speech at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Just two days after Cowboy Carter was released on March 29, Beyoncé, 42, accepted the Innovator Award during the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday, April 1. While talking to the crowd, the “Halo” singer said that the music industry needs to become “more open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art with no preconceived notions.”

She made the comment after Cowboy Carter was met with resistance from some country music fans, while a handful of country music radio stations even ignored fan requests to play her songs. The drama continued when Dukes of Hazzard actor John Schneider was accused of racism after he compared Beyoncé’s entrance into the new genre to a dog marking its territory while speaking to conservative network One America News.

Despite the backlash, Beyoncé rose above the criticism by highlighting the many Black performers that have been trailblazers within the music industry. She first thanked presenter Stevie Wonder for playing the harmonica on her version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” stating that she “could listen to [his music] for the rest of [her] life.”

Beyoncé then dedicated the award to those who have “dedicated their lives and their art to creating shifts,” mentioning artists including Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Tracy Chapman, Linda Martell, Prince, André 3000, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson.

“[They] defied any label placed upon them, thank you for executing your dream so we could all follow,” she told the crowd.

The “Single Ladies” singer continued her speech by thanking husband Jay-Z, as well as their “three beautiful children who continue to be my inspiration, my biggest blessing.”

Not only did Beyoncé hit back at her critics during the acceptance speech, but she has also paid her respects to Black women in the music industry — including Mickey Guyton, K. Michelle and Tyla – as she stepped into the country music world.

Beyonce Seemingly Responds to 'Cowboy Carter' Backlash in iHeartRadio Music Awards Speech
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Mickey, 40, took to Instagram on March 30 to reveal that Beyoncé sent her a bouquet of flowers and a handwritten note thanking her for her work in the genre. “With opportunity comes possibility. The possibilities are endless with you @beyonce,” the “Nothing Compares To You” singer wrote. “God gave me an assignment and I followed. May the doors continue to stay wide open.”

In addition to sharing a photo of the flowers, Mickey also posted a photo of the note that Beyoncé sent her. “Thank you for opening doors for me, queen. Keep shining,” the letter read, which was signed with “love and respect” from Beyoncé.

Mickey made history in 2020 when she became the first Black female artist to be nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards for her song “Black Like Me.” She also became the first Black female artist to perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards that same year.

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