Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ track list reveal is actually a history lesson

*Photo credit: Screenshot via Instagram – Beyoncé

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Beyoncé‘s Cowboy Carter track list reveal.

We’re one day away from Cowboy Carter being shared with the entire world. Queen Bey’s upcoming album is all the internet can’t talk about. From those cowboy hat memes to Dolly Parton endorsements, Cowboy Carter is causing quite a stir. Now, with the latest Cowboy Carter reveal, Beyoncé is turning the discourse into a history lesson.

On Wednesday, Beyoncé released the Cowboy Carter track list, sending fans into a frenzy. Bey posted an image of the track list on Instagram in American flag colors with assumedly several song titles, like “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and featured artists, including Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. While fans were trying to figure out who else is featured on the album, other members noticed that the imagery the track list photo conveyed is similar to that of “Chitlin’ Circuit” posters.

The Chitlin’ Circuit is the name of the network of venues that Black entertainers could perform in during the US’ era of racial segregation. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Chitlin’ Circuit provided a platform for Black musicians, comedians, and variety of performers, who experienced commercial success within the Black community. To promote different performers within these venues, vibrant posters, similar to the Cowboy Carter track list, were used.

Chitlin’ Circuit venues spread all throughout the US, with popular establishments in the South, Midwest, and the East coast. Queer icons like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, and more all performed in these venues prior to gaining mainstream notoriety. So for Beyoncé to use her promo stylized in the Chitlin’ Circuit aesthetic, she pays tribute to the trailblazing musicians who cleared the path for her artistry to thrive.

But Beyoncé is no stranger to this. Renaissance: Act I payed homage to the Black LGBTQ+ community, taking references from ballroom culture and house music. All of these themes were evident in the album’s sound, lyrics, marketing, and the subsequent Renaissance World Tour. It’s clear that Beyoncé is both a student and a teacher, when it comes to creating music.

The internet definitely noticed.

Now, we impatiently wait for Cowboy Carter to arrive on March 29.

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