June Carter Cash’s Daughter Carlene Questions Negativity Towards Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album: ‘In My Book, She’s One of Us Carter Women’

In the weeks since Beyonce announced her “Cowboy Carter” album, there’s been an enormous amount of commentary over the singer’s move into country music, and the long-overlooked contributions of Black artists to the genre since its very beginning.

There’s also been more-humorous comments about the album’s title — which comes from Beyonce’s married surname and her husband, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter — and the long legacy left by the Carter Family, whose music is widely viewed as the single biggest influence on the country genre. The group recorded between the 1920s and 1950s and, after beginning with Sara Carter, her husband A.P. and sister-in-law/ pioneering guitarist Maybelle, later expanded to include Maybelle’s daughters June (later the longtime wife of Johnny Cash), Anita and Helen.

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June’s daughter Carlene, a veteran country singer herself, had some positive words for her (sur)namesake, Beyonce, and her “Country Carter” album – and basically welcomed her to the extended family: “Here’s a warm welcome to the Carter Girl Club!” Her statement follows in full.

I’ve caught wind of some negativity over the release of Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter,” her new country album.

As a Carter Girl myself and coming from a long line of Carter Girls, I’m moved to ask why anyone would treat a Carter this way?

She is an incredibly talented and creative woman who obviously wanted to do this because she likes country music. In my book, she’s one of us Carter women and we have always pushed the boundaries by trying whatever music we felt in our hearts and taking spirit-driven risks.  Sometimes the country music “establishment” hasn’t been all that welcoming and sometimes this was accepted with open arms.  Like Chuck Berry said, “it goes to show you never can tell.” 

I am here to let Beyoncé and to all those nay sayers know that I admire and love her and all she does. I am delighted to know that Carter spunk is in her just like it’s been through nearly 100 years of us Carters choosing to follow ours hearts, hearts that are filled with love not just for country music but for all kinds of music

Here’s a warm welcome to the Carter Girl Club! It’s only a matter of time before those nay sayers become Bey sayers. 

With much love and support.

Carlene Carter

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