Beyoncé becomes first Black woman to hit No. 1 on Billboard country albums chart

Beyonce walks onstage to accept the Innovator Award during the iHeartRadio Music Awards, Monday, April 1, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
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By MARIA SHERMAN

AP Music Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — BeyoncĂ© has made history once again. Her latest album, the epic “Act ll: Cowboy Carter”, hit No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart, making her the first Black woman to top the chart since its 1964 inception.

The album also topped the all-genres Billboard 200, marking her eighth No. 1 album. According to Luminate, the industry data and analytics company, “Cowboy Carter” totaled 407,000 equivalent album units, a combination of pure album sales and on-demand streams, earned in the U.S. in its first week.

As a Black woman reclaiming country music, BeyoncĂ© stands in opposition to stereotypical associations of the genre with whiteness. Conversation surrounding BeyoncĂ©’s country music explorations began when she arrived at the 2024 Grammy Awards in full cowboy regalia — making a statement without saying a word. Then, during the Super Bowl, she dropped two hybrid country songs: “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” eventually leading to the release of “Cowboy Carter.”

In February, “Texas Hold ‘Em” reached No. 1 on the country airplay chart, making her the first Black woman to top that chart as well.