Beyoncé's 'Texas Hold 'Em' rides home on Oklahoma airwaves, but not without a hitch

Beyonce tips her white cowboy hat and Jay Z makes a peace sign at a Grammy Awards table
Beyoncé's new country song is getting airtime on an Oklahoma country station after there was confusion about the artist's latest genre pivot. (Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for the Recording Academy)

This ain't Texas. A country music radio station in Oklahoma will indeed be playing Beyoncé's two new country songs, "Texas Hold ’Em" and "16 Carriages," after the station cleared up confusion about why the Super Bowl drops weren't getting airtime.

In a Tuesday missive, the radio station's general manager, Roger Harris, told a fan requesting the songs that the station does "not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station." And the response — deemed as "blatant racism and discrimination" against Beyoncé — went viral among her buzzing fan base known as the Beyhive, which called on the station to reconsider.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the station suggested that the whole thing was a misunderstanding and they "apparently were targeted in a big campaign to add the song." A rep for KYKC told EW that the station added the songs to its rotation as soon as it received them, citing a delay from Sony Music, which released the singles under Columbia Records. A representative for the station's parent company, S.C.O.R.E., added that Harris "didn’t know" that the "Renaissance" artist had entered her country music era by dropping the "Act II" singles.

Read more: Tony Hale's biggest challenge behind his Beyoncé Super Bowl ad was keeping it a secret

"[U]p until now, she hasn't been a ‘country artist.’ So ... we responded to the email in the same way we would have responded to someone requesting a Rolling Stones song on our country station," Harris told EW.

In a follow-up tweet on Tuesday, the Alda, Okla., station said it would play "Texas Hold ’Em" after getting "lots of calls" requesting it.

In a statement to The Times, Harris said that the station "actually didn't even have the song until around 2 p.m." Tuesday.

"Because we are a small market station, we don't get the service provided to the larger radio stations," Harris added. "We have always played Beyoncé on two of our other stations, KXFC-FM (a Top 40 station) and KADA-FM (an adult hits station) so we are big fans. We just didn't know about her foray in this genre .... plus as I mentioned, we didn't even have the song.

"With a lot of effort, we tracked down the song by about 2 p.m. yesterday and it is now in rotation on THREE of our stations, including our country station, KYKC."

Read more: Beyoncé announces her new album is on the way: Hear two songs now

It's not surprising that even Bey faced some resistance to her latest move. Country music has long had a fraught history with racism and Black artists. Bey herself seemingly experienced that firsthand back in 2016 when her twangy song “Daddy Lessons” — highlighting the Houston native’s Southern roots with lyrics about her father and former manager, Mathew Knowles, references to the Bible, the Second Amendment and shooting guns — was rejected by the Recording Academy’s country music committee for a Grammy Award nomination.

The "Hold Up" and "Single Ladies" singer reportedly had submitted the song, which hailed from her "Lemonade" album, for consideration in the country genre, according to the Associated Press.

Proving that "Daddy Lessons" was unabashedly a country song, Beyoncé performed the track during the 2016 Country Music Assn. Awards alongside the Chicks, and later released a version of the song featuring the country trio.

Meanwhile, in New York, Bey the hitmaker stepped out again, fully committed to wearing her now-signature cowboy hat. She made a surprise appearance in the front row at the Luar fashion show in a sparkling ensemble and was joined by her mother, Tina Knowles, and sister Solange. The trio stepped out in Brooklyn to support Solange's son, Daniel "Julez" Smith Jr., during his New York Fashion Week modeling debut.

Sign up for L.A. Goes Out, a weekly newsletter about exploring and experiencing Los Angeles from the L.A. Times.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.