Skip to main content

Beyoncé’s “Blackbiird” Puts Spotlight on Nashville’s Rising Black Talents

Beyoncé continues to use her platform to uplift artists from underrepresented communities even though the door was closed on her during her 2016 Country Music Awards performance. On her new album Cowboy Carter, Queen Bey enlists four rising Black stars from the country world to join her in the remake of the 1968 Beatles classic “Blackbird.”

For her rendition of “Blackbiird,” Beyoncé did something truly special – she brought rising stars Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, and Tiera Kennedy into the studio to record their vocals together in one powerful session. Talk about a full-circle moment for the 1968 classic Paul McCartney originally made as an empowering civil rights anthem.

“I had in mind a Black woman, rather than a bird,” McCartney revealed about the original meaning behind the lyrics. “This was really a song from me to a Black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.'”

Nearly 55 years later, Beyoncé is doing just that – using her unstoppable voice to breathe new life into “Blackbiird” while boosting four immensely talented Black artists still fighting for recognition in the predominantly white country genre.

Meet The Four Rising Black Voices on “Blackbiird”

Tanner Adell

This Louisiana native wasted no time manifesting her dream Beyoncé collaboration into existence. When Beyoncé first teased Renaissance during the 2024 Super Bowl, Adell tweeted: “As one of the only Black girls in the country music scene, I hope Bey decides to sprinkle me with a dash of her magic for a collab.”

Her bold move paid off. Adell doesn’t just lend her vocals to “Blackbiird” – she also appears on the defiant “American Requiem.” Adell’s new single “Whiskey Blues” is coming out on April 12th and her single “Buckle Bunny” is a must-hear as this young star’s magic moment continues.

Brittney Spencer

After nearly a decade grinding it out in Nashville, Brittney Spencer’s life-affirming vulnerability and grit broke through in 2020 when her amazing cover of “Crowded Table” went viral on Twitter. She also released her debut album My Stupid Life. 

On “Blackbiird,” Brittney’s signature raspy vocals fit like a glove alongside Beyoncé and the other featured artists. It’s the kind of monumental moment she has been hustling for as she stays true to herself in an industry that doesn’t always embrace her authenticity.

Reyna Roberts

With a military upbringing moving around the world, Reyna Roberts is no stranger to perseverance and reinvention. Her 2020 debut single “Stompin’ Grounds” displayed an empowering edginess that’s continued to elevate her profile, including multiple performancesintroducing NFL’s Monday Night Football.

For Reyna Roberts, landing a feature on “Blackbiird” is a major milestone in her rising career. This powerful anthem represents everything the unstoppable singer-songwriter stands for – perseverance, reinvention, and bringing a unique perspective from her personality.

Tiera Kennedy

Perhaps no story encapsulates the “Blackbiird” spirit more than Tiera Kennedy’s rollercoaster journey. The Oklahoma singer-songwriter climbed to the precipice of Nashville success before getting dropped by her label, Taylor Swift’s former home Big Machine.

That devastating career setback could have been the end. Instead, Kennedy doubled down on herself and re-emerged as an independent artist with an upcoming single “I Ain’t a Cowgirl.” Her resilient contributions to both “Blackbiird” and Renaissance’s “Tyrant” prove she’s exactly where she’s meant to be.

With their show-stopping performances alongside Beyonce, Tanner, Brittney, Reyna and Tiera are shaking up the country music world in the best way possible. “Blackbiird” isn’t just an incredible cover – it’s a powerful rallying cry amplifying Black voices that have been shut out for way too long.

As Miss Thistlehaze said, there’s space on that throne for more than one queen. These four rising stars proved they belong in country’s inner circle, using “Blackbiird” as their arrival announcement. Tanner, Reyna, Brittney, and Tiera recently attended and presented together at the 2024 Country Music Awards, bringing the story of Beyoncé’s unwelcome presence full circle. The foursome even cemented this amazing moment in time with matching Blackbird tattoos. The genre’s landscape is finally starting to look a bit more like the richly diverse talent it’s been missing.

Beyoncé didn’t just remake an iconic song here. She kicked down doors, putting on a whole new generation of extraordinarily gifted Black artists who have more than earned their spotlight.

Antoinette Minor Talley is the digital media curator for Unerased | Black Women Speak.