This is why you can't have nice things, Internet!
Twitter trolls and other forms of online hatemongers may excel at the dark art of vicious, spiteful and oft-misspelled commentary, but they sure are terrible at one thing: Reading the room.
Because why else would a bunch of people spew vitriol about one of the most well-received, excitement-inducing performances of the night Wednesday at the 50th Annual CMA Awards—and on the pretense of defending the integrity of country music no less—if they weren't especially bad at taking note of what was going on right in front of them?
Despite the palpable anticipation reverberating through Nashville's Bridgestone Arena before Beyoncé took the stage with the Dixie Chicks to perform "Daddy Lessons," as well as the hundreds of butts not in seats because of all the dancing and the overwhelmingly positive response on Twitter in the moment, a select few still took it upon themselves to turn a joyful thing sour.
All was seemingly well at the end of the evening, Bey's memorable CMAs debut prompting the usual "180K people are tweeting about this" mention on Twitter and the 'hive otherwise safely ensconced for the night.
But apparently that wasn't the case.
Elle.com observed earlier today that official CMA accounts no longer included traces of Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks' performance, aside from some complaints in the comments section about Bey being there in the first place, such as one on Facebook reading, "Loved it until Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks. They have no place there!"
Despite the way that the words "have no place there" automatically cause the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up, it wasn't entirely shocking to hear that some country fans were futilely protesting the presence of a pop star in their midst (even if it was the biggest pop star). People can get awfully territorial about the silliest things, and even though country music has been increasingly open to crossover stars and welcoming more and more artists into the fold from other dials on the radio station (or other categories on Spotify) for years now...maybe Beyoncé was just too outside the box?
Never mind that "Daddy Lessons" sounds about as country as anything else played on that stage last night, and if you can do it well who cares about bridging genres anyway, because isn't sticking to one genre pretty passé anyway...
Unfortunately, inhospitable claims that Bey and the Dixie Chicks "have no place there" were the least of the issue.
The Country Music Association has since denied erasing any mention of the performance, stating that the only thing they took down was a 5-second promo clip that hadn't been approved by ABC and noting that they were still sharing "the amazing full-length performance clip via our official social channels."
But word had already spread around the Beyhive, which then subsequently started trolling CMA's Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in response to a photo collage that just went up barely an hour ago in which a picture of Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks shares space with Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney and other artists at the show last night.
The collage is currently the only pic of Bey and the trio on the CMA's social media at the moment, though there's also a regram from Bey's account, an artsy black and white shot of their four microphones, labeled "Emily," "Martie, "Natalie" and "B." TMZ insists, meanwhile, the four were prominently featured on CMAworld.com earlier this morning—until the racist, abusive commentary on CMA's social media pages prompted them to take down whatever was attracting the worst of the hate. Aka all the Beyoncé content (though the Chicks apparently have some haters left over from the "Not Ready to Make Nice" days...).
"Terrible. You guys missed an opportunity for diversity and in a white dominated music genre," read one comment on Instagram. "This was the biggest year for the CMA's because you featured the biggest artist of our time on your show. She brought a new audience to the CMA's. Not to take away from the Dixie chicks (because they were dope too) but this is downright disrespectful and reeks of privilege and prejudice. All parties responsible for this should be fired. It was an honor to have Beyoncé even consider a show that lacks inclusion for people of color. This will be your last year with ratings this high."
Actually...ratings went down from last year, the 2016 CMA Awards having the misfortune to air opposite Game 7 of the World Series. But experts agreed that dropping less than a million viewers wasn't so bad, considering the competition!
But that's not the point...
"Way to go CMA caving to racist fans. I'm a Country fan and all other music. I'm done with the CMA," wrote @missy_texicaligirl. Added @pdraper326: "This move y'all pulled to not disturb racist fans is distasteful! I've been following, listening and watching for roughly 10 years! Y'all lost one! I hope many others follow suit or have already done the same! Y'all will never get another view, like or follow (which is how y'all get paid) out of me.."
Honestly, we don't think that the Country Music Association purposefully bent over backwards to abide a racist agenda. If anything, whoever's running their social media was probably just as startled as any normal person would be to see hate speech pocking their pages in response to what was supposed to be such a joyous moment for the CMA Awards and fans everywhere.
And it doesn't even matter if the majority of the comments were positive—it only takes one N-bomb to blow up a party.
Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images
"Beyonce overrated racist n---er bitch," some lunatic wrote, per TMZ.
Maybe the CMA panicked. Maybe Beyoncé's fans are panicking because it isn't that far-fetched to suspect that racist tendencies could've prompted the perceived slight toward their queen.
But maybe we all should panic, because there are still people out there who respond to points of view they don't agree with with the most divisive and most destructive sort of speech.
Even just now, on the collage that went up this afternoon, someone wrote on Facebook, "WTF were yall thinking of putting that racist BeDum'ce on stage.. and wth happened to the Dixie Chick's they all look terrible.." And another: "Why the heck did the CMA's have to have a Liberal moment? Bad enough the Dixie Chicks, but Skanky Beyoncé? Beyoncé promotes racism and anti-police sentiment. Beyoncé and Her husband JZ also do not represent any values associated with country music with their Skanky, Sexist, Racist and Drug Promoting Videos and lyrics."
Please, sir, do explain what country music values mean to you.
At least the more distasteful comments are now being dwarfed by those who thought the performance was delightful, those who insist inclusiveness is what it's all about, those who hope Beyoncé is invited back again next year. Those people always win the day, eventually, but it's also a daily battle.
The Lemonade artist herself hasn't commented, but the Dixie Chicks—who've had a lot of practice deflecting barbs from people who claim to be defending some sort of singularly American principal as an excuse for them to sling misogynistic, threatening language their way—tweeted out a link to "Daddy Lessons" on SoundCloud, captioned, "If we all turn this up really loud, together we can drown out the hate."
Natalie Maines added her own bit of kindling to the discussion, tweeting, "Hey everybody!The CMA's just called and asked us to co-host next year's show with Beyoncé. Unfortunately I've got a thing that night so, no."
Be relieved if you're at a loss when it comes to understanding what fires up the people who have nothing better to do than blame Beyoncé for society's ills.
First of all, they're probably only doing so because they heard someone on TV who should know better saying it first. But it does remain increasingly difficult to sit by and watch people persist in not getting it, persist in willfully missing the point of what someone's trying to say or misguidedly turn a social message about the greater good or someone else's hardship into a personal attack.
Amid the glut of award shows packing the TV schedule these days, country music shows in particular have always stuck out as being particularly celebratory and bighearted, the artists really digging in deep onstage and the attendees showering each other with praise and congratulations.
They've also historically been awfully pale affairs, country music not being much known for its diversity. But more than ever now, especially with so many of the younger guard venturing into new territory with their sound, respect for talent and the desire to bring people together is what it's really all about. So anyone who's under the impression that country is going to sit behind closed doors and remain a playground for the same old group of artists as the years go by is sorely mistaken.
Meanwhile, all anyone had to do was look at the starstruck artists who couldn't wait to meet Beyoncé, the fans losing it on Twitter and the roomful of people rocking out last night to see that the CMAs have already figured out what real music lovers want out of a show.
As for the haters, Beyoncé isn't coming for your country music—or your country, for that matter. Read the room next time.