Beyoncé Just Covered the Beatles In the Most Authentic Way: By Honoring Black History


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By Garrison Hayes, Mother Jones

Beyoncé’s new genre-defying (but country-forward) album Cowboy Carter dropped overnight. The internet is now poring over track choices, hidden meanings, and symbolism to add to Beyonce Lore.

One such choice is the cover of The Beatles’ iconic song “Blackbird”, from the White Album, as the record’s second track. Trust Beyoncé to re-issue a song so redolent with Black history: The song was written about the Black Liberation struggle of the American civil rights movement.


In particular, McCartney was inspired by the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, after Brown v. The Board of Education heralded the start of school desegregation. On the eve of the teenagers’ first day of school, the Arkansas governor, Orval Faubus, sent in the state’s national guard to stop them, sparking a standoff and legal battle that lasted weeks. Eventually President Eisenhower federalized the National Guard and sent troops to protect the teenagers.

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