NEW YORK • Beyonce on Wednesday seized the spotlight at the Country Music Association Awards by cheerily performing a fusion song, in a powerful if unstated message on United States race relations.
The star took the stage without an introduction and sang Daddy Lessons, a track off her latest album, with country veterans Dixie Chicks seamlessly joining in.
Beyonce, who has been increasingly outspoken in support of the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality, was a rare African-American performer at the annual awards.
Country music has historically been linked to white culture in the US South, although the genre's audience has rapidly grown in recent years. But Beyonce - who in August wowed the MTV Video Music Awards with a medley from her album Lemonade that included dramatised shootings - made no overt commentary in Nashville.
Soon after the awards, the Dixie Chicks - who incorporated lyrics from their hit Long Time Gone into the song - released a free download of the Daddy Lessons collaboration with Beyonce.
Social media reaction was prolific and largely positive. But some country music fans posted that they did not appreciate Beyonce's inclusion, triggering heated and at times racially tinged arguments on Twitter.