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Beyoncé tips her hat to innovators who have ‘defied every label placed on them’

Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award from Stevie Wonder at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 1, 2024 in Los Angeles, CA. -Credit: Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images

As Beyoncé continues to break barriers and reinvent American music Cowboy Carterthe singer thanked those who paved the way by defying “every label placed on them.”

When accepting the Innovator Award by Stevie Wonder Beyoncé addressed the crowd at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday night. “Tonight you called me an innovator, and for that I am very grateful,” she said. “Innovation starts with a dream. But then you have to realize that dream, and that road can be very bumpy. Being an innovator means seeing what everyone else thinks is impossible. Being an innovator often means receiving criticism, which often tests your mental strength.”

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In turn, the star dedicated the award to “all innovators who have dedicated their lives and their art to creating change.” She continued, “Thank you for your sacrifices, your powerful voices, and your fearless spirit. Thank you to Rosetta Tharpe, Mrs. Tracy Chapman, Linda Martell, Prince, Stevie Wonder, André 3000, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson and many more who defied every label placed on them. Thank you for making your dream come true so we could all follow.”

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Beyoncé also expressed hope that “every record label, every radio station, every awards show” would be more “open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art without preconceived notions.”

In presenting the honor, Wonder called the 32-time Grammy winner “a true visionary.” Beyoncé thanked him in response and also revealed that he performed the harmonica on the version of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ on her new album.

Following the release of Cowboy Carter last week, Rolling stone revealed that music streams for artists on the LP – including Willie Nelson, Linda Martell and Dolly Parton – skyrocketed. Linda Martell, whose 1970 LP, Color my countrythe first major country album released by a black woman saw a nearly 127,430 percent jump in Spotify catalog streams last weekend.

In February, Beyoncé became the first Black artist to top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in modern country music history, thanks to her single “Texas Hold ‘Em.” The song later topped the Hot 100 chart, marking the singer’s ninth time topping the chart as a solo artist. Spotify announced this last Friday Cowboy Carter currently holds the record for the most streamed album in a single day in 2024.

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