What Is the Yee-Haw Agenda, and Why Is It So Popular?

Photo Courtesy: Lizzo performs during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas. Photo by Mike Jordan/Getty Images for SXSW

If you've been seeing Black musicians in cowboy hats and Western wear filling your social media feed lately, then you may have already gotten a taste of the Yee-Haw Agenda. If you're not familiar with the term, it refers to a resurgence in country style, music and culture, particularly among African Americans. Think Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" and Beyoncé's performance of "Daddy Lessons" with the Dixie Chicks at the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards.

Yet the Yee-Haw Agenda is about a lot more than lassos and wide-open ranges. It's about challenging the stereotypes people often believe about the American cowboy and country-western music in general. While both have long been associated with white people in the South, the history of Black cowboys in the United States is much richer than many people realize.