Beyonce Seemingly Refers to ‘Cowboy Carter’ Criticism in iHeartRadio Awards Innovator Acceptance Speech

'Being an innovator often means being criticized, which often will test your mental strength,' Queen Bey said in her speech.

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Beyonce accepting the Innovator Award at the 2024 iHeartRadio Awards
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Beyoncé is aware of the criticism surrounding her latest album, Cowboy Carter. Though countless Beyhive fans love the new sound, critics have slammed it. Nevertheless, the 42-year-old music super star kept her head up high while accepting the Innovator Award at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday, April 1.

For the evening, Bey wore an all-black cowgirl-themed outfit, complete with a hat and leather belted jacket. Before approaching the stage to accept her award, Stevie Wonder presented the “Texas Hold ‘Em” artist with the recognition. She, of course, thanked the “Isn’t She Lovely” artist, 73, for his contributions to the music industry.

“Thank you for making a wave for all of us,” Beyoncé told Stevie on stage. “I’m honored to receive this recognition from you. Whenever anyone asks me if there’s anyone I could listen to for the rest of my life, it’s always you.”

Bey then began her speech by explaining the meaning behind the Innovator Award.

“Thank you to iHeartRadio. Tonight you call me an innovator, and for that I’m very grateful,” Bey said. “Innovation starts with a dream, but then you have to execute that dream, and that road can be very bumpy. Being an innovator is seeing what everyone believes is impossible. Being an innovator often means being criticized, which often will test your mental strength.”

Though she did not refer to what she’s been “criticized” for, some have openly expressed their disdain for the Grammy Award winner’s new music, including Azealia Banks.

“Being an innovator is leaning on faith, and trusting that God will catch you and guide you,” Bey continued in her speech. “So, to all the record labels, every radio station, every awards show — my hope is that we’re more open to the joy and liberation that comes from enjoying art with no preconceived notions. I want to dedicate this award to all the innovators who have dedicated their lives and their art to creating shifts.”

The “If I Were a Boy” hitmaker concluded by thanking other innovators for their “sacrifices, your powerful voices, and your dauntless spirits.” She then shouted out her husband, Jay-Z, and their children, Blue Ivy Carter, Sir and Rumi.

“My husband, my rock, my best friend, I love you,” Bey said. “My three beautiful children who continue to be my inspiration and my biggest blessing.”