The meaning behind Beyoncé’s alternate ‘Cowboy Carter’ album cover

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Beyoncé unveiled the new cover art for the Cowboy Carter limited edition vinyl on Wednesday, a day after she revealed the official album cover.

The new artwork features the singer posing naked with just a sash covering her. Her long hair is braided with red and white beads, and she holds a cigar in one hand. If you look closely at the sash, it reads “act ii Beyincé” — and, yes, it’s spelled that way on purpose.

As many know, Beyoncé takes her name from her mother Tina Knowles’ maiden name. In a 2020 interview on Heather Thomson’s In My Heart podcast, Knowles explained that her maiden name was spelled incorrectly on her birth certificate and that the correct spelling is actually Beyincé — with an “i” instead of an “o.”

Knowles said she asked her mother about the spelling. “So I said, ‘Well, why didn’t you argue and make them correct it?’” she recalled. “And she said, ‘I did one time…and I was told be happy that you’re getting a birth certificate because, at one time, Black people didn’t get birth certificates.’”

Beyoncé not only represents the true spelling of the family name on the vinyl cover, she pays tribute to her married name, Carter, in the album’s title. 

Cowboy Carter comes out March 29. The limited edition vinyl is available for preorder now.

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