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While not necessarily an A-list name, songwriter Diane Warren is a legend within the music industry, writing numerous hit songs for artists including Aerosmith and Celine Dion. So when she posted a shady tweet that seemingly criticized a track on Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance, she was bound to attract backlash.
On Monday, Warren posed a simple question: “How can there be 24 writers on a song?” Accompanied by an eyeroll emoji, this sentiment quickly earned pushback because it could be interpreted as a dig at Beyoncé’s “Alien Superstar.” This song has 25 credited co-writers because it includes numerous samples from different artists, something that Warren acknowledged in a follow-up tweet.
“This isn’t meant as shade, I’m just curious,” Warren added. But the Beyhive remained unconvinced. It did seem kind of shady for Warren to pose this question publicly on Twitter, when—as a high-profile professional songwriter—she should surely understand how songwriting credits work. Her tweet had an implicitly unflattering subtext, tying into the belief that solo songwriters are artistically superior to musicians who work with multiple collaborators. It could definitely be interpreted as a criticism, couched in the plausible deniability of “just asking questions.”
“How you’ve been in the game for 80 years and don’t know how samples work?” one Twitter user asked. “Coz I don’t use them,” Warren replied.
Singer and producer The-Dream (who collaborated with Beyoncé on Renaissance) was among Warren’s detractors, highlighting the legacy of Black musicians using samples in their work.
“You mean how’s does our (Black) culture have so many writers, well it started because we couldn’t afford certain things starting out,so we started sampling and it became an Artform, a major part of the Black Culture (hip hop) in America.Had that era not happen who knows. U good?” he wrote.
Meanwhile, others emphasized the history of white artists failing to credit Black artists who inspired their work. Others dug up dubious tweets from Warren’s past, including one where she wrote, “Met a black rapper named White Boy so I’m thinking of changing my name to Blaq Gurl…”
All in all, Warren’s Beyoncé subtweet did not go well for her, with Warren tweeting a few hours later, “Ok, I meant no disrespect to @Beyonce, who I’ve worked with and admire. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Warren’s team for comment via email.
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