After 25 years, Beyoncé remains one of the greatest pop-stars of our generation. But where did her journey begin, and what brought her to where she is now?
After over 25 years in the industry, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter continues to break boundaries and make history with numerous hits and awards. Queen Bey’s journey began at an early age and only continues to grow stronger. She inspires people with not only her music but her dedication and hard work toward accomplishing her dreams.
Childhood Talent Shows
It is no surprise that the multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning artist was born a star. By age seven, Beyoncé was already performing on stage at local talent shows in her hometown, Houston, Texas. She performed the song “Home” for the town’s Sammy Awards.
Impossible to conceal her innate talent, young Bey won multiple shows. She furthered her skills by enrolling in a music elementary school where she participated in her school choir and acted as a soloist at her church.
A year after winning talent shows, she and her friend, Kelly Rowland, who we now know as another member of Destiny’s Child, auditioned to join a girl group called Girl’s Tyme. There were six group members, including Nina and Nikki Taylor, Támar Davis, LaTavia Roberson, Kelly Rowland, and you can guess the last member.
They performed at talent shows in Housten, where an R&B producer placed them on Star Search – a televised talent competition where many stars, including Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera, acquired their debut. Girl’s Tyme unfortunately lost in 1993 but proved the judges wrong. She used excerpts from the 1993 televised competition in her song “Flawless” in 2019.
After they lost, Beyoné’s singing career became a family effort. Her father, Mathew Knowles, began managing the group while her mother, Tina Knowles, designed their outfits. Mathew created a group of four, including Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett, and LaTavia Roberson.
In 1996, this group of four female R&B singers became known as Destiny’s Child, the name derived from a passage in the Bible. They released their debut album with their single “No No No” which reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100.
However, following the recording of their second album, Writings on the Wall, the group made some cuts. LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson were kicked out without notice to be replaced by Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams. The two new members made their first appearance in the “Say My Name ” music video.
Some other classic songs from the album include “Bills Bills Bills” and “Jumpin Jumpin,” which was their first #1 single. In 2001, the group shortened to three, cutting out Farrah. Their third album in 2001, Survivor, earned a #1 place on the Billboard 200, winning them a Grammy and many other platinum awards.
Members of the group felt misrepresented by Beyoncé’s father as the manager of the group. They took a two-year hiatus in 2001 to pursue solo careers. Once they reunited, they released their final album called Destiny Fulfilled (2004) with the hit songs “Lose My Breath” and “Soldier.”
Beyoncé the Movie Star
While Beyoncé’s career was booming as a singer, she explored other talents and pursued acting. She has starred in multiple films, including MTV’s first original movie, Carmen: A Hip Hopera, Austin Powers: Goldmember, and The Fighting Temptations. In 2009, the pop star starred in the film Obsessed, where she plays the wife of actor Idris Elba, who encounters another woman who becomes “obsessed” with him and jeopardizes their family’s safety.
Beyoncé also starred in the Academy-Award-winning movie Dream Girls – a film based on the 1980s Broadway hit show loosely based on The Supreme’s rise to fame. Beyoncé played what is known as the Diana Ross character, Deena Jones. Many hoped it would win an Oscar nomination for the superstar, but instead, Jennifer Hudson won for her portrayal of Effie White.
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Beyoncé Solo Superstar
During her hiatus with Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé’s solo career took off. She debuted her album Dangerously in Love, which won five Grammys and topped the charts with a handful of singles, including “Crazy in Love,” “Check On It” and “Baby Boy.
She continued to make history as a solo female artist with her first visual album, B’day (2006), featuring a video for every one of her songs. Her third album, I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008) not only cemented her superstar status with hits like “Single Ladies” but also introduced a different, more unapologetic Beyoncé to the world that elevated her place in pop culture in more ways than one. She empowered all the single women to throw their hands up and show off that there is no ring on their finger.
Say hey…Ms. Carter
In 2008, Beyoncé married award-winning rapper and producer Jay-Z, and they had their first child, Blue Ivy. After singing “Love on Top” at the MTV Video Music Awards, she announced her pregnancy by showing off her baby bump.
In 2013, the pop star surprised her fans by dropping her visual album, Beyoncé, without any announcement or marketing. In 2014, she gave a 15-minute performance with songs from the album at the MTV Video Music Awards, where she earned the Honorable Vanguard Award.
In 2016, Beyoncé began managing an athletic clothing line through Parkwood Entertainment called Ivy Park. She partnered with Topshop and then gained full ownership in 2018. She recently joined Adidas in April, where they announced the new Ivy Park Top Ten 2000 sneakers. In her cover interview for Harper’s BAZAAR, she describes the origin of the name, rooting it back to her childhood in Texas. Ivy comes from the singer’s daughter, Blue Ivy, and Park originates from Parkwood Park in Houston, where she would find the strength to exercise.
In 2016, Beyoncé debuted her yet another visual album Lemonade, kicking off the chart-topping album with her second performance at the Superbowl (her first performance in 2013). She performed her masterpiece “Formation” along with other pop stars, Bruno Mars and the band Coldplay.
The entire album not only describes the journey dealing with her husband’s infidelity but also the struggle of being a Black woman in America. The album consists of 12 songs accompanied by an hour-long film on HBO. This album altered the trajectory of her music, going from creating hits and popular music to becoming a voice for change in society.
Beyoncé took a hiatus in 2017, after giving birth to her twins Rumi and Sir Carter. A year later, the reigning Queen of Pop made history once again as the first Black female artist to headline the annual mammoth music festival Coachella. The following year her two-hour performance was turned into the Netflix special, Homecoming. Her performance celebrated Black culture and the history of Black Colleges and Universities. She performed alongside guests like Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child, Jay-Z, and her sister Solange.
Black is King (2020)
Queen Bey played the voice of Nala in the 2019 Disney live-action version of The Lion King. She created an album called The Lion King: The Gift, and an 85-minute musical film, Black is King featured on Disney Plus. It includes songs like “My Power,” and “Already.” This visually engaging film aims to shift “the global perception of the word ‘Black,’” says Bey herself. It showcased African music styles, dances, costumes, and hairstyles.
It is dedicated to her son Jay-Z and Sir, which Esquire says acts as a “blueprint for decolorizing Black masculinity.” This visual piece debuted in 2020 amid Black Lives Matter protests. Beyoncé empowers African identity by honoring one’s ancestors and passing down lessons to the next generation. She spent three years producing the piece on three continents.
The Renaissance Way
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Beyoncé’s latest album released in 2022 became a place for people to feel free, dance, and embrace their identity. British Vogue called this album the “most ambitious musical project to date.” This album embraced queerness and incorporated house music. She dedicated to her gay uncle Johnny, writing, “Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you.”
The film of her Summer Renaissance World Tour comes to theaters on December 1st, 2023.