Beyoncé: Childhood, Biography & Feminism

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter: Childhood

Beyoncé is the eldest child of Mathew, a Xerox sales manager and Tina Knowles (née Beyincé), a hairdresser and salon owner.

Beyoncé’s name is a tribute to her mother’s maiden name. Beyoncé’s older sister Solange is also a singer and a former backup dancer for Destiny’s Child.

Solange and Beyoncé are the first sisters to have both had No. 1.

She was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas.

During her childhood, she performed in various singing and dancing competitions and became a lead singer in the R&B group Girls’ Tyme, that was managed by her dad.

As a child, Beyoncé participated in dance classes, and she would sing during her school performances.

She sang the national anthem at a sporting event at age seven, and began composing songs by age nine.

Her parents divorced when she was eight years old, and Beyoncé and Solange moved with their mother to Houston’s suburbs.

Tina Knowles enrolled her and Solange in Ryan School of Dance in Houston; where they both studied ballet jazz tap. This helped Beyoncé develop “discipline” which has carried throughout her career.

In 1993, when she was eight years old, Beyoncé won a talent show contest on Star Search (1983), hosted by Ed McMahon.

She competed against 15 other contestants, singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. She beat out all the other contestants to win the contest.

This gave Beyoncé her first taste of success as a performer.

From then on, she knew that she wanted to be a singer.

Beyoncé: Destiny’s Child Career

When Beyoncé was nine years old, Mathew Knowles began managing Destiny’s Child. The group became one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time, selling over 60 million records worldwide.

The group originally consisted of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and LaTavia Roberson.

Their biggest hits included “Say My Name” and “Survivor”.

Destiny’s Child disbanded in 2006 after nearly a decade together. The primary reason for their break-up was due to creative differences.

Beyoncé: Solo Career

Their hiatus saw Beyoncé’s theatrical film debut in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) and the release of her first solo album, Dangerously in Love (2003).

The album established her as a solo artist worldwide, debuted atop the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and earned five Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “Crazy in Love”.

Following the disbandment of Destiny’s Child in 2006, she released her second solo album, B’Day, which contained hits “Déjà Vu”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Beautiful Liar”.

Beyoncé also ventured into acting with starring roles in The Fighting Temptations (2003) and Dreamgirls (2006).

Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z and pregnancy with their daughter Blue Ivy Carter influenced her third album, I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the introduction of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”.

Beyoncé took a hiatus from music in 2010 and took over management of her career; during this period she gave birth to Blue Ivy Carter and resumed performing in 2013 with The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.

Her eponymous fifth album (2013) featured the singles “XO” and “Drunk in Love”, which peaked atop the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, helping Beyoncé achieve 11 number-ones on the chart, becoming its third-best performing artist of all-time.

In 2015, she was featured on the single ” Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj; their performance at the Tidal X: 10145 concert in Brooklyn peaked over 28 million views on Tidal.

Beyoncé released her sixth album, Lemonade, in 2016; it became the best-selling album worldwide of 2016 and received five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album.

In 2004, she made her film debut in Obsessed. The same year, she released her second solo album, B’Day, which contained her fourth number-one single in the US, “Irreplaceable”, as well as songs such as “Déjà Vu”, “Ring the Alarm” and “Beautiful Liar”. Beyoncé also continued her acting career, with starring roles in The Pink Panther (2006), Dreamgirls (2006) and Obsessed (2009).

Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z and portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008) influenced her third album, I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the introduction of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”.

Her fourth album, Beyoncé (2013), was subsequently released by Columbia Records to critical and commercial success.

The album featured the lead single “XO”, which peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Beyoncé the only artist in history to have their first five number-one singles on the chart.

Its subsequent singles, “Pretty Hurts” and “Flawless”, reached the top ten in multiple countries.

The album would go on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In 2016, Beyoncé introduced her athleisure line Ivy Park with Topshop.

She released Lemonade, a film and album as a visual album, featuring songs such as “Formation” and “Sorry”, which peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. In 2018, she gave birth to twins Rumi and Sir Carter.

Later that year, she released Everything Is Love, an album with husband Jay-Z under the name The Carters.

Beyonce: Awards & Accolades

Beyoncé’s musical work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including:

  • 24 Grammy Awards
  • 32 Billboard Music Awards
  • nine BET Awards
  • eight American Music Awards
  • MTV Video Music Award.

She is also a prominent figure in the fashion industry due to her style choices over the years.

Forbes reported that she was the world’s highest-paid black musician in 2017 and 2018, while Time included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014 and 2019.

In 2012, she was ranked number four on VH12’s 100 Greatest Women in Music.

Rolling Stone ranked her at number one hundred on their list of “The Greatest Singers of All Time” in 2017, and at number fifty-five on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

On February 12th, 2020, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter made history as the most decorated woman in Grammy Awards history, winning her 28th Grammy Award.

With this win, she surpasses Alison Krauss as the female artist with the most Grammy wins in history. Beyoncé now has more Grammy wins than any other female artist in history.

Her first album, Dangerously in Love, won five Grammys in 2004, making her the first African American woman to win that many awards in one night.

She has gone on to win an additional 23 Grammys since then, including Best Pop Vocal Album for Lemonade and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Beyoncé.

In total, she has won 28 Grammys and is now the most decorated woman in Grammy Awards history.

In 2012, she was ranked as the most powerful female in entertainment by Forbes magazine and was named “Woman of the Year” by Glamour magazine.

Rolling Stone ranked her as the fourth greatest artist of all time while Billboard declared her as the second overall Artist of the Decade (2000s) and their top R&B Artist of All Time.

Additionally, Time listed her among their 100 most influential people in the world in 2013 and 2014, and Forbes ranked her as the 100th most powerful woman in 2015.

She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has advocated for children’s rights since 2004.

She has sold 100 million records as a solo artist, making her one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

Beyonce: Why She’s A Feminist

In an interview with Elle magazine, Beyonce was asked to explain why she’s a feminist:

I put the definition of feminist in my song [“Flawless”] and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I’m a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning.

I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple.

It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex.

If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes.

Ask anyone, man or woman, “Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?” What do you think the answer would be?

When we talk about equal rights, there are issues that face women disproportionately. That is why I wanted to work with [the philanthropic organizations] Chime for Change and Global Citizen.

They understand how issues related to education, health, and sanitation around the world affect a woman’s entire existence and that of her children.

They’re putting programs in place to help those young girls who literally face death because they want to learn, and to prevent women from dying during childbirth because there’s no access to health care.

Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don’t like or embrace any label.

I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in.

If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.

Beyonce, interview with Elle, 2016

In 2016, Beyoncé received The Global Citizen Award for her work on gender equality.