Net Worth: $450 million
It's no secret that people all over the world love Beyoncé; finding fame in the '90s as the lead singer of R&B girl band 'Destiny's Child' and going on to be a world-renowned solo artist, it's safe to say 'Queen Bey' has dominated the charts with her music over her 20 year career span. Her talents don't stop there though, Beyoncé is also a songwriter, record producer, actress and businesswoman, proving that girls really do run the world.
Born as Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, the singer was brought up in Houston, Texas by her mother Celestine Tina Knowles (best known as Tina), who was a successful hairdresser with her own salon, and her father Mathew Knowles who was a sales manager at Xerox. She took on the unique name of Beyoncé as a tribute to Tina’s maiden name being kept in the family. Solange, Beyoncé’s younger sister is also a singer and was even once rumored to be joining her older sister in famous girl band Destiny’s Child. Beyoncé’s family tree dates back to the leader of the Acadian, Joseph Broussard, whilst her father is of an African American origin and her mother Tina being Louisiana Creole.
The first school Beyoncé attended was St. Mary’s Montessori School in Houston. Having already found a passion for dancing, she decided to enrol in dance class. Her dance instructor Darlette Johnson discovered Beyoncé’s singing talent; he noticed that whenever he was humming a song, the youngster would finish it off and hit the high notes perfectly. At the age of seven, Beyoncé won the school talent show and became more serious about her singing talent. She sang ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon in the competition and went on to defeat older students who were all 14 and 15 years old. Beyoncé was admitted at Parker Elementary School during fall in 1990. She joined the school’s choir where she performed with them at the magnet school of music located in Houston. She was also enrolled at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts then later attended Alief Elsik High School. At St. John’s United Methodist Church Beyoncé soloed for the choir for two years.
At eight years, Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland (her childhood friend) had an opportunity to meet LaTavia Roberson during an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They auditioned alongside three other girls and became known as ‘Girl’s Tyme’. After seeing the group, R&B producer Arne Frager was impressed and brought them to his studio in Northern California. He put them in one of the biggest talent shows at that time – Star Search – that was aired on a national TV. Beyoncé claimed that the song they did on stage just wasn’t good enough after Girl’s Tyme failed to win the competition.
Because of his love for his daughter, father Mathew Knowles decided to quit his job and manage the girls. The family’s income was reduced by a half and her parents had to move into different houses. The girl’s original line-up was cut up to four, and they continued performing as an opening act for other R&B girl groups that were more established. The group was eventually signed to Elektra Records after successful auditions, with them then moving to Atlanta Records shortly after to begin recording. Unfortunately, Atlanta Records cut their contract with the girls leaving their family in a lot of trouble and causing Beyoncé’s parents to separate. Their luck turned around as Grass Roots Entertainment, belonging to Dwayne Wiggins, signed the girls on October 5 1995. The girls recorded their first debut album with an agreement with Sony Music and her family finally reunited. Columbia Records later signed Girl’s Tyme up and the star we know today was born.
In 1996, the group changed their name to Destiny’s Child quoting a short story in the Bible Book of Isaiah. In 1997, their debut song ‘Killing Time’ was released as a soundtrack to the film Men in Black in 1997. The group’s first major hit ‘No’ was launched the next year after the release of their first debut album. The album became a hit and gave the girl band a well-deserved spot in the music industry. They went on to win three awards at the Soul Train Music Awards for Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist, and Best R&B/Soul Single for ‘No’. These awards were a significant milestone for Beyoncé and really kick started her career in the music industry.
A second album called ‘The Writing’s On The Wall’ was released in 1999. The album had well-known songs such as ‘Bills’ and their first single ‘Jumpin’ as well as the famous ‘Say My Name’ which was the most successful song during that time. It soon became their signature song and helped them bag the award for the Best R&B Performance as Group with Vocals. At the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, they were awarded the Best R&B Song award. The ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ album sold over seven million copies worldwide. Beyoncé then recorded a song called ‘After All Is Said and Done’ with Marc Nelson who was a member of Boyz II Men for the soundtrack to film The Best Man in 1999.
Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams replaced LeToya Luckett and Roberson who were not happy with Mathew’s management. The media and blogs blamed Beyoncé publicly, together with her haters, for being the cause of the split. This led to a breakup with her long-term boyfriend as well as her suffering with severe depression that lasted for a few years. She locked herself in her bedroom and refused to eat anything for days. Her mother was the person who came to the rescue and helped her begin to feel better. Beyoncé, Rowland, and Williams remained together after Franklin left with the aim to get their music back into the charts.
‘Independent Women Part I’ was recorded by the remaining ladies. The song was a soundtrack to the movie Charlie’s Angels in 2001 and became their best-charting single, remaining at the number one spot in the top 100 for eleven consecutive weeks. While completing their third album in 2001, Beyoncé got a major role in the MTV film Carmen: A Hip Hopera alongside American actor Mekhi Phifer. ‘Survivor’ – their third album – was released in May 2001 yet the girls received a shock when former band members Luckett and Roberson claimed that the songs were aimed towards them and filed a lawsuit. Regardless, the album went on to be number one on the US top 200 billboards with sales of 663,000 copies in the first week. ‘Bootylicious’ and the title track ‘Survivor’ helped the group win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance. ‘8 Days of Christmas’ was their holiday album marking the end of the group on October 2001, with their solo careers starting to begin.
Beyoncé continued her acting career in 2002 and played Foxxy Cleopatra comedy film Austin Powers with Mike Myers. At the US box office, it grossed $73 million on the first weekend. Beyoncé later released ‘Work It Out’ as the lead single from its soundtrack. She then released ‘Fighting Temptation’ with Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free.
In October 2002, her first solo recording was a feature on Jay Z’s ‘03 Bonnie & Clyde’ taking number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. On June 24, 2003, she released her first solo album ‘Dangerously in Love’ selling 317,000 copies in its first week and topping the billboard charts. From then on, the album has sold 11 million copies worldwide. ‘Crazy in Love’ (featuring Jay-Z) was number-one single as a solo artist in the US, with ‘Baby Boy’, ‘Me, Myself and I’ and ‘Naughty Girl’ also reaching the top-five. The album made Beyoncé scoop five awards at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, one of them being the Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Since then, she has released many albums such as ‘Sasha Fierce’ and ‘4’ and hit songs ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) and ‘If I Were A Boy’. She has toured around the world gaining support and love from a huge fan base, known as The Bey Hive. As for her acting career, she has steered hit films with other great actors with roles such as Etta James in the 2008 musical biopic Cadillac Records and scooped major nominations including being nominated for six awards at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
The Lemonade Project that was released on April 16, 2016, became number one on the U.S. Billboard top 200 chart and it’s the 23rd album that has received a five-star rating from Rolling Stone. The MTV Video Awards nominated the album’s visual a staggering eleven times.
Beyoncé has been described my popular music journalist Touré as a ‘crossover sex symbol’, with the female pop star’s sex appeal being noticed worldwide. Yet Beyoncé herself claims she dresses ‘sexily’ for her stage looks only as a way of enhancing her performance and really putting on a show.
She had a runway modeling debut for Tom Ford’s fashion show in 2011 and was also named ‘The Most Beautiful Woman in The World’ in 2012 by People magazine. Complex also named her the hottest female singer of all time in 2012 and she was placed on the cover of GQ magazine where she was also listed at the top of the 100 sexiest women of the 21st century.
Her famous curves have been emulated to many wax figures, being found in Madame Tussauds museums in major cities including New York and Sydney. She has been featured on various other magazine covers, but the most outstanding was the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with her being the second African-American star to feature after model Tyra Banks.
She has also faced controversy and criticism during her career. She was criticized in 2006 by an animal rights organization because of dressing in clothes made from real fur and using fur in her clothing line. Her appearance on the cover of the French fashion magazine L’official also drew criticism because she was in blackface and a tribal makeup. Her skin color has also drawn criticism from many people in the African-American community because of its lightness in certain photoshoots or advertising campaigns, with the singer being accused of agreeing to editing that makes her skin look lighter.
Above all, Beyoncé has a kind heart with her even once donating her entire salary from Phoenix House to help people addicted to heroin in her home country. She has supported many charities and organizations such as; Candle’s Foundation, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Feeding America and Clothes For Our Back.
Beyonce started a relationship with Jay-Z Carter after her collaboration on ‘03 Bonnie and Clyde’. They later married on April 4 2008 and since then the power couple have sold over 270 million records combined. Whilst they’re one of Hollywood’s hottest couples, they try to keep their relationship away from the public eye.
In 2010, Beyoncé suffered a miscarriage, a moment she recalls as the worst time in her life. She even went to the studio and recorded a song to help her through the tragic situation. She unexpectedly became pregnant whilst travelling in Paris when her and Jay-Z had gone to shoot a video for the album ‘4’. During her performance at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé revealed she was pregnant, making MTV have the most watched broadcast show in their history.
The couple helped to campaign for Obama to take up the position of U.S. President and even raised over $3.5 million at a fundraiser held at Jay-Z’s 40/40 nightclub. Beyoncé even performed during Obama’s second inauguration in 2009. The singer has also spoken openly about hating police brutality.
Beyoncé has one child with husband Jay-Z, with their daughter Blue Ivy being born on January 7 2012.
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