African Americans Making History and a Better Future
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter was born and raised in Houston Texas. She performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child, and rose to fame in the late 1990s as lead singer of R&B girl-group Destiny’s Child. Managed by her father Mathew Knowles, the group became one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. Beyoncé’s debut album, Dangerously in Love (2003), which established her as a solo artist worldwide; it sold 11 million copies, earned five Grammy Awards.
A self-described “modern-day feminist”, Beyoncé creates songs that are often characterized by themes of love, relationships, and monogamy, as well as female sexuality and empowerment. On stage, her dynamic, highly choreographed performances have led to critics hailing her as one of the best entertainers in contemporary popular music. The Recording Industry Association of America recognized her as the Top Certified Artist in America during the 2000s decade. In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade, the Top Female Artist of the 2000s and their Artist of the Millennium in 2011. Time listed her among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013 and 2014.
On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé married Jay Z. She publicly revealed their marriage in a video montage at the listening party for her third studio album, I Am… Sasha Fierce. Beyoncé expanded her acting career, starring as blues singer Etta James in the 2008 musical biopic, Cadillac Records. Her performance in the film received praise from critics, and she garnered several nominations for her portrayal of James, including a Satellite Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Beyoncé performed James’ “At Last” at the First Couple’s first inaugural ball.
Beyoncé starred opposite Ali Larter and Idris Elba in the thriller, Obsessed. She played Sharon Charles, a mother and wife who learns of a woman’s obsessive behavior over her husband. Although the film received negative reviews from critics, the movie did well at the US box office, grossing $68 million—$60 million more than Cadillac Records on a budget of $20 million. The fight scene finale between Sharon and the character played by Ali Larter also won the 2010 MTV Movie Award for Best Fight.
You May Not Know
Beyoncé is believed to have first started a relationship with Jay Z after a collaboration on “’03 Bonnie & Clyde”. On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé and Jay Z were married without publicity. As of April 2014, the couple have sold a combined 300 million records together. Beyoncé suffered a miscarriage in 2010 or 2011, describing it as “the saddest thing” she had ever endured. In August, the couple attended the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, at which Beyoncé performed “Love on Top” and started the performance saying “Tonight I want you to stand up on your feet, I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me”. At the end of the performance, she dropped her microphone, unbuttoned her blazer and rubbed her stomach, confirming her pregnancy she had alluded to earlier in the evening. On January 7, 2012, Beyoncé gave birth to a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York under heavy security. Two days later, Jay Z released “Glory”, a song dedicated to their child.