Beyoncé’s Beyhive has had a ton of reasons to be buzzing this year. Her Ivy Park range of activewear has had fans swarming to JD. Lemonade dropped in April to rave reviews and her Formation World Tour has been wowing fans across the globe. Last month she swept up a whopping 8 VMAs, including one for best video (we bet Kanye was happy with that one).
Beyoncé is a total megastar and for good reason. She embodies the strength and struggle that modern women go through, and she does it for all to see. Is there anyone more on-point when it comes to her music, her personality her attitude?
To celebrate her birthday, here are five times Beyoncé let us know she was on top when it came to being the most inspiring women on the planet.
Bey Makes It Rain
One of Bey’s first in a long line of feminist bangers, Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” pays tribute to the girls who go it alone. It’s not the men who give them what they want in relationships: the shoes, clothes, cars, diamonds and rings mentioned in the song? All paid for by Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle.
A celebration of freedom, sacrifice and doing it on your own, “Independent Women” spent 11 weeks at number one in the Hot 100, so it’s still her and Destiny Child’s longest-running song to take the hot spot.
Another one from Destiny Child’s Survivor, “Bootylicious” was such a tune it changed the meaning of the word. Originally, Snoop Dogg used it on a Dr. Dre song to mean something very different. When Destiny’s Child dropped this song in 2000, Bey and her group had reclaimed it as an appreciation of shapely, confident, empowered women.
The song’s popularity made such an impact that the new definition – “a sexually attractive woman” – was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004. There’s not many number one songs that can say they’ve done that.
The Best Video?
An iconic song and video, “Single Ladies” showed Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce alter ego in full force. A call for men to put up or shut up when it came to popping the question, the song was a celebration of a woman’s right to find her man, her way.
And that video? Let’s just come out and say it: it’s a straight up work of art. Minimal and powerful, it multiplies the song’s sass by one hundred, with Beyoncé and two back up dancers throwing some serious shapes, including that signature hand twirl move.
The video became huge. Thousands and thousands of fans posted their own versions on Youtube and it swept up award accolades, with one person famously calling it “the best video of all time”. Which leads us on to our next moment…
A Swift Snub for Kanye
Though “Single Ladies” was nominated for nine awards at the MTV Awards, the Best Female Video ultimately went to Taylor Swift. A few years away from her own super stardom, it was still a massive achievement for the young singer.
In the middle of her acceptance speech, Swift was famously cut short by Kanye West, who let his feelings about Beyoncé’s snub well known. Granted, West was kind enough to let Swift finish, but the “Shake It Off” singer’s victory was clearly ruined. And Beyoncé’s horrified reaction let everyone know West should’ve probably kept tight-lipped.
When Beyoncé collected her own award for Video of the Year later on in the night, she stood by Swift, noting “I remember being 17 years old, up for my first MTV award with Destiny’s Child, and it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. So I would like for Taylor to come out and have her moment.”
With that, Swift had her time to shine. Sisters got to stick together.
When Life Hands You Lemons…
Described by Tidal as “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing”, Bey’s sixth album Lemonade is heavy on juicy messages. It’s raw, powerful, vulnerable, strong and bold. In a career of staying true to herself, it’s still the most honest thing the singer’s done.
From “Formation”’s unifying force to the defiant but empowering “Sorry”, Lemonade shows a pop star who’s unafraid to take risks, a singer who uses her huge public presence to say something important, speaking up for the unheard, mistreated and unwanted.
Beyoncé inspires with everything she does. Long may Queen Bey reign.