As any Beyoncé’ fan knows today, Tuesday September 4th, is Queen B’s birthday. She’s 37 today (although you’d never guess it) and she’s come a long way from being the young starlet who fronted Destiny’s Child.
Today, she’s one of the most recognised performers on the planet, one-half of the music industry’s biggest power couples and her net worth (as of July this year) stands at a staggering $355 million. It goes without saying she’s also produced one of the most impressive bodies of work in the history of music.
So today, to celebrate Beyoncé’s birthday, we’re taking a look back at some of the most iconic moments of her career. Strap in fans for a walk down memory lane.
Crazy In Love (2003)
Beyoncé firmly cemented herself as a star on the rise in 2013 when she released her first solo project. The first single Crazy In Love led disastrous hair-ography attempts by fans in-front of electrical fans as they emulated the music video’s ending where Bey and a group of dancers wear vibrant Versace dresses in front of a large fan.
The album Dangerously In Love ensured Bey her first 5 Grammy’s outside of Destiny’s Child – and also started the Beyhive – an army of dedicated fans that has made Beyoncé one of music’s most revered artists. Crazy in Love itself has also been cemented in the history books. Entertainment Weekly magazine ranked Crazy in Love as one of the Top 50 Greatest Summer Songs ever recorded. It was listed at number three on Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 Best Songs of the 2000s Decade in 2009, and it was included as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time in 2010 by Rolling Stone.
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (2008)
Arguably one of Beyoncé biggest hits Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) is not only one of the best selling singles of all time, it has featured on many “best of”-lists and is still referenced for it’s iconic black and white photo.
The video also gave the world Kanye-gate when he defended the video at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards when then country star Taylor Swift won best music video and not Beyoncé. Critics have previously compared the song to Aretha Franklin’s Respect as well as Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive for lyrics that promote female empowerment. The same holds true for the LGBTQi community that sees it as an anthem, with many articles dissecting why it’s the perfect song to listen to before going out for a night on the town.
Formation and Lemonade (2016)
Twitter nearly shut down and the world was forever changed February 6 2016 when Beyoncé dropped the lead single Formation for her sixth studio album Lemonade. The song was the first time Beyoncé unashamedly included pro-black messages in her work. Formation’s music video initially received mixed response for its alleged anti-police stance – while it also was praised for its depiction of African-Americans not frequently seen in mainstream media.
The song has become a black resistance anthem since its release. But after dropping Formation, Beyoncé dropped the album in April 2016. Lemonade is often considered a concept album – and has become one of the best received albums in recent memory. It was nominated for nine awards at the 59th Grammy Awards in 2017. The album also won a Peabody Award in the Entertainment category, and Metacritic named it the second most critically acclaimed album of 2016. Last year NPR said it was the sixth best album made by a woman.
Pregnancy announcement (2017)
While the Kardashian-clan knows how to break the internet, Beyoncé knows how to do it in such a way that it not only becomes iconic – it becomes one of those moments as historic as Marilyn Monroe’s skirt blowing up, J. Howard Miller We can do it poster or Madonna’s cone bra.
The announcement photo was even featured on this year’s RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 where competing drag queens needed to stomp down the runway in a “flower power” outfit. The reverence shouldn’t come as a shock. The initial photo was the most liked photo on Instagram for 2017. When Beyoncé posted an image of her seated in a bed of flowers in front of a colorful, floral wreath, baring her pregnant stomach February last year the post amassed over 11.1 million likes in just a few hours, spawning an endless stream of spoofs and memes of her floral-themed pregnancy shoot.
Beyoncé became the fist black woman to headline Coachella – taking the baton from Lady Gaga who was the first female headlining the festival in 2017. But what made Beyoncé’s performance different is that it was undeniably political (uhm, what did we expect after the Formation-era?) starting with an entire band consisting of band members from historically black colleges and universities in America.
She further added dashes of feminism to the set thanks to samples of spoken word by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and including her former band members from Destiny’s Child in the performance. No wonder people started calling this year’s festival Beycella – way before her actual performance.