Happy Birthday, Bey! The 24-time Grammy winner turns 39 on September 4, and what better way to honor Beyonce then with a look back at her career milestone moments. The mononymous talent has been a mainstay of popular culture since the early 2000s, and it’s so clear that she’s just getting started. Not only has Beyonce persevered through ups and downs in her career and personal life, the artist has continued to use her platform for good.
Following the death of George Floyd on May 25, Beyonce delivered a vital message to her Instagram followers. “We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalize this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of color. If you’re white, black, brown, or anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now.”
Along with her moving words, she’s encouraged her fans to “remain focused,” and continue to take an active part in the Black Lives Matter movement. She has also demanded that charges be filed against the three Louisville police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in her sleep. “With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: The death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern. Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers,” she pleaded.
Before she was the Grammy-winning solo artist and inspiring figure that she is today, Beyonce was a part of a girl group, known as Destiny’s Child, that went on to receive international acclaim and earn two Grammy awards! The group, whose name was first Girl’s Tyme, originated in Houston, TX and went on to take the nation by storm with their catchy songs and powerful messages of female resilience. In 2000, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams won their very first Grammy award for their song “Say My Name,” which earned the trio Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. They went on to win the same category again the next year, 2001, for their track “Survivor.”
Following their farewell performance at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game on February 19, 2006 in their hometown of Houston, the three women went on to pursue their solo projects full-time. That same year, Beyonce released her album B’Day, which included tracks like “Get Me Bodied” and “Irreplaceable.” Two years later, Beyonce’s album I Am…Sasha Fierce came out with the major hit “Single Ladies,” earning the artist a Grammy nomination for album of the year. Following her 2011 album 4, Beyonce completely changed the game with a digital drop — literally.
She surprised fans everywhere with the release of her first visual, self-titled album, Beyonce, which included tracks like “Flawless,” “Pretty Hurts,” and “Partition.” The album also included an ode to Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy, whom she welcomed with husband Jay-Z in January 2012. Feminist anthems and more came out of Beyonce’s first self-titled album, and she went on to win three Grammy awards! By this time, Beyonce had put her focus solely on her music, following success in her acting career with films like Dreamgirls, Cadillac Records, and Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Three years after Beyonce, the singer released one of her most acclaimed works to date, Lemonade. Her second visual album included tracks like “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” and “Formation.” It’s heralded as Beyonce’s most radical work, commentating on police brutality, and activism, while also writing eloquently about a difficult chapter in her relationship with Jay-Z. The success of Lemonade earned Beyonce further recognition at the Grammys while she was pregnant with twins Sir and Rumi. Soon after, she achieved a major milestone and became the first black woman to headline at Coachella in 2018, documenting the entire journey in her Netflix film Homecoming.
Beyonce’s next work of art came on July 30, 2020, when she released “Black Is King” — a powerful visual album that debuted on Disney Plus. The record accompanied the soundtrack titled “The Gift,” in which Beyonce curated for 2019’s The Lion King. She voiced the adult version of lioness Nala in Disney’s live-action film of the animated classic.
“The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. … I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our REAL history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books,” Beyonce wrote on Instagram ahead of the release of “Black Is King.”
From her Destiny’s Child days, to her continued musical prowess, Beyonce has grown to be a truly untouchable artist and global icon. To see more images of Beyonce’s evolution, check out the gallery above!