Her name was given to her in a bid to continue the maternal family name
Ever wondered where the unusual name Beyoncé came from? Turns out that the superstar’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, was born Celestine Beyoncé. Being the fierce female that she is, she was concerned about her maiden name not being carried by future generations after she married Beyoncé’s father, Mathew Knowles. In a further twist, Tina explained on a podcast, In My Head With Heather Thompson, that her six siblings do not have the same spelling of her maiden name, and that it was just her and one other brother who have the spelling with an “o” in the middle. The other siblings have the spelling “Beyincé”, due to a clerical error on their birth certificates.
In the podcast, Tina discussed the error. “It’s interesting and it shows you the times because we asked my mother when I was grown, ‘Why is my brother’s name spelt B-e-y-i-n-c-é?’ My mum’s reply to me was, ‘That’s what they put on your birth certificate.’ I said, ‘Why didn’t you argue and make them correct it?’, and she said she did the first time and was told, ‘Be happy that you’re getting a birth certificate’. Because at one time, Black people didn’t get birth certificates… because it meant that you really didn’t exist and you weren’t important.”
She continued: “It was that subliminal message and so I understood that must have been horrible for her not to be able to have her children’s names spelled correctly.” Her brother, Beyoncé’s uncle discussed the story at the premiere of her Life Is But A Dream documentary. “My sister Tina [Knowles] didn’t think we had enough boys in the family to keep the [Beyoncé] name going. So, she gave Beyoncé our last name as the first name,” he said.
Her dance teacher discovered her singing ability
We’ve got a lot to thank Bey’s childhood dance teacher, Darlette Johnson, for. “I hummed a song and she finished it, and it blew me away,” Johnson told CNN in 2103. “And I told her to sing it again and she wouldn’t sing it again because she was very shy. And I promised her a dollar and she sang it again.” When her parents Tina and Mathew came to pick her up from the dance lesson that evening, Johnson told them, “She can sing! She can really sing!”
She won her first talent show at the age of 7
In 2004, Bey told Rolling Stone that the same dance teacher had encouraged her to take part in a school talent show aged seven. “I was terrified and I didn’t want to do it, and she’s like, ‘C’mon, baby, get out there,’” she recalled. “I remember walking out and I was scared, but when the music started, I don’t know what happened. I just… changed.” She received a standing ovation and won. “I was like, ‘Oh, Lord, this is amazing.’ So I knew I wanted to be a singer. I think I knew before that, but I’d never been on a stage before that.” After that, her father began taking her to more local talent shows, where she won 35 times in a row.
The number four has significant meaning in her life
Most people think of seven being particularly lucky, but not Bey. Four is the number for her. Not only does it mark her birthday (September 4) but it’s also Jay-Z’s birthday (December 4), as well as her mother Tina’s birthday (January 4). Her wedding anniversary, too, is April 4 (the fourth month of the year). Hence, she named her fourth studio album, 4. Eagle-eyed fans will already know that both her and Jay-Z have the Roman numeral, IV, tattooed on their ring fingers, and their daughter Blue Ivy’s middle name is thought to be a reference to it, too.
She nearly played the lead role in the A Star Is Born remake
We’ve all listened to the soundtrack a million times since it hit the big screen in 2018 – and Lady Gaga is accordingly lodged in our heads as Ally Maine. But it was Bey who was initially approached to play the lead in the remake of A Star Is Born. In 2012, before Gaga and Bradley Cooper got involved, the script was in the hands of well-known director Clint Eastwood. “For months we tried to coordinate our schedules to bring this remake to life but it was just not possible,” Bey confirmed in a statement to E!News in 2102.
She donated her Cadillac Records salary to an addiction centre
On the back of her portrayal of legendary blues and jazz singer Etta James – a gifted but troubled soul who was continuously in and out of rehab during the 1970s for heroin addiction – in the 2008 film, Cadillac Records, in 2010 Bey opened an eponymous cosmetology centre at Phoenix House, a rehab facility in Brooklyn. “Through their stories, I realized that all of us have our personal struggles and we all have something to overcome,” she said, after meeting women undergoing treatment while preparing for her role. Addiction, Bey continued, “has a stigma that must be removed. Addiction is a disease, and these beautiful women I met did not choose to become addicts, but they have chosen to get better.”
She’s equalled a record held by Mariah Carey
Alongside Mariah Carey, Bey is the only solo artist to have secured number one hits in four different decades: the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s and the 2020s. Even before she dropped Black Is King, she scored her first number one of 2020 with her collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion on their Savage remix.
She’s also inspired a record-breaking Twitter frenzy
In 2011, Bey sent Twitter into a tailspin when she revealed that she was pregnant during an explosive performance of ‘Love on Top’ at the MTV Video Music Awards. “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me,” she told the audience, before singing her heart out and then unbuttoning her sequin-strewn blazer to show off her baby bump. This joyous moment set the Guinness World Record for the most tweets per second for a single event: 8,868. The awards show also became the most-watched in MTV history.
She isn’t called Queen Bey for nothing
“I know it’s random, but I have two beehives. Real ones,” she told British Vogue in her December 2020 cover interview. “I’ve had them at my house for a while now. I have around 80,000 bees and we make hundreds of jars of honey a year. I started the beehives because my daughters, Blue and Rumi, both have terrible allergies, and honey has countless healing properties.”
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk