Queen Bey first appeared on the musical radar in 1996 with the girl group, Destiny’s Child, and since then she’s emerged as one of the best selling artists of all time. With over 170 million records sold as both a solo artist and a member of Destiny’s Child, she was recognised as the Top certified Artist of the 2000s by the RIAA. Alongside her music she’s managed to appear in numerous films (including the Oscar winning Dream Girls) become a fashion icon (she’s launching an active wear brand this August with Topshop) and been an ambassador for the 2012 World Humanitarian Day. Beyoncé has managed to use her status in the public eye for multiple philanthropic causes, such as founding the Survivor Foundation (which helped provide transitional housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina), and working with the Chime for Change campaign that spreads female empowerment. She’s not just a pop star; Beyoncé has realized that she can use the power she has to help promote charities and raise money for those who need it, something that many artists don’t feel the need to do.
Her work for empowering women is something I think is particularly inspirational. Her song ‘Flawless’ quotes words by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from a speech called “we should all be feminists”. If you only Google ‘Beyoncé – feminist,’ you’ll see hundreds of articles weighing up whether Beyoncé is or is not a feminist. But regardless of your personal opinion, it’s an incredible thing to have quotes such as “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes,” feature in a song which is played regularly on the radio.
Her most recent album, the self-titled Beyoncé was incredibly innovative. The album was a surprise release (and led to the phrase ‘doing a Beyoncé’ being coined), and featured a music video for every song. Musically it was groundbreaking, with unique genre blends and interesting song writing throughout. She could have just released an album full of catchy pop singles, but instead an album with far more substance was released, proving why Beyoncé is one of the most successful artists in the world.
Regardless of your personal opinion of her or her music, it’s hard to deny Beyoncé’s status as an absolute icon. She promotes female empowerment and puts her super stardom to good use, as well as creating radical, well-written music. Whether you like her or not, Beyoncé is an absolute inspiration to me.