Beyoncé: Fierce & Flawless. Bow Down.

-photo credit via usmagazine.com

Hello Black Chick Media followers! It’s Sam Joseph aka @fakesamjoseph here with my first post. Naturally, it would be about a woman I, as well as many others have admired for over 16 years: the one and only Beyoncé.  Its hard to believe in only 9 days she will be turning 33. That’s right 33. With a net worth estimated at over 450 million dollars, 75 million records sold as a solo artist worldwide (and an additional 60 million records sold as a member of Destiny’s Child), few entertainers over the years have achieved the level of success and instant name recognition that this remarkable woman has: TIME Magazines Most Influential Person of 2014, The Most Powerful Celebrity in the World of 2014 according to Forbes, 9 American Music Awards, 16 BET Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards (including the Billboard Millennium Award), 17 Grammy awards (amongst 46 nominations, thus making her one of the most nominated artists in history and the third most honored woman in Grammy history), and now 18 Video Music Awards including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which she received Sunday night in an emotionally charged acceptance speech which concluded with a loving embrace with husband Jay Z and two year old daughter Blue Ivy.

In a much hyped performance, Beyoncé sang a medley of her critically acclaimed, multi-platinum self-titled fifth album BEYONCÉ for an unforgettable 16 minutes that had many a celebrities up and out of their seats singing and dancing. Clad in nothing but a bejeweled Tom Ford bodysuit, (a custom made version of a bejeweled tunic sent down Ford’s Spring 2014 fashion show), booties, a microphone and her signature golden locks, she proved to us all once again why she is arguably the greatest entertainer alive.

2014 MTV Video Music Awards-photo credit via MTV

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles) was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas to Matthew Knowles and Celestine “Tina” Beyincé. (Beyoncé’s name is a tribute to her mother’s maiden name).

Beyoncé was educated at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when dance instructor Darlette Johnson began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Beyoncé’s interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show at age seven, singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” to beat 15 and 16-year-olds. In the fall of 1990, Beyoncé enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform in the school choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. Beyoncé was also a member of the choir at St. John’s United Methodist Church as a soloist for two years.

Aged eight, Beyoncé and childhood friend and cousin Kelly Rowland met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They were placed into a group with three other girls as Girl’s Tyme, and rapped and danced on numerous talent shows in Houston. After seeing the group, R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his Northern California studio and placed them in Star Search, the largest talent show on national TV at the time. Unfortunately Girl’s Tyme failed to win. (Beyoncé later said the song they performed wasn’t good.) The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, moving to Atlanta Records briefly to work on their first recording, only to be dropped by the company. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins’s Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, the girls began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, and shortly after, the group secured a contract with Columbia Records. The group changed their name to Destiny’s Child, based upon a passage in the Book of Isaiah in the Bible, and within a matter of years, the group churned out the recognizable international hits: “No, No, No”, “Bills, Bills, Bills”, “Say My Name”, “Jumpin’, Jumpin'”, “Independent Women Part 1” (Their longest running Billboard number one single clocking in at 11 consecutive weeks atop the chart), “Survivor”,  “Bootylicious”, “Lose My Breath”, “Cater 2 U” and “Soldier”.

It was after the success of Destiny’s Child that Beyoncé took her career even further, establishing herself as a high profile brand and solo artist. 2003’s Dangerously in Love debuted atop the Billboard 200 (and to date remains the entertainer’s top selling album with 11 million copies sold worldwide), and spawned the international hits “Crazy in Love” (featuring her then-boyfriend Jay Z), “Baby Boy”, “Me, Myself and I” and “Naughty Girl”. “Crazy in Love” was critically lauded and is currently listed at 118 on Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of the 500 Greatest songs of all time.

-photo credit via flickr.com

Before the release of her second studio album B’day (With the instantly recognizable hit “Irreplaceable”, which to date, remains her longest running solo number one with 10 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100), that was recorded in only three weeks and released to coincide with her 25th birthday, she starred in a Golden Globe-nominated leading role in Dreamgirls opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy playing a singer based on one of her major influences, Diana Ross.

On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé married Jay Z in secret and revealed their marriage to the press in a video montage at a listening party for her third solo effort I am…Sasha Fierce one month before its release on November 18, 2008. The album, her third consecutive number one solo album on the Billboard Hot 200, was comprised of the Billboard Hot 100 number one and feminist anthem “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”. This song was an instant hit because of its highly choreographed and iconic music video that featured her, and two backup dancers in nothing but black leotards and stiletto heels. The album also featured the top ten hits “If I Were A Boy”, “Halo”, and “Sweet Dreams” giving Beyoncé the record of having more top ten singles than any other woman during the 2000s. On January 20, 2009, Beyoncé was given the honor of performing a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” at President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s first inaugural dance.

After a short break from her career, during which she traveled the world, she headlined the 2011 Glastonbury Festival, becoming the first solo female artist in twenty years to do so. Her set list comprised of songs from her fourth studio album 4, including “Run the World (Girls)”, and “End of Time”. “Love on Top” the fourth and most successful single from the album was performed at the 2011 Video Music Awards and at the end of this performance, she revealed that she and Jay Z were expecting their first child by dropping the mic and opening up her blazer to show off her growing baby bump. Her appearance helped the 2011 Video Music Awards become the most watched broadcast in MTV’s entire history with 12.4 million viewers. Her child, named Blue Ivy Carter, was born on January 7, 2012. Only a year later, Beyoncé sang the American national anthem at President Obama’s second inauguration. The following month she performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show to critical acclaim. Later in the month she released her HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, which along with being directed and produced herself, revealed footage from her childhood, her roles as mother and a businesswoman, as well as recording music, rehearsing for live performances, and her return to the spotlight after her daughter’s birth. Later in the year she embarked on her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which went onto become not only her highest grossing tour but also the highest grossing female and solo tour of 2013 as well as one of the highest grossing world tours of all time.

It was the unexpected December release of her self titled fifth studio album that took the music and entertainment industry by storm with the lack of any prior promotion. The album debuted at number one and made Beyoncé the only woman to have her first five albums debut at number one. The single, “Drunk In Love” which features husband Jay Z, was a commercial success as well, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. After the conclusion of The Mrs. Carter Show, she and Jay Z embarked on their joint On the Run Tour, their first co-headlining stadium tour together.

Despite all of these accomplishments, it is the heart, passion, and humility Beyoncé possesses that sets her apart from her contemporaries and can be attributed to her success today. She reminds us all that we are all capable of great things if we put our hearts and souls into what we are doing. I will always be a fan of this amazing woman and look forward to the many albums, tours, and performances of hers to come.

photo credit via girlthatsmysong.com

 Keeping it ***Flawless as always (thanks to Bey)

thefakesamjoseph

“I Am A Woman Phenomenally…Phenomenal Woman, That’s Me.”

While I would like nothing more than to write a lengthy, most deserved and heartfelt post dedicated to this magnificent woman, I am afraid I cannot find words powerful enough, exceptional enough, vast enough…To hold or express all that she meant to me, and indeed to the Black (and world) community.

I am reminded of the time I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at my alma mater. It was in her later years, when she no longer commanded the stage by both voice and body (she was resigned to sitting in an armchair the entire time), but that did not stop her from subtly (yet, not so subtly…) demanding attention and changing the lives of every single person in that room.  From reciting Shakespearean Sonnets after a discussion on diversity in life, the arts, and being yourself no matter what, to speaking on the notion of inner & universal peace, the constant struggle for civil rights and liberties, the political state of the world, the power of the individual and the joy of learning and education, that evening, Dr. Maya Angelou taught us all what it meant to be human.

And it was then, hearing her in person for the first time that I truly understood who she was, and who I could be; that I had the power to change my life, be who I needed and wanted to be, and create a better world for and with the people around me.  Despite the fact I had read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at least five times, can recite Phenomenal Woman at the drop of a hat and am always electrified by the weight of the words in Still I Rise, over the years, Maya Angelou has taught me, and indeed, all of us, what it is to face adversity head-on with a machete in one hand and a rose in the other;  how to overcome my (our) fears and come out the other side a better person.  That no matter what trauma and violence and hatred we have witnessed against ourselves or any other human being, we must never be silent; we must rise.

We are losing our giants, and who will be honorable enough to rise and stand in their place? Today, on this great day of sorrow, we take a moment of silence to honor and salute you Maya Angelou.  Your legacy will inspire generations to come; you changed our lives in ways that simple words cannot express, and we are forever in your debt.

“The true definition of a  Warrior Queen. A very sad loss for all of Humanity.” -Anna Harwich

Yes, Anna, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Love

BCM

 

 

 

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

 

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