The 40 Best Beyoncé Moments In Honor Of Her 40th Birthday
Happy 40th Birthday Beyonce!
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter was born September 4th, 1981. In 40 years, she’s risen as the best living entertainer of our generation. Beyoncé is a powerful vocalist and dancer, often doing both at the same time for hours on her sold out world tours. In addition to being a savage on the stage, she is also a philanthropist, mother of three, and style icon.
To celebrate Beyoncé’s 40th Birthday, we are counting down our favorite Yoncé moments. Here are the top 40 moments of her career:
40. When Beyoncé Knew Damn Well What B7 was!
39. When Beyoncé went Afro-Beat
38. When Bey Was Gagged At The Grammys
37. BeyChella: When Beyoncé Put HBCU Football Game Culture Front & Center
In 2018 Beyoncé headlined Coachella and raised the bar really fucking high for whoever plays the annual desert festival next. Complete with a college marching band section, costume changes and iconic dance breaks, Beychella will go down in History as one of the most iconic performances of all time.
36. From One Icon To Another: Beyoncé interviews Aaliyah on The Red Carpet
Beyonce and late R&B star Aaliyah got a chance to kick it on the MTV VMA Red Carpet a month before Aaliyah’s tragic death. It was a meeting between two Queens, sans ego, complete with mutual adoration and #blackgirlmagic.
35. Drunk Beyoncé
Every girl who drinks has had at least one moment where they get a tad too turnt, and need assistance. Beyonce is no different, which is why we loved when the paparazzi released these pics of ‘Drunk Bey’ leaving a club and getting into the backseat with Jay-Z. I feel ya girl. It’s a little too easy to mix that light and brown liquor and get caught up in the moment, but it’s proof that even Beyonce is no match vs. too many drinks.
34. Bey’s Tribute To Stevie
In 2015, a Grammy sponsored all-star tribute to music legend Stevie Wonder aired on CBS. The event included performances from Ed Sheeran, Gary Clark Jr., Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and many more including Beyonce, who preformed a medley of “Fingertips/Master Blaster/Higher Ground”. Her cover of all three songs was one of the best of the night and instantly became a classic Beyonce performance. An audience full of music legends in their own right, knew from the opening note that Bey was gonna fuck up that stage and leave them edge-less.
33. Jay x Bey Mashup – Takeover x Ring The Alarm
Making beautiful music together is nothing new for Beyonce and Jay-Z. They’ve been doing it for years even before she went solo. Collaboration is bound to happen when two artists, who are the best in the game, happen to be married. But occasionally the genius they produce aren’t concepts that were originally intended to blend together, but do so beautifully. Jay-Z x Beyonce mashups are my favorite, because their respect for each other’s craft is widely known. You get a sense that they love them just as much as we do.
32. When Celine Was Shook
In 2002, Céline Dion taped a concert special at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. The evening featured lots of amazing performers, but no performance seemed to shake Celine’s core like her rendition with Destiny’s Child of The BeeGees and Samantha Sang’s”Emotions”. Check out 1:57 seconds in. The exact moment where Celine Dion the Queen recognizes the force that is Beyoncé.
31. National Anthem Redux
In a throwback to better days, January 2013 to be precise. Back when the nation chose for the second time to have Barack and Michelle back in the White House. The Obama’s handpicked Beyoncé to sing the National Anthem at Barack’s second inauguration. Dressed in a black Pucci dress, Christian Dior coat and Lorraine Schwartz emeralds Beyoncé took to the podium and bodied The Star Spangled Banner. But of course, the haters will say it’s photoshopped. Many of her critics claimed that Beyoncé lip synced her way through it. What these people neglected to take into consideration is the fact that it was considerably cold 1.) and 2.) her vocal track still had impeccable range. But like a boss bitch does, Yoncé set out to shut these bitches down, in living color, at the 2013 Super Bowl press conference a month later by singing it live.
30. Beyonce’s Side Ponytail
A lot of us are simply incapable of doing many of the things Bey can do. The ability to rock a side ponytail, and make it look fierce is on that long list. In 2015 Beyoncé rocked the hairstyle at three consecutive events, and no one could even be mad at it.
29. High Lights
It had long been rumored that Beyoncé occasionally lights up the dro. I mean, she hangs out with Bun B and Solange. Of course Beyoncé has been high. There are a couple instances on camera where people have claimed Bey is blazed. We’ll never know for sure but they are cute and introspective regardless.
28. Met Gala Lewks
The Costume Institiute Gala, also known as the Met Gala is an annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. Every year, celebrities and notable figures in fashion wear avant-garde designs that correlate with the theme of the evening. Every single year, without fail, Beyoncé shows up and and shows out; eclipsing every other outfit of the night.
27. No Place Like Home
Bey ain’t new to this! She’s been singing and dancing professionally since the age of 16 when her and three friends formed Destiny’s Child. Prior to that the girls worked the stage under the name Girl’s Tyme. Prior to that, as an itty bitty thing, Beyoncé won a talent competition at 7 years old singing the song “Home” from the musical The Wiz.
26. Glastonbury Fest 2011
I have always been a full fledged, card carrying member of The Beyhive since she dropped her debut in 2003. HOWEVER, it wasn’t until I watched this full length video of Beyoncé performing live at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 that I realized I was watching a goddamn superhero. Beyoncé snapped! She performed every song like she thought she’d never see a stage again. In front of a crowd of 175,000, Beyoncé performed her biggest hits and covered King’s of Leon’s Sex On Fire, The Beautiful Ones by Prince, Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, and Alanis Morrisette’s You Oughta Know. Oh, did I mention that at the time of this show she was three months pregnant with her first child, Blue. Your fave could never!
25. Bey’s Tribute To Tina
In a long list of notable Beyoncé performances at the Grammy Awards, my favorite of all has to be the time in 2008 that Bey took the stage with another living Legend, Tina Turner, to perform her hit Proud Mary and they both shut it down. Tina at the time was 69 years old and turned it out with the same intensity of Bey who at age 26 was forty-three years her junior! In this clip, The two share obvious adoration of one another, and it warms my heart to imagine where Beyoncé will be in her career in her 60’s.
24. Who Runs The World? Billboard Music Awards 2011
Beyonce’s preformance of Who Run The World (Girls) at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards is commonly cited as a highlight in her career. Among a crowd of industry vets, Beyoncé preformed a show stopping routine complete with tour de force vocals, all out dancing, and the greatest PowerPoint presentation of all time!!
23. “The Bangs”
Oh, The infamous Beyoncé bangs! Back in 2015 Beyoncé, a master of transformative looks, opted for short bangs a la Bettie Page. Short Bangs are the triple axel of hairstyles. You shouldn’t try it unless you are absolutely sure you can land it. And she did, beautifully. The problem occurred when after a few days, the high maintenance cut started to look like hot garbage. Social media went crazy. It was a very unusual thing to see Beyoncé look unflattering, but it happens to all of us! I don’t need to re-post any evidence of the horrific fringe. You can certainly Google it if you’re that curious.
I want this to be a tribute to the Beyoncé Bangs the way they wish to be remembered. At one moment in time stylish, and fresher than you.
22. Bey x Nicki Dance Off
In 2015, Jay-Z got a group of famous friends and up and coming artists to perform a concert for his music streaming site Tidal at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. If you’re anything like me, you subscribe to Tidal in case a Beyoncé exclusive drops, and moments like a Tidal concert where there’s a 90% chance she will perform. She performed a handful of her own songs of her Self-Titled album, but the biggest moment of the night is when Bey and Nicki Minaj took the stage to perform their collab, Feelin’ Myself for the first time live.
21. MTV VMA 2014 Medley
Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday…
Waking up one beautiful December morning only to find out that Beyoncé released a full length album and shot a music video for each song. The self-titled album is my favorite. It’s the introduction of ‘I Can Do Whatever I Want’ grown woman Bey. The woman who has drunk sex with her husband on the kitchen floor, and also wonders if all the shit she does is boring. It was the album of the year and the MTV VMA’s knew what they had on their hands. With Beyoncé set to receive the MTV Video Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement, right after the release of her landmark album, the network figured ‘Why not let her perform the whole damn record’. And that she did. A medley of every song complete with full choreography from each video. How could she top it!? Just wait a couple years and you’ll see…
20. SuperBowl 2016
Sometimes I feel so blessed to have lived long enough to see Lemonade era Beyoncé. When Beyoncé was announced to co-headline Superbowl 2016, no one knew what she had in store come April. But in January, Beyoncé fans knew that whatever she was bringing to the table was going to be epic. Just one day before she was set to hit the field, Bey released the Formation video and snatched everyone’s edges. We know had Black Power Yoncé! Was she going into America’s pastime with Black fists blazing in front of millions of viewers? You MF right!
19. Bow Down Intro – Rumors
For some reason (unbeknownst to me) there are people in the world who are not only unimpressed with Bey’s talents, but they actually hate her and hate on her. They claim she’s overrated and self-consumed despite the fact that her impact, sales, global reach, and overall excellence proves otherwise. In typical Beyoncé fashion, Bey found a way to turn that hate into art. While touring the self-titled album, Bey gathered every rumor that had ever been uttered about her and added it to the intro of ‘Bow Down’. A message. A WORD.
18. Why Don’t You Love Me Video
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has some of the best b-sides of any artist in the industry. So good that I forget they’re deep cuts. ‘Black Culture’, ‘Video Phone(Remix), even ‘7/11’ was a single left off the self-titled album. Perhaps the best example of a b-side that quickly became a Beyoncé standard is ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’, which was actually written by Solange. The video features Yoncé as her 50’s alter ego B.B Homemaker. There’s nothing not to love about the aesthetic of this video.
17. When Beyoncé Was Etta
In 2008, in between the ‘I Am…Sasha Fierce’ album and ‘4’ Beyoncé played Etta James in a biopic about Chess Records. The role of Etta was not an easy one. James infamously struggled with drugs, alcohol, and jealousy. Etta James also had the voice of an angel and a unique style no one else in that era could claim. Cadillac Records wasn’t a bad movie and Beyoncé did a pretty good job playing Etta. The soundtrack however deserves a whole ‘nother level of praise. I need Beyoncé to do a whole album of just jazz standards and I need it now!
World Stop: Lemonade’s HBO Release
I traveled to Tokyo, Japan in April 2016. It was my first time out of the United States and I was so excited. I had recently gotten engaged, so many firsts were happening in my life that in general it just felt like a giant transformation period. Not to mention, Beyoncé was releasing snippets of herself leaned up against a car sporting cornrows. The clips were about 10 seconds long and at the end it just said “Lemonade” HBO.
Huh? I knew it meant she was releasing new music. I figured she was releasing a new song called ‘Lemonade’ and that the video was going to be some Michael Jackson-esque world premier on HBO. It was also being released right as I came back from my trip so I didn’t have to worry about being HBO-less in Asia.
So many things happened to me during that trip. I had to navigate a city as big as NYC without knowing how to read or speak the language. I tried new foods, made a few friends, and unfortunately one night at 2am at a bar I learned from another traveler from Germany that Prince had died. He found out the news on his smartphone. All six people in the bar from different countries all over the world, experienced the same sense of shock. First David Bowie in January, and now Prince!? It felt like a loss at a time when I was gaining so much.
I got back from my trip on a Sunday night. Anyone who lives in NYC knows that a late night subway ride from JFK to Harlem is torture. Especially after an international flight, but I knew Beyoncé had a music video dropping that night and it was going to be my first order of business when I walked through my front door. As soon as I walked in I put down my bags, packed a bowl, closed my door to avoid interruptions and turned on the video. It took a cool 10 minutes for me to realize that this wasn’t a video but a whole fucking visual album. She did it again! Each video snatched another follicle from my head. My man had to come in and check on me. I was screaming so loud. She was angry, vulnerable, in love and in loss. Lemonade was a true gift and a highlight of 2016. The true AOTY.
15. Country Time Lemonade
One of my favorite tracks from Lemonade is ‘Daddy Lessons’ an authentic country song through and through. Anyone who argues that it’s not real country music is racist. This is only up for a debate because she’s Black.
Written by songwriter Winter Gordon, ‘Daddy Lessons’ has all the makings of a country song. It tells a visual story, evokes the second amendment, and she fucking yells ‘hee-haww’ in it! What more do you want?
When the Academy of Country Music Awards came around, it was announced that not only would Beyoncé be performing ‘Daddy Lessons’, but that she’d be performing it with country music’s biggest black sheep, The Dixie Chicks. The Wytes were mad. First she ruined the SuperBowl with her afro’s and brown thighs, now the AMA’s!?
What came next was a legendary performance that broke barriers and made country music history. No one else on that stage had managed to upset the MAGA demographic quite like Bey.
14. SuperBowl 2013
Let’s take it back to Superbowl in 2013. Two iconic superstars hit the field that night; Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and Beyoncé. In this legendary performance Beyoncé, clad in leather and lace, aggressively ran through all her hits and brought out Kelly and Michelle for a mini Destiny’s Child reunion. Beyoncé’s halftime show was so electric that it literally caused a power outage in the stadium. The game had to be paused for 34 minutes until generators could turn the electricity back on. It was the second most-watched halftime show in history with 104 million viewers.
Where were you when you found out Beyoncé was pregnant with twins?
I was at work when I got an Instagram notification. Yes, I know. Crazy! I used to get notifications when Beyoncé posted pics to Instagram. But this was back in early 2017, when her posts were so infrequent. You were lucky to get a behind the scenes look at a concert or award show here and there. But seeing official Beyoncé pics still made my day either way.
On February 1st, 2017 I unlocked my iPhone to see Queen Bey with a gigantic baby bump and surprising news. Not only was she pregnant, but she was carrying twins! Her Instagram announcement, photographed and art directed by the talented Awol Erizku, is a floral celebration of womanhood and fertility. It was also the most liked photo on Instagram in 2017.
12. Oh Baby!
We can’t talk Beyoncé pregnancies without mentioning her big annuncement that she was pregnant with Blue, which she revealed on live television at the VMA’s, after absolutely slaying ‘Love on Top’. It was so heartwarming for many reasons. One, because you knew that out of the million things that woman had accomplished, this was probably her proudest moment. And two, I’ve never seen Jay-Z look happier.
11. Instagram Game-Changer
Fuck, have I been using Instagram wrong this whole time!? I mean what Beyoncé is doing with her whole Instagram layout and photo editing scheme is changing how I even look at the app. And she is dead set on becoming a fashion icon by mixing banshee and high end looks. And in case you forgot, she just had twins! Bey is wearing her new titties like they’re just another addition to her accessories collection and I love it!
10. Can’t knock The Hustle Live ft. Beyoncé
Behind every great woman is… a great work ethic and unmatched resiliency!
Sometimes there’s a great man. Now I don’t know Jay-Z personally but Beyoncé seems to love him through thick and thin so I guess he’s aight. One of my favorite Jay-Z moment comes courtesy of a Bey vocal feature. I don’t even know when this was recorded or for what event, but it had to be special because Jay performed ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ in a white suit with a live band. Bey kills MJB’s legendary hook and it’s another one of my favorite BeyxHov collabs.
9. Pregnancy Lewks
In 2017 Beyoncé wrote every damn chapter in the book of Maternity fashion. Since she kept her 1st pregnancy pretty much under wraps, Bey made sure to show out this time around. Every appearance she made slayed her previous trimester’s looks. She even had some mom’s hating online because “she’s not representing real moms”. Huh? She’s only trying to tell you that when it’s time to stunt, put down the sweatpants and STEP YOUR MATERNITY LOOK GAME UP! Almost everything Beyoncé wore while pregnant is easily something a mother could re-create for the low. Ah Beyoncé, a knocked up fashion plate for the ages.
8. VideoPhone x Telephone
Throughout her career, Beyoncé has collaborated with a number of musicians from all genres. My favorite, which spawned two singles and two epic music videos is the one between Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. ‘Videophone’ is the better of the two songs, but ‘Telephone’ wins hands down for best BeyxGaga video. Both songs were a treat for the #Beyhive and #Littlemonsters teams alike.
7. Nasty Bey: The Self Titled Album
In Beyoncé moment #21, I talked about the impact that the self-titled Beyoncé album had on me and pop-culture. I want to talk about the actual album itself. Released on December 13th, 2013, BEYONCÉ was released accompanied by 14 music videos for each track. The self-titled album marked a departure from Bey’s usual sound and lyrics. This was the first album where Beyoncé willingly and openly talked shit, exposed herself as a feminist, graphically rapped about having sex with her husband, and expressed her frequent feelings of not being enough. It felt like Beyoncé stepping away from the Sasha Fierce persona and being one of us for a minute. A woman tired and full of love and frustrations. Passion and insecurity. But most important, a mainstream musician who doesn’t need to do promotions and appearances to plug an album. When something is a piece of art, you release it unto the world and let observers decide what it means to them. Only after you have decided what your art means to you.
6. She Was Here
I’m a sucker for nostalgia and self-reflection. Life gives us many gifts and each day is a blessing. I’m also grateful that I live in a day and age where Beyoncé is still thriving and making pop culture moments for the masses. But Beyoncé is at her best when she’s introspective and inspirational. The video for ‘I Was Here’ is a FOMO inducing, behind the scenes look back at her life and career and all the beautiful moments they produced.
5. The Show Must Go On
Beyoncé. A true fucking professional.
I’ve seen Murphy’s law truly try its best to try and bring down the Queen. Yet no matter what type of slips, falls, or off-beat Destiny’s Child member comes her way, Bey manages to keep on going. Like the time Beyoncé got her hair stuck in an industrial sized fan while singing ‘Halo’ and didn’t miss a note.
4. GoPro Music Video
Nearly a year after Beyoncé released self-titled, she released another gem. The D.I.Y GoPro shot music video for 7/11 is one of the best low-budget videos I’ve ever seen and one of the rare times we got to see Bey, a Virgo, not take herself too seriously. Forget the fact that the song doesn’t really make much sense. It was a 2014 holiday gift to us, plus most trap songs aren’t that deep. It’s about a vibe, and it’s a tribute to any girl who’s ever twerked with friends in a bathroom while getting ready. Tear* She really gets us guys!
3. Bow Down Bitches – Making of Bow Down
‘Bow Down’ was release in 2013 as a stand-alone single before it became the intro to ‘Flawless’ that we all know and love. She received a lot of pushback for it from people I didn’t even expect. Black women, mostly older, came out of nowhere to dissect the song and come down on how anti-feminist they felt it was. Yes, she’s telling bitches to bow down, but who hasn’t felt that way in one point in their life. Life can be filled with haters, and people trying to steer you away from your dreams. Ideally we could all be Michelle Obama, and go high when they go low. But it’s okay to be angry. You’re human after all! And to be quite honest, sometimes you’re killing it so hard that a bitch needs to bow down and acknowledge it. And that’s okay too.
Skip to 4:24 seconds in to hear the Queen explain it for herself
2. Queen of Halloween
Halloween is my favorite holiday. It always has been. No pressure to buy gifts. If you can’t think of a costume, then you can just put on ears and spectate. There’s really no downside to it! I take my Halloween costumes super seriously. I actually met my husband at a Halloween party where I was dressed like a 90’s school picture.
See! Despite it’s reputation for wickedness, Halloween can be quite lovely and getting dressed up is a tradition I look forward to every year. Another tradition I look forward to in recent years is finding out what Beyoncé is going as for Halloween. Like her studio albums, and live shows, each Halloween Beyoncé is on a mission to one up her last look and she has yet to disappoint.
1. Dance Dance Revolution: Yonce’s Best Dance Breakdowns
Alas, the Beyoncé moment that never fails to snatch my wig. Bey dance breakdowns. Because sometimes all that live singing just gets in the way of straight fuckin’ the stage up.
I’ve seen Beyoncé come a long way from being a pretty decent dancer in Destiny’s Child to being a dance icon. For me, the ‘Deja Vu’ video was where I first took notice of Beyoncé’s skills as a dancer. ‘Single Ladies’ only further proved that Beyoncé was coming for our scalps with no mercy. However, to me, her dance breaks during live shows is the thing that makes her notches above all of her contemporaries. You can debate the fact that there are better vocalist in the game than Beyoncé. I’d be quick to point out the fact that you’re wrong of course, but there is no one alive right now who can out perform Beyoncé choreography and dance skill while singing. In my humble opinion, BEYONCÉ IS THE GREATEST LIVING ENTERTAINER OF OUR TIME.