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The Queen herself turns 38 today: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, the most popular musician of the 21st century, remains as fresh as ever despite turning a year older. Bey has been an unstoppable force in culture ever since she first rose to fame as a member of Destiny’s Child, and once she went solo in the early 2000s, it was all but inevitable that she’d go on to become arguably the single biggest name in pop culture. To celebrate another year of Beyoncé, here are some especially memorable Beyoncé moments from over the years.
1. HΘMΣCΘMING: A Film by Beyoncé
Talking about Beyoncé in 2019 is impossible without discussing HΘMΣCΘMING, a film that’s at once a two-hour-plus event and an undeniable Beyoncé moment. The documentary captures not just her universally acclaimed, meticulously choreographed Coachella 2018 set, but the intense labor involved in rehearsing, producing, and performing it.
Throughout the film, Beyoncé is at her peak, whether in the form of singing and dancing to a rapturous crowd or intimately revealing the post-pregnancy battles that almost stopped her Coachella set from happening. It’s as all-encompassing a Beyoncé moment as there’s ever been, and not once does it get boring.
2. Her 2018 Grammys look
It’s one thing to bring your daughter, who may well be the world’s most famous seven-year-old, to a major awards ceremony. It’s another to arrive at this ceremony with both your daughter and an unforgettable outfit. At the 2018 Grammys, Bey donned a hat that could probably be seen from miles away, which she matched with gigantic, raindrop-shaped earrings, slender, chic sunglasses, and a flowing black dress with exposed shoulders and side legs. It didn’t matter that Bey was only nominated for one award – she won the night.
3. Her 2016 Super Bowl performance
When Beyoncé released what’s likely her best song to date, “Formation,” the night before her 2016 Super Bowl set, she set the stage for a performance that would be among the event’s most political to date. Her performance included Black Panther iconography and an emphasis on her fellow black women, an explicitly political move that drew praise from everyone but conservative commentators. It also foreshadowed the boldness of Lemonade, the legendary visual album she surprise-released nearly three months later.
4. Her 2003 VMAs entrance
This one’s a throwback to before Bey was fully at the center of pop culture. Long before Ariana Grande released two albums with upside-down covers, Queen Bey entered the 2003 VMAs suspended from the ceiling, totally upside down. She then launched into a medley of her two biggest hits at the time, “Baby Boy” and “Crazy in Love,” both of which (but especially the latter) remain stone-cold classics.
5. Her current birthday celebrations
Every year, Beyoncé’s husband JAY-Z, a major celebrity in his own right, presents the Made in America showcase in the northwest pocket of Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood. This year, performers included none other than Lizzo, an artist who’s dominated 2019 the way Beyoncé has dominated every year she’s released a solo studio album this decade. And Bey was here for it: For her birthday, she could be seen absolutely jamming out side-stage during Lizzo’s set, and Lizzo showed the love right back. Bey also enjoyed a giant birthday cake backstage at the festival.
What are your favorite Beyoncé moments? Share them in the comments!