Happy Birthday, Beyoncé! The Diva's Most Memorable Moments in the Spotlight

Happy Birthday, Beyoncé! The Diva's Most Memorable Moments in the Spotlight

One of the most honored solo female artists of all time, a member of hit female vocal group Destiny's Child, an actress, the wife of a music mogul, and a new mom... What's left for Beyonce to achieve? It seems there's no end to the various pinnacles this diva has reached over the past 15 years. Even more of a feat, her successes have come with relatively no scandals attached. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter seems the women who has it all. Today, on her 31st birthday, we celebrate her most memorable moments in the spotlight.

12. Originally dubbed Girl's Tyme, Destiny's Child suffered several setbacks early on: Failing to place in the nationally syndicated TV show

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, cut from the roster of their first record label soon after their signing, and a lawsuit involving two of its members. Nevertheless, after rebranding themselves -- taking the name from a passage in the Old Testament -- and changing labels to Columbia Records, they quickly gained their footing. garnering Grammys, topping the charts, and becoming the top girl group of the past twenty years.

11. When the group split up in 2001, Beyonce wasted no time in establishing herself as a solo act. Her first album, Dangerously In Love, debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and sold over eleven million copies worldwide. The first single off the album, "Crazy In Love," spent eight consecutive weeks at number one as well. The album eventually spawned four consecutive top five hits and garnered her a record-tying five Grammy awards as well. Since, she's become the best-selling artist of the past decade with no less than 75 million records sold worldwide. In 2008, Forbes magazine placed her at number four on its list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World and first among the Top Best Paid Celebs Under 30.

10. Beyonce's film career has been almost as amazing. Her first role was Foxxy Cleopatra  opposite the wacky Mike Myers as Austin Powers in Goldmember. In 2003, she appeared with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the romantic comedy The Fighting Temptations. Three years later, she acted alongside Steve Martin in the remake of The Pink Panther. However, she really came into her own when she broke out of comedy to star in Dreamgirls, a film which brought her two Golden Globe nods for Best Actress and Best Original Song. Still, the role that stands out above all is her vivid portrayal of the damaged R&B singer Etta James in the historical drama Cadillac Records. Last year it was announced that she will star in another remake, that of the classic A Star Is Born, directed by none other than that great Republican show-stealer and oddball, Clint Eastwood.

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9. Beyonce managed to transcend her portrayal of Etta James by bringing the diva's signature song "At Last" to one of the inauguration events for the newly elected Barack Obama. She performed the song to accompany the Obamas in their first dance as President and First Lady.

8. A performer who prays before each performance and claims to be a basically shy person has to assume an entirely new persona once she hits the stage. Beyonce solved that dilemma by inventing an alter ego named Sasha Fierce, a sassy, sexy character who allowed her the freedom to unleash her inner vixen. It even inspired another best-selling album, I Am... Sasha Fierce. Eventually she killed off her creation, telling Allure magazine she was comfortable enough to let loose on her own.


7. While Beyonce's intricate choreography has created something of an internet sensation, she insists that the origins were strictly old school. She cites a 1969 Bob Fosse dance routine performed by Gwen Verdon on the Ed Sullivan Show as inspiration for the video filmed for her hit "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)." The reference served her well; it received nine nominations at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and was even referenced by President Obama himself.

6. Beyonce's only brush with controversy came when it was discovered that she, Usher, Mariah Carey, and Nelly Furtado had agreed to accept a million dollar fee for performing at an intimate family gathering for the late Libyan despot and nut case Moammar Gadhafi. Wisely, she opted to donate her share of the proceedings to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

5. Here's a switch -- a marriage between a rapper and a singer that has yet to self-destruct!
Beyonce and Jay-Z began dating in 2002, but generally kept their relationship under wraps for most of the decade. The two were wed on April 4, 2008, but Beyonce didn't debut her ring until the Fashion Rocks concert the following September. Two years before, Time magazine cited them among the power couples of the year in their annual 100 Most Influential People issue.

4. In August 2008, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Beyonce announced she was preggers with the couple's first child, rubbing her belly for emphasis. The news led to a record for the most tweets per second for a single event. (Who knew that anyone was counting??) It not only increased her record sales but also garnered the most Google searches of all time between August 29, 2011 and September 4, 2011. (Again... Who keeps track of these things?) The baby -- named Blue Ivy Carter -- was born this past January and even earned a distinction of her own when daddy released a song called "Glory" and dedicated it to his new daughter. Yes, that's Blue crying at the end of the song. At two days old, she became the youngest person to ever appear on a Billboard chart hit. Not to be outdone, Forbes gave Beyonce another citation as well, placing her at number 14 on their list of the World's 20 Most Powerful Moms.


3. Always one to put both family and fashion first, Beyonce partnered with her mother to introduce a line of ready-to-wear women's designs called House of Dereon, Dereon being the last name of her maternal grandmother who worked as a seamstress. The year it was founded, 2005, she also teamed up with a shoe company called House of Brands to expand House of Dereon into the footware realm. Then, three years later, the company launched an offshoot for junior apparel that she named after her spunky alter-ego, Sasha Fierce.

2. Beyonce and "bootylicious" have become synonymous. The term derived from a Destiny's Child single of the same name was later used to describe her well-dressed and well-curved figure. The word now appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. Can you say, "Hoo-ya?"

1. When Beyonce made her comeback after the birth of her baby, she first performed four nights at the Revel Atlantic City's Ovation Hall. Among the attendees were First Lady Michelle Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Both gave her stirling reviews, a rare case of bipartisan accord.

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