Artist // Instagram
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
It's not really necessary to pick one day to celebrate Beyoncé, but let's pick September 4th since that was the actual day she was born. Today, King Bey turns 37, and considering she's been in the spotlight since she was a tween, she has years of gems to bestow upon us. We learn something new from Beyoncé every single day. Whether it's on Instagram, in the news, or even live on stage, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter teaches us daily. Professor Bey. Class is in session. Forever.
There are levels to the learning, too. For years, we've watched as Beyoncé evolved from an amazing singer to a global powerhouse, all while maintaining some semblance of a personal life. These are things we all strive for in our tiny lives, and while we may not amass the success that Beyoncé has achieved, we can apply her work ethic and life lessons into our own practices. Everyone needs a role model, and at 37 years old, Beyoncé has shown us that she's the most idyllic one to have.
So in honor of her birthday, here are seven lessons Beyoncé has taught us. Happy Birthday to a living legend.
1. Power couples are made and not born.
You know those annoying couples who call themselves a "power couple" just because they both have jobs? They're the worst people on Earth and should learn that Bey teaches us their mediocrity is not to be honored. JAY-Z and Beyoncé (or "Jayoncé," if you will) have come a looooong way. Like really long. Jay used to only wear sports jerseys. Remember that era? Now he's in suits that cost more than a studio apartment in Manhattan. As for Bey, she is a walking empire as well, but she used to wear matching outfits with Kelly and Michelle. So as you can see, this iconic duo had to work to get to where they are today as the ultimate power couple next to Barack and Michelle Obama.
2. Forgiveness brings new beginnings.
We can't not go there, right? With Lemonade, 4:44, and Everything is Love being so transparent, we're basically given a license to discuss the infidelity and near-fall of the Carter Empire as we know it. Many couples would have joined a reality series once the turmoil began and taken that shit right to the streets so everyone could bear witness to the spiraling. Not Bey and Jay. They put in the work and, yeah, "Elevator-Gate" could have theoretically been a scene on Love & Hip Hop, but that was the last of the messiness. The rest became art.
3. Hip-Hop is not for the faint of heart.
Beyoncé loyalists and Bey Hive representatives can break out PowerPoint presentations to show Bey's evolution into hip-hop, but let's say it started on "7/11" just for argument's sake, as that was a clear change from the musical patterns we've come to know and love. That song was more trap than trap music, and set the stage for what has now become Beyoncé's most successful side hustle: rapping. Listen to "APE$HIT." Now listen to it again. If you're an aspiring rapper, and you don't sound as good as Beyoncé then maybe sit this one out. See, Bey could have sucked at rapping because she's so iconic and people would have been fine. Instead, she mastered the craft and made all the rappers cry. Take note, kids.
4. It's ok not to be ok.
Critics of Beyoncé will argue that her desire for privacy has made her robotic at times and inaccessible. However, over the years and with age, came the wisdom of Beyoncé to reveal parts of her vulnerability. She admits to depression—especially when Destiny's Child split their original lineup—and showed the cracks in her marriage, along with her pregnancy struggles. Yes, it took awhile for her to bare her soul to us, but now that she has, we know that even when you have everything together, you can feel like you're falling apart. And that's ok.
5. Giving back does not require a parade.
Beyoncé alone is worth $355 million. With JAY-Z by her side the two are collectively worth over a billion dollars. That's not only life-changing money; that's world-changing money. Both Beyoncé and JAY-Z give quite a bit back, and it takes a lot to even find out about it. From organizations like #BeyGOOD to Chime For Change, Formation Scholars, and the Survivor Foundation (among other initiatives), Beyoncé shows gratitude for her success by constantly helping others. For crying out loud, she and Jay gave $100,000 college scholarships out at their OTR2 Tour. That's probably the most public charity they've ever shown. The rest is done in private, as it should be, because doing good is for the heart and not the cameras.
6. It's possible to become even more fabulous with age.
While it may feel unnatural to discuss Beyoncé aging at all (because she's so timeless), she is in fact getting older like the rest of us. But with that age, comes a constant upward mobility in the fabulous department. This is due in part to her reinventions and always switching up her styles so no one becomes too comfortable with her aesthetic. Earlier on as previously mentioned, Bey was dressing like her groupmates. Despite having a dynamic voice, she lacked an aesthetic identity. That struggle carried into her early solo years, but then she turned a corner. A little bit of Sasha Fierce and a lot of gumption brought her here today. Now we have an artist who can show up in either designer sweats or a Met Gala gown and still be changing the game.
7. Haters gonna hate.
Blah blah blah Illuminati blah blah blah Satan worshipping blah blah blah overhyped. At this point in time, if you're against Beyoncé, you really need to look within. She's been nothing but nice to you. Seriously. When is Beyoncé ever mean? But this is where the lesson applies. Haters will definitely hate and find new and unimproved reasons to attack another person's success story. What we learn from Beyoncé is that we move forward regardless, with class and poise. No Twitter rants, no public outbursts. Just moving forward. It's worked out pretty well for her, wouldn't you say?
More by Kathy Iandoli: