After more than two decades in the spotlight, Beyoncé has become much more than a pop icon, but Queen Bey shed light on the obstacles she faced to get to her current level of success before adding that she feels she’s only “scratched the surface.”
“My teenage years were about the grind,” she recalled during the interview, citing a scripture passage — “Faith without work is dead” — that motivated her. “Vision and intention weren’t enough; I had to put in the work, I committed to always being a student and always being open to growth. My energy went into Destiny’s Child and the dream of us getting a record deal and becoming musicians. If something wasn’t helping me reach my goal, I decided to invest no time in it.”
While she realized that her goals demanded total focus, Beyoncé also shed light on the additional pressure she felt to “succeed as a Black woman” in music; resulting in her oftentimes feeling alienated to ensure she reached the highest level of success.
“I didn’t feel like I had time to ‘kiki’ or hang out. I sacrificed a lot of things and ran from any possible distraction,” Beyonce said. “I felt as a young Black woman that I couldn’t mess up. I felt the pressure from the outside and their eyes watching for me to trip or fail.”
Not one to quit, Bey noted that her desire to “not let her family down” also played a huge part in her learning everything she needed to know in addition to providing the discipline she needed to avoid the pitfalls that seem to happen to young stars.
“I couldn’t let my family down after all the sacrifices they made for me and the girls,” Bey added. “That meant I was the most careful, professional teenager and I grew up fast. I wanted to break all of the stereotypes of the Black superstar, whether falling victim to drugs or alcohol or the absurd misconception that Black women were angry. I knew I was given this amazing opportunity and felt like I had one shot. I refused to mess it up, but I had to give up a lot.”
Although the road came with a lot of criticism, the Black is King star and director channeled the critiques into some of her biggest songs, including “Bootylicious”, which was written after she felt insecure about gaining weight at 19-years old.
“I remember when I started hearing people criticize me after I had put on some weight. I was 19. None of the sample clothes fit me,” Beyoncé continued. “I was feeling a bit insecure from hearing some of the comments, and I woke up one day and refused to feel sorry for myself, so I wrote ‘Bootylicious. It was the beginning of me using whatever life handed me and turning it into something empowering to other women and men who were struggling with the same thing.”
In addition to talking about her come-up, Queen Bey also shared with fans why she’s ultra-private on social media, noting that opinions of the untrained play a huge part in her decision to set “boundaries” regarding what she chooses to expose to the public.
“We live in a world with few boundaries and a lot of access,” Beyoncé told Harper’s Bazaar. “There are so many internet therapists, comment critics, and experts with no expertise. Our reality can be warped because it’s based on a personalized algorithm. It shows us whatever truths we are searching for, and that’s dangerous. We can create our own false reality when we’re not fed a balance of what’s truly going on in the world. It’s easy to forget that there’s still so much to discover outside of our phones. I’m grateful I have the ability to choose what I want to share.”
Check out a few images from the cover story below, for the full interview click here.