1. “Independent Women” (2000). Destiny’s Child’s biggest single stays No. 1 for 11 consecutive weeks. Sure, they were bootylicious but this bestselling female trio struck a blow for feminism with this empowering pop anthem.
2. “Crazy in Love” (2003). This hit from Beyoncé’s debut solo album becomes a blockbuster, topping 8 million sales worldwide. Her solo career exploded with the album, leading to five Grammys. But it was her assertiveness, Jay Z’s guest rap and that catchy horn line that made the world crazy for this song.
3. “Dreamgirls” (2006). Beyoncé stars in the movie version of this Broadway musical but Jennifer Hudson wins the Oscar for her role in the film. Playing the lead singer of the Dreamgirls trio, Beyoncé affirms herself as the Diana Ross for this century — a supreme singer who can carry a movie, too.
4. Sasha Fierce (2008). Beyoncé introduces her bad-ass alter ego Sasha Fierce and collects six Grammys on the strength of such hits as “Single Ladies” and “Halo.” It’s Bey’s new version of feminism: Don’t mess with Ms. Fierce, who is traditional enough to demand a ring before she’ll mess around with a man.
5. Taking control (2010). Beyoncé fires her father as manager and takes over management of her own career. Janet Jackson talked about control, and Bey took control. Fierce, yes. Independent woman, indeed.
6. Opening the Grammy Awards (2011). After taking nearly a year off, Beyoncé teams up for a riveting medley with Prince, who didn’t have any new music, either, but as a performer he’d never gone out of style. The Queen and Prince made for a most royal performance.
7. “Beyoncé,” the unadvertised album (2013). She drops the self-titled album on iTunes without any advance notice or hype. She became the first superstar to execute the surprise drop, and others followed suit, including U2, Drake, Prince and D’Angelo.
8. On the Run Tour (2014). She co-headlines her first stadium tour with husband Jay Z, their best collaboration since the birth of daughter Blue Ivy. You can have Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake. Bey and Hova are showbiz’s most potent — and richest — power couple, as this money-grabbing stadium tour proved.
9. Super Bowl halftime show (February 2016). She used this massive forum to manifest her support for Black Lives Matter, with not just words but a visual show of force.
10. A “Lemonade” drop (April 2016). She delivers “Lemonade” without any advance notice – an hourlong film on HBO and an album on Tidal. Not even Prince’s shocking death two days earlier could derail Queen Bey’s new project. Prince may have sold a staggering 4.4 million albums combined that week, but “Lemonade” was the bittersweet victor, landing at No. 1 with 485,000 copies sold. Beyoncé became the first artist in history to have six consecutive studio albums debut at No. 1.
Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719