Beyoncé's CFDA speech about her family is making us cry in the best way
Beyoncé has left us all in awe (per usual). At last night’s CFDA Fashion Awards, the Lemonade queen made a surprise appearance with Jay Z, Blue Ivy, and mom Tina Knowles so she could rightfully accept the 2016 Fashion Icon Award. This honor was presented to her by Diane von Furstenberg, who stated, “What really matters is talent. Talent is the solution and talent is what we celebrate tonight.”
In a Givenchy, sequin-striped suit and wide-brim hat (from the Formation World Tour costume closet), Beyoncé gracefully accepted the award and read an incredibly powerful speech about how fashion tremendously influenced her family’s life journey.
Beyoncé initially revealed that fashion has always been a key part of her life and that it mattered to her family even before she was born. “Most of you guys don’t know this, but my grandmother was a seamstress,” Beyoncé explained. “My grandparents did not have enough money and could not afford my mother’s Catholic school tuition, so my grandmother sewed clothes for the priests and the nuns, and made uniforms for the students in exchange for my mother’s education.”
Beyoncé added that her grandmother passed the ability to sew onto her mother. This then allowed Tina Knowles to dress her daughter and fellow Destiny’s Child members when they were just starting out – even though she had been rejected from many showrooms in New York. This was especially significant because the women could not afford designer clothing and, according to Beyoncé, “high-end labels didn’t really want to dress four black, country, curvy girls.”
Along with Beyoncé’s Uncle Johnny, Tina Knowles individually sewed hundreds of small details onto Destiny’s Child’s first costumes. “When I wore these clothes on stage, I felt like Khaleesi,” Beyoncé stated. “I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.” Not only did Tina work to craft Destiny’s Child’s wardrobe – she also designed Beyoncé’s prom dress, wedding dress, first Grammy Awards dress, and even her first CFDA Awards dress.
“[Fashion is] a tool for finding your own identity, expression, and strength,” Beyoncé asserted. “It transcends style and is a time capsule of all of our greatest milestones. So to my mother, my uncle, my grandma, thank y’all. Thank you for showing me that having a presence is far more than the clothes you wear and your physical beauty.” Beyoncé credited these family members with teaching her to work hard and to take risks as she lives as life she can be proud of.
To conclude her stunning speech, Beyoncé thanked the designers of the world for helping people embrace who they truly are. “Y’all are fairy godmothers, magicians, sculptors, and sometimes even therapists,” she said. “We have an opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or magazine cover and see her own reflection. Soul has no color. no shape, no form. Just like all your work it goes so far beyond what the eyes can see.”
Ultimately, Beyoncé reminded us all that fashion has the power to empower.