There are countless ways that mothers and daughters bond, but I think one of the most universal approaches is through music. Whether it’s a mother’s tender lullaby or a toddler learning their ABCs, mothers use music to make an impact on their children. I might have a difficult past with my own mother, but I still have memories of that wonderful kind of mommy-daughter bonding. I remember being a little girl, singing along with my mother to “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)”—from the soundtrack of our favorite movie Dirty Dancing—as we drove around in her car.
The first time I made a musical connection with my own daughter, the situation was strikingly similar. She was a preschooler in the backseat of my car when she nailed the lyrics, “Who run the world? Girls! Who run the world? Girls!”
Every day, my daughter would bounce, bop, and sing Beyoncé’s iconic lyrics from the backseat. Whenever a song would end, she’d ask to hear another—a request I would happily oblige. Moments later, a different Beyoncé song would blast themes of strength, fun, power, and femininity from the speakers.
So when I found out that Beyoncé would perform in our shared hometown of Houston, Texas for two nights of the On The Run II Tour, I knew that not only did I have to go—but I had to take my eight-year-old duet buddy with me.
As a fellow Houstonian, Beyoncé has always felt like part of the family to me.
Since her days in Destiny’s Child, she has been like one of those distant relatives I’m only vaguely sure I’m related to. Still, with each one of her amazing accomplishments, I feel the same sort of pride I’d feel for one of my very best girlfriends. I share in her victory as if it were mine. (In fact, I’m not ashamed to say I regularly brag about being from Houston: home of NASA, the world’s best Tex-Mex, and the birthplace of Queen Bey herself.)
But my admiration for Beyoncé doesn’t lie solely in our hometown connection or her musical achievements. Her strides as an activist, philanthropist, and feminist have inspired me both as a woman and as a mother.
Like any parent, I want my children to have strong and positive role models, and for my daughter, that role model is Beyoncé.
My daughter and I may have bonded over her music, but I was also on mission to teach my kiddo everything that Bey stands for. A true philanthropist, Beyoncé has taken her wealth and given it back to the community that raised her—the same one that raised me and that is now raising my daughter. In 2005, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child alum Kelly Rowland joined forces and created The Survivor Foundation, an organization that housed people who had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Together, they also opened the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility located in the heart of downtown Houston.
That isn’t the only building baring Bey’s name. In 2007, the Knowles family donated $7 million to help house Houston’s homeless population, creating the Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments. After the 2017 flooding of Houston, the superstar again donated several million dollars to the impacted areas—Houston and the Gulf Coast—through her BeyGood initiative.
And that’s only the work she has done in Houston. When you count her aid towards the Flint water crisis, her involvement with the Phoenix House, her partnership with Goodwill, and her trip documenting the aftermath of Haiti’s massive earthquake, Beyoncé’s philanthropy is genuinely global.
Bey’s activism has perhaps gotten the most public attention, even more than her philanthropy. As one of the biggest superstars in the world, she has one of the largest platforms on which to speak—and she’s not afraid to use it.
In response to decades of police brutality and the racial injustices experienced by Black people in America, Beyoncé co-wrote “Freedom,” a song from her incredible visual album Lemonade. In one especially moving performance in Glasgow, the superstar sang the song while names of several Black victims—most of whom were killed by police—scrolled behind her.
Beyoncé’s song “Formation” also made a statement by celebrating Black beauty, feminist strength, and cultural pride. And, if anyone missed the message, she performed the song at the Super Bowl dressed in an outfit inspired by the Black Panthers, with matching backup dancers behind her.
As I’ve watched Beyoncé— just a few years older than me—grow from a young girl into a mature and powerful woman, her feminism has inspired me. And it’s that example that I’ve tried to teach my daughter.
Bey is arguably the biggest persona in music. Her name and face are known everywhere around the world. Through surprise album releases and artistic evolution, she completely changed the way the music industry looks at female artists. She’s a mogul, an artist, a visionary. Creatively, she’s on a whole other level.
But, she still allows herself to be soft.
When she gave birth to her children Blue Ivy, Rumi, and Sir, she allowed us, the public, to see her joy. When she shared the news of her miscarriages, she introduced us to her pain. When she showed us the proof of her damaged marriage, she turned pieces of her worst nightmare into what will always be regarded as one of the best albums of all time.
And for my daughter— a beautiful, irrepressible Virgo just like Beyoncé— I think that’s exactly what she needs to hear.
So when we went to NRG Stadium on that exciting evening, I knew my daughter and I were going to be positively bubbling with anticipation. As soon as the music started, we bounced and bopped and sang along—my eight-year-old daughter being the youngest attendee I could spot in the crowd—and our bond evolved through music yet again. That’s the power of our love, and the power of Beyoncé.