from love to low blows, a look back at a tumultuous family history

Beyoncé and her father Mathew Knowles: from love to low blows, a look back at a tumultuous history (Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

A few days ago, Mathew Knowles announced that he was working on a biopic aimed at retracing his personal journey… and therefore, obviously, that of Beyoncé. Two linked destinies that made the heyday of the music industry. But over the years and success, the relationship between father and daughter has become strained…

Her track record makes you dizzy, and that’s why her fans have chosen to crown her. Beyoncé, or Queen B, is undoubtedly one of the most important artists in the international music industry. And the first to have detected his talent was his father, Mathew Knowles. Very quickly, he quit his job to take care of his daughter’s career, and became the manager of Destiny’s Child. In 2003, Papa Knowles founded his own music label within Sony Music Entertainment, and began to produce the solo career of Beyoncé, but also that of her younger sister, Solange Knowles. The doors of glory open: the little Texans are propelled to the front of the stage. But behind the scenes, the clan is torn apart around the patriarch’s outbursts.

Video. Discover the portrait of Beyoncé

Infidelity and controversy

However, at the start, everything had started rather well. In 2003, as she embarked on a solo career, Beyoncé sang the praises of her father in the song “Daddy”. On paper, it’s a fairy tale. Mathew Knowles reinvents himself as a formidable businessman. Although a little too flighty. In 2009, his infidelities with the Canadian actress Alexsandra Wright throw opprobrium on the image of the pious and devoted dad. Things get worse when his lover becomes pregnant. The results of the paternity test are clear: Mathew Knowles is the father. It’s too much for Tina Knowles, his wife and mother of Beyoncé. She is filing for divorce after 30 years of marriage and with the support of her daughters.

Fallen out of favor, Mathew Knowles is coping. But this is only the beginning of the end. In 2010, Beyoncé suspected him of stealing money from her. After an investigation, the star fires him from his managerial duties. But there is no question of making a whole drama out of it in public. “We are only separated on a professional level. He is my father for life and I love him deeply” she will assure in the process, no doubt to save appearances. In 2013, Beyoncé and her sister Solange did not go to the second wedding of Mathew Knowles with Gena Avery. And as usual, it is in song that Queen B will later attack her father by evoking his infidelities. “Mom, I understand better your sleepless nights, when you sat and thought about my father. You were trying to be the perfect wife” she sings in “Ring Off”. A parallel with her own sentimental story, she who experienced her husband’s infidelities.

Tensions with Jay-Z and attacks on Beyoncé

Back in 1999. That year, Beyoncé met Jay-Z. He is an already confirmed rapper, she is at the dawn of her flamboyant career. But there is a problem: he is 12 years older than her. Even today, when they are married and parents of three children, the origin of this relationship is not entirely clear and crystallizes heated debates, many fans doubting the majority of Beyoncé at the beginning of their story. For his part, and if he has never really confirmed it, dad Knowles does not see this relationship in a good light. Between him and Jay-Z, it was never a great story of friendship. In 2014, while rumors of separation between the rapper and Beyoncé flourish here and there, Matthew Knowles throws a stone into the pond. “It’s a mental trick like a Jedi… They use it to boost the tour and for a lot of other things as well. I know that from experience and having done it before” assures he into the microphone of a local Houston radio station.

Video. Discover the portrait of Jay-Z

For Mathew Knowles, the altercation filmed between Solange Knowles and Jay-Z in an elevator after the Met Gala in 2014 was also a set-up: “Everyone is talking about it, ticket sales have increased and Solange’s records have known a 200% increase.” Mathew Knowles was not at his first attempt. In the 2010s, the ex-manager of Beyoncé seemed charged with a mission: that of discrediting the career of her offspring at all costs, after having partly built it. In 2017, when Beyoncé had already begun a radical change in communication long ago by cultivating a certain mystery about her life, Mathew Knowles reveals that her daughter’s greatest weakness… is not knowing how to speak in public at all. In 2018, he put a coin back into the bitterness machine by estimating that if Beyoncé has reached her planetary star rank, it is partly thanks to her skin color, “light skin”, thus raising an important theme to the United States: colorism. A sociological concept that highlights the many differences in consideration of African Americans based on the color of their skin. Mathew Knowles also took the example of Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Rihanna or Nicki Minaj, in order to prove that “lighter-skinned” black artists are more likely to find a place in the music industry. .

The biopic that will set fire to the powder?

In 2019, Mathew Knowles is talking about him again, but for other reasons. In an interview with Good Morning America, he reveals that he has breast cancer, thus breaking down the taboos around this disease which also affects men. At the same time, he continued his activities as a manager and producer, while holding the position of visiting professor at Texas Southern University. It is also to “devote himself entirely to mentoring at the university” that Mathew Knowles announced, in 2021, that he intended to retire from the music industry.

Video. Beyoncé’s father will be entitled to his biopic

A few weeks ago, he sold his music company Music World Entertainment Group to the investment fund, APX Capital Group. During the transaction, he became Film and Television director of the group, and was thus able to validate a first cinematographic project called “The Mathew Knowles Story”. A biopic dedicated to her career… and obviously to her contribution to that of Beyoncé. “This is the story of my life and I am honored to be able to share it even more thanks to this alliance,” he said in an official press release. It remains to be hoped that this project will not accentuate the tensions that have persisted for several years…

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