These Throwback Photos Prove Beyoncé’s Renaissance Has Been 24 Years In The Making

Catch up on the artist’s style (and music) evolution before her new album drops on July 29.

Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' follows decades of hard work. Photo via Getty Images
Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images

Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

It’s been quite a while since Beyoncé had the kind of day job she sings about quitting in “Break My Soul” (well, if you count sweeping the floor of her mom’s salon as a kid, as she told Essence). By the time she was just 16, Destiny’s Child had dropped their first debut album.

Frank Micelotta Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Beyoncé’s first Grammys came soon after, winning Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for “Say My Name,” alongside Destiny’s Child. 20 years later, Queen Bey became the Grammys’ most decorated female artist ever — but more on that later.

Steve Grayson/WireImage/Getty Images

The 2003 BET Awards saw Beyoncé’s first major performance as a solo artist. She sang “Crazy in Love” with Jay-Z, wearing an instantly iconic, strappy dress — one Zendaya would pay tribute to at the same awards show in 2021.

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In 2006, Beyoncé opened up about her future with Jay-Z — and potential kids, too. “I want to be in their lives,” she told Cosmopolitan. “I don't want to be away a lot, so I'm sure I'll slow down. But there are so many amazing people who do both.” You included, Bey!

Kristian Dowling/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Speaking of kids! Leave it to Beyoncé to announce her first baby in the most glamorous way possible. Her high-energy performance of “Love on Top” (in heels, no less?!) would have been a feat for anyone — much less someone with a growing baby bump, as she revealed after the song.

Dan MacMedan/WireImage/Getty Images

From her short bob to all those steamy lyrics, Beyoncé’s self-titled album marked a new era for her. “You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist — whatever you want to be — and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive,” she told Out in 2014.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In 2018, Beyoncé became the first Black woman to headline Coachella — her set now and forever known as Beychella, of course. The history-making tribute to HBCUs was the subject of the musician’s 2019 Netflix doc, Homecoming.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Remember when Beyoncé talked about balancing kids and her career? Blue Ivy has become one of her mom’s most frequent collaborators — including vocals and a music video appearance for “Brown Skin Girl,” which earned the young artist her first Grammy.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Twenty years after her first Grammy win, Beyoncé scored her 28th at the 2021 Grammy Awards — officially making her the woman with the most Grammys, ever. “This is so overwhelming ... I can’t believe this happiness,” she said while accepting the historic award.

Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

So, what makes now time for Beyoncé’s Renaissance? “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world ... A place to scream, release, feel freedom,” she wrote on Instagram. “It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!