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CNN SPOTLIGHT: Beyonce
Aired May 16, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A family feud caught on tape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see Solange attack Jay-Z and try and kick him.
TURNER: Caught in the crossfire, pop superstar Beyonce.
CARLOS GREER, "PEOPLE": No one expected this to happen to Beyonce.
TURNER: A singer famous for being in control, from a secret album sensation...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beyonce dropped an incredible album.
TURNER: ... to the worldwide stage.
NE-YO, POP STAR: There is nobody else that is singing like she is. There's nobody else that's giving the energy that she's giving on stage.
TURNER: R&B royalty, fashion icon, mother, and music mogul, tonight, in the SPOTLIGHT: Beyonce.
It is the last thing Beyonce would have wanted, video posted on TMZ of her superstar husband, Jay-Z, being attacked by her sister Solange in a hotel elevator.
GREER: She completely went berserk. She's kicking. She's throwing her fists or slapping him. It is pretty brutal.
TURNER: Carlos Greer is a writer for "People."
GREER: And you can see Beyonce's security sort of holding Solange back, grasping her and trying to prevent her from attacking Jay-Z.
TURNER: Security not only tries to protect the rapper, but attempts to guard the famous couple's image.
GREER: It looks like he presses a button to sort of contain what is happening in the elevator in the elevator so people don't see it when they open that door.
TURNER: What caused Beyonce's baby sister to lose her cool? GREER: She had a confrontation with designer Rachel Roy, who a source told me provoked her. Then Beyonce, she stepped in and said, hey, don't talk to my sister, but Jay-Z appeared to do nothing. It didn't seem like he did enough to prevent the confrontation with Rachel Roy. And so by the time they were leaving, he apparently said something that Solange thought was inappropriate to Beyonce and to her, and so that's when she flipped.
TURNER: Later in the video, Solange attempts to kick Jay-Z while she's being restrained. This time, Beyonce, who has been surprisingly calm, moves between them. When the elevator finally opens, Solange lashes out again. Jay-Z exits, looking stunned.
GREER: This was a huge surprise. I don't think anyone knew that there was tension.
TURNER: They all walk to a waiting car. But Jay decides to catch another ride home.
GREER: It probably wasn't planned that they would leave separately. Usually, when Beyonce and Jay-Z are at an event together, they leave together.
TURNER: The drama unfolded on one of the fashion world's biggest nights.
The Met Gala is the premier fashion party of the year. It is a huge charity event. This is the A-list party and one of the most exclusive parties in the city, where you see tons of celebrities.
TURNER: All seemed well earlier in the evening.
GREER: Everyone was having a good time at the gala, and even at the after-party. They were taking photos with Lupita Nyong'o and mingling. And Erykah Badu was there and Beyonce and Solange were taking photos together.
TURNER: It is that picture-perfect image R&B's royal couple work hard to uphold.
HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: You see Beyonce when Beyonce wants you to see her.
Howard Bragman is a crisis communications expert.
BRAGMAN: She always looks impeccable. And when you see her, it is at the right event. It is supporting one of her causes. It is performing.
GREER: Beyonce is very guarded. She's very private. And she does control the information that comes out about her and how it comes out.
TURNER: Beyonce's brand is so carefully controlled, it was ironically the joke of an "SNL" skit the Saturday before the gala.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Tell me you wouldn't say something bad about Beyonce.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It is too late. They have come for him.
TURNER: In a fake trailer for a fictional movie, "The Beygency," anyone dissing the Queen B is hunted down.
GREER: A lot of people view Beyonce as simply perfection. You know, she is the woman who has it all. She's beautiful, she's successful, and she pretty much can do anything.
TURNER: And she's been able to manage that image, until now.
GREER: This video is a huge deal. This is something that they definitely did not want to go public. And once the public saw it, this thing blew up on the Internet.
TURNER: To quiet the conversation, Beyonce, Jay and Solange referred CNN to a statement they previously game to the Associated Press, saying: "Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. At the end of the day, families have problems and we're no different. We love each other and above all we're family. We have put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same."
BRAGMAN: Jay-Z and Beyonce have the gold standard for images in the entertainment industry. They control their images very well.
TURNER: In fact, Beyonce's latest album shows just how much she wants to be in control.
In a spectacular surprise last December, she dropped a self-titled album of 14 songs and 17 videos. It was one of the music world's best-kept secrets that completely bypassed the industry's marketing machine.
GREER: No one had ever seen an album released this way. She didn't have any radio promotion. She didn't even tell people that this album was coming out. No one knew. The album sold out immediately. In fact, it broke records and everyone -- their jaws were pretty much dropped.
TURNER: She's taken charge of a career that skyrocketed her to the top, silencing her critics at every turn, like after her performance at President Obama's second inauguration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Beyonce fake it at the inauguration?
TURNER: Did she or didn't she lip-synch? And does it even matter? This was Beyonce's response posted to Instagram. Online and on air...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm saying leave Beyonce alone.
TURNER: She became a hot topic of conversation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not surprised that she did lip-synch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still don't think she did, though. TURNER: It turned out that Beyonce had used a pre-recorded track.
BEYONCE, MUSICIAN: Would you guys mind standing?
TURNER: But at a press conference 10 days later, the punchline.
BEYONCE: Any questions?
TURNER: Not likely. Beyonce set tongues wagging again with her halftime performance at the Super Bowl.
JUNE AMBROSE, STYLIST: The crowd's reaction when she stepped out on stage during halftime was now the real show is going to start.
TURNER: June Ambrose is a stylist to Jay-Z and a friend of the couple.
AMBROSE: I felt like the football team was her opening act.
NE-YO: Beyonce has evolved into this being that you just expect greatness from to the point where great isn't even good enough anymore.
TURNER: Pop star Ne-Yo collaborates with Beyonce.
NE-YO: There's nobody else that's singing like she is. There's nobody else that's giving the energy that she is giving on stage and much less doing it at the same time.
TURNER: Next for Mrs. Carter, a showstopping, sold-out world tour, a "TIME" magazine cover as one of the world's most influential people, and a summer tour with husband Jay-Z.
Where did it all begin? That story next.
TURNER (voice-over): Before she was the diva, before she was the queen bee, she was just Beyonce Giselle Knowles, a little girl in suburban Houston.
KNOWLES: Beyonce was a really quiet kid, kind of to herself.
TURNER: Hoping to get Beyonce to come out of their shell, Mathew and Tina Knowles sent their 7-year-old daughter to Darlette Johnson's dance studio.
DARLETTE JOHNSON, DANCE TEACHER OF KNOWLES-CARTER: Harder. Harder.
TURNER (on camera): When you first saw her and she first came in, I mean, did you even notice her? JOHNSON: Well, what I did notice about her, that she was very shy. You would ask her, what's your name? Beyonce Knowles. You could barely hear her speak. I would say, can you say your name again, sweetheart? Beyonce Knowles.
TURNER: But on the dance floor...
JOHNSON: Beyonce would dance so hard that she would lose her costume pieces. Sometimes, her hat would come off because she was fierce.
TURNER: It was here that Beyonce created her now famous alter ego.
(on camera): Now, that's Sasha Fierce. That's who that is.
JOHNSON: When she got on the stage, she became a different person.
TURNER (voice-over): But no one knew Beyonce had a secret.
JOHNSON: I hummed a song, and she finished it, and it blew me away. And I stopped, and I told her to sing it again. And she wouldn't sing it again because she -- once, again, she was quiet, very shy.
And I promised her a dollar. And she sung it again. And I was -- I was floored. When her parents came to pick her up, I told her, she can sing. She can really sing.
TURNER: A multimillion-dollar star was born.
JOHNSON: I remember her sitting on the floor and I was telling her, you're going to be so big. And she -- I remember her. She was looking up at me. I said, you watch.
TURNER: At local talent pageants, the pint-sized powerhouse quickly made a name for herself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before Beyonce's name was even called, the whole audience was rocking her name, sounding her name, Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce.
TURNER: Judith Fostin (ph) took Beyonce to many of these pageants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She always won the competitions. We may have had 500-plus junior talents, and she always stood out.
KNOWLES-CARTER: Thank you.
TURNER (on camera): Adorable. Now, are these all the trophies she won from doing the talent shows and the pageants?
KNOWLES: These are from the pageants, yes.
(voice-over): Yet no one imagined that at this young age, Beyonce would already face the ugly side of fame. JOHNSON: In school, there was some jealousy because she was beginning to be a local star. So, there was some jealousy of girls. And they said some mean things to her.
TURNER: But the bullying didn't stop her. Fame came knocking at the door of her mother's salon.
KNOWLES: Some ladies came and said, you know what? En Vogue was hot at the time. And they said, you know, we would like to form a version of En Vogue, but a younger version of En Vogue. And we would like to have Beyonce be the lead singer of the group.
TURNER: Girls Tyme was born. Beyonce teamed up with a group of six girls, including her cousin, Kelly Rowland.
JOHNSON: Beyonce was kind of the pilot of the group. If they got tired, she would encourage them. I call her the Energizer Bunny, because Beyonce keep going and going and going.
TURNER: From the local spotlight to the national stage.
KNOWLES: These girls, Girls Tyme, ended up going to "Star Search," ended up competing against some 40-year-olds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A perfect score. The challenger, Girls Tyme receives:
KNOWLES: And they lose, and they're crying their hearts out. And I go over to Ed McMahon.
And I say, Mr. McMahon, the kids are crying. I'm a dad. What do I do? And, he says, well, all I know is, those who lose , they go back and they rededicate, refocus.
TURNER: And that's what Mathew Knowles had them do. In 1995, he resigned from his corporate job at Xerox to manage the girls full- time. KNOWLES: I couldn't look at them in the eyes and say give it your all if I wasn't doing it.
TURNER (on camera): So, that is a lesson that you taught Beyonce kind of an example, to -- this is how you dedicate yourself to this craft?
KNOWLES: Yes. And it was difficult.
TURNER (voice-over): All they wanted was a major record deal. And that meant lots of hard work.
Here's some rare footage of Beyonce working on some early recordings.
D'Wayne Wiggins was their producer.
D'WAYNE WIGGINS, PRODUCER: Beyonce automatically stood out. I mean, everybody would say that, because she simply was a very focused young lady.
TURNER: That focus paid off with a big record contract. Michael Mauldin was an executive at Columbia Records.
MICHAEL MAULDIN, EXECUTIVE, COLUMBIA RECORDS: We could tell she had pipes. And we could tell, again, they were young pipes, and -- because that's what you want to do is try to find groups that you can incubate -- put in an incubator and just kind of develop.
TURNER: The group settled on a name, Destiny's Child, and the hits started coming, like "No, No, No."
Destiny's Child was on the express ride to the top, until:
JOHNSON: What happened was, the girls wanted new management, so that was pretty tough for Beyonce, because her father is the manager.
TURNER: The two members who wanted Beyonce's father out were quickly replaced.
KNOWLES: Beyonce was one of the one who got the black eye for it, very, very, very unjustly.
TURNER: Beyonce became public enemy number one with fans and the press, even being called a bloodsucking diva.
The criticism was nothing new for the girl who was bullied at age 9 for her talent. But now, 10 years older, Beyonce was stronger. Her song said it. She was a survivor. The publicity from the scandal was seemingly priceless. People couldn't get enough of Destiny's Child.
By the 2001 Grammy's, Destiny's Child seemed unstoppable -- or at least that's what everyone thought.
When we come back: Beyonce goes off on her own.
JOHNSON: Let's go. Give it here. Let's go. Give it here. Dance like a star.
TURNER: Listen carefully.
JOHNSON: Harder. Harder.
TURNER: Darlette Johnson's girls, the ones she calls the next generations of Beyonces, are dancing to "Crazy in Love."
"Crazy in Love," I love it.
TURNER (on camera): Don't we all wish we were?
JOHNSON: Yes, crazy in love.
TURNER (voice-over): It's the first single off Beyonce's very first solo album, "Dangerously in Love," and it's the song that launches Beyonce as a major solo superstar, and leads to the end of Destiny's Child.
JOHNSON: I knew that that was going to take her soaring.
TURNER (on camera): And it did.
Beyonce's part two, the solo career, begins with Jay-Z. He's in her first solo hit, and he's in her personal life. From their dating, to their wedding, to Baby Blue, the public doesn't learn a single detail until Beyonce is ready to spill it...
KNOWLES: So, let me show you this.
TURNER: ... an approach she learned from her father.
KNOWLES-CARTER: I'm not going to talk about Beyonce the mom and...
TURNER (on camera): What about papa G, the granddad? What do you like to do with Blue?
KNOWLES: I'm not going to talk about that. You get nothing.
TURNER (on camera): I get nothing.
KNOWLES: You get nothing.
TURNER (voice-over): It is a philosophy that Beyonce would go on to apply to both her professional and private lives. Nobody learns anything about B until she is ready to tell him.
TURNER (on camera): Well, let's talk about "Dangerously in Love." The album did really well.
TURNER (voice-over): That first solo album debut at number one and went on to sell more than 11 million copies.
KNOWLES: The album did really well, and what am I thinking? Tour?
TURNER (on camera): Studio, tour, more singles now.
KNOWLES: Normally, when the album does very well, you do a tour.
TURNER: There's a small tour, Beyonce's first as a solo artist, followed by three more solo albums and a total of five solo number one hits, including 2008's "Single Ladies, movies.
KNOWLES-CARTER: Because I'm Foxxy Cleopatra, and I'm a whole lot of woman.
TURNER: A fashion line.
KNOWLES-CARTER: My mother would make all of these beautiful clothes, and after so many years, my fans, they were like, OK, we have to buy these clothes somewhere.
TURNER: And numerous endorsements, including a new one with Pepsi that will pay Beyonce to advertise its products and fund some of her creative projects.
MITCHELL: I think it's a huge deal. I think it says a lot about her as a brand, her -- about her music. And that Pepsi would do something like that for a black female music artist, that's tremendous.
TURNER: It's a deal that demonstrates she is as good a businesswoman as she is a performer.
KNOWLES-CARTER: My father was such an incredible entrepreneur. And any and everything he said he would have, he worked until he had it. And he taught me there's no such thing as no.
MITCHELL: My personal opinion is, she watched. She watched her dad. She watched her mom. I mean, her mom ran a hair salon. She's got this business savvy that a lot of people either -- a lot of creative types, they're not -- they're one side.
TURNER: And now Beyonce is on her own, announcing years ago that her father would no longer be her manager.
(on camera): I wonder, where can she or where does she go from here?
KNOWLES: I think that's a question you should ask Beyonce. I think she has the ability, the talent, passion, fans, that she can, quite frankly, go wherever she would like to go.
TURNER (voice-over): Where she went next was HBO, directing an autobiographical documentary that premiered in 2013.
KNOWLES-CARTER: Power is not given to you. You have to take it. You're playing a part in a much bigger show. And that's what life is.
TURNER: We learned more about the personal details she usually withholds, such as the miscarriage she suffered prior to Blue Ivy.
But, even before the documentary aired, she was becoming a little freer with personal information, thanks to a large and active Tumblr site.
AMBROSE: So, if they're posting it, you're supposed to know it. If they're not posting it, you ain't supposed to know it.
TURNER: After the doc, there's a world tour using her married name.
So, what could be next? Writer-producer Ne-Yo hinted that Beyonce's next move would push the edges creatively.
NE-YO: She's not afraid to take a risk. She's not afraid to take a shot. You know, she's not afraid -- she's not afraid to do this. And if you hit, you hit, if you don't, you don't.
TURNER: But aside from admitting to some recording sessions with Beyonce, he wouldn't say anymore.
NE-YO: And I'm not going to be the one to let the cat out of the bag. You all ain't going to get me in trouble, no sir. Nobody has the patience to wait for the greatness. They just want everything quick, quick, quick.
And it's like, if you actually take the time to wait for it, it just makes it that much better when you actually get it.
TURNER: As the world waited, Beyonce worked on the best kept-secret in the business.
BILL WERDE, SENIOR EDITOR, "BILLBOARD": I personally think Beyonce did it just to silence the critics, because there was a lot of chirping, a lot of like, Beyonce doesn't know what she's doing. Beyonce is in trouble. Why isn't this album coming out?
KNOWLES-CARTER: Everyone thought I was crazy, but we are actually doing it.
TURNER: The move was big, bold and created tons of buzz. She used her Facebook page and Instagram account to announce she had a new album, no pre-album hype, no promotion, straight from Beyonce to her fans.
HEATHER THOMSON, FOUNDER, YUMMIE TUMMIE: This is how she rolls, because, as launching an album, people anticipate it and wait for it. Well, it's just as exciting when she brings it out through social media. Everybody is talking about it anyway.
TURNER: Eight hundred thousand copies sold in just three days, her biggest album debut yet and an iTunes worldwide record, the stunning move just move proof that Beyonce is in control of her own destiny.