Une Femme Firsts: Beyonce

A force so powerful she only needs to be known by one name, Beyonce is an obvious choice for our celebration of trailblazing women. Beyonce Knowles first rose to fame as a singing and dancing member of the trio Destiny's Child. But her stratospheric fame is the result of her solo career, which has found the star being the only solo artist besides Mariah Carey to have hit No. 1 in four different decades.

"Take the time to define yourself and define your value. If you’re having a hard time doing that, ask  yourself: What is something I would say to someone I love?” she once said. Her career accolades are many: Beyonce has won 28 Grammys, as well as dabbled in acting, producing, and directing, and launched an activewear collection. Ever the manager of her own destiny, she also keeps her private life tightly under wraps. This sometimes extends to her singing career — Beyonce has released entire albums at the drop of the hat with no promotion or hint to the public involved whatsoever.

Beyonce is married to hip-hop superstar Jay-Z, which only fuels the speculation and fascination surrounding her private life, especially as veiled references to their relationship permeates much of her music. Together, they have three children, who she has publicly said are the focus of her life. But to the public, her music career reigns supreme: Beyonce was the first solo-artist to have six consecutive albums hit and debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. For shattering glass ceilings in whatever direction she chooses to look, we salute Beyonce for being one of the most successful recording artists of all time.