#SheDidThat

January 4, 1954: Tina Knowles Lawson Was Born and Without Her, There Would Be No Beyoncé

Photo: Johnny Nunez/Getty

On January 4, 1954, Tina Knowles Lawson was born in Galveston, TX to a longshoreman father and seamstress mother. As Beyoncé and Solange’s mother, she is one of the most famous moms in the world. However, she is also a talented fashion designer, celebrated for creating show-stopping styles for Destiny’s Child, as well as for Beyoncé and Solange. Lawson is also responsible for instilling a strong sense of self-worth for both her children. Turning 63 today, she now dedicates her time to working on projects and charities that help empower black women.

Born Célestine Ann Beyincé, Lawson started dressmaking in high school, designing sparkly outfits for her Supremes-style singing group. After high school, she spent a year as a makeup artist in California, but she returned home to Texas to help out her sick parents. Eventually, with the help of her first husband Matthew Knowles, she opened up a hair salon in Houston, TX. She ran this business while raising their two daughters. In the late 1990s, she returned to costume design to outfit Destiny’s Child, the girl group featuring her daughter, Beyoncé, along with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Destiny’s Child became a music sensation, selling over 60 million records worldwide. Lawson’s fashion creations for the singing group put her on the map, as well. In 2004, she started her own fashion label, the House of Deréon, with the help of Beyoncé. She also continued to design head-turning looks for Beyoncé as a solo artist.

In 2009, Lawson was at the height of her career, but she felt constricted by her relationship with Knowles. She filed for divorce after 33 years of marriage. In a January 2017 New York Times interview she shared, “All these things that I love — going to art shows, reading art books, going out dancing — I had stopped. That’s not really loving yourself if you’re not taking care of yourself in terms of your needs and what makes you happy.”

Proof that it is never too late to change your life, Lawson completely altered her life’s course after the divorce. She closed her fashion business, moved to Los Angeles, bought a new house and car, and married actor Richard Lawson. Although she designed some recent pieces for her daughter Solange, she has focused most of her extra time on black female empowerment philanthropy. Among her efforts, she and her husband recently opened an acting workshop for underserved youth in Los Angeles, called the WACO Theater Center.

Happy 63rd Birthday! Thank you for being a constant source of style goals and inspiration!

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