Pop Culture Handbook

The 6 Buzziest Times Beyoncé Broke the Internet

We're all still crazy in love with Queen B.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen June 21, 2017 Published in the July 2017 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Jersey has Sinatra, Memphis has Elvis, and Houston—well, Houston will always have Beyoncé. Yes, we’re still crazy in love with Queen B, and we’ll never not be proud that the biggest global star since Michael Jackson calls Houston home.

If you aren’t equally convinced she’s the current heir to the King’s pop music throne, just look at what happens to the worldwide web when Beyoncé releases an album or gets involved in an argument on an elevator:

1. Though she’s been in the spotlight since 1998, it was the “Single Ladies” video a decade later that catapulted Bey from celebrity to icon, with its meant-to-be-copied outfits and choreography. No wonder Kanye had to interrupt Taylor Swift onstage to sing its praises as “one of the best videos of all time!”

2. Beyoncé invented the surprise album drop in 2013, quietly releasing her self-titled fifth record to iTunes just before midnight on December 13. The Beyhive awoke the next day to Christmas come early, generating more buzz with their surprised excitement than any old-school marketing campaign ever could.

3. The grainy security footage posted by TMZ of Beyoncé, Jay-Z and an angry Solange arguing in an elevator after the glamorous Met Ball in 2015 was a rare slip of the pop star’s highly curated public image. The incident led to rumors (addressed in the 2016 album Lemonade) that Jay was cheating. Beyoncé stayed mum and eventually turned the episode into a brag on her “Flawless” remix: “Sometimes sh*t goes down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”

4. Doubling down on mystery (or maybe a desire to let her work speak for itself), Beyoncé premiered her groundbreaking visual album Lemonade on HBO last year. Viewers were treated to a magical, moving rumination on infidelity, relationships, motherhood and black identity. It was easily the album of the year—sorry, Adele—and proof that Bey is at the height of her creative powers.

5. Beyoncé’s first pregnancy announcement—made live at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, by unbuttoning her sequined blazer and rubbing her belly—immediately broke Twitter records. Her second, a gloriously campy Instagram post from February announcing that she was expecting twins, quickly became the site’s most-liked photo ever.

6. Did you know that Coldplay was the headlining performer at the 2016 Super Bowl? Probably not, because as soon as Beyoncé hit the stage with her army of dancers, styled with a nod to the Black Panthers for a live version of “Formation,” nothing else mattered. Cue a cacophony of clutched pearls over her unapologetic black pride.

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