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Tina Knowles Lawson      

Businesswoman and Fashion Designer known for her House of Deréon and Miss Tina by Tina Knowles fashion brands

Seems like everybody is thinking about Beyonce these days. But her parents were her first fans. They believed in her so much that Beyonce's father quit his job to manage Destiny's Child while her mother, Tina, worked long hours at her hair salon to support the family. Her mother recalls that time, saying, “It was very stressful because we went from having two really great incomes to having one. We had to scale down the house. Sell the cars. It was a really tough time for us.” Did people think you were nuts?

Tina Knowles says, “Oh yeah, people thought we were nuts a lot more than we did. They really thought we were crazy.” It didn't help that Beyonce seemed an unlikely star. She was painfully shy, until she took the microphone. Tina Knowles says, “She just came alive and just had all the confidence so I was like, ‘Wow, who is that?’ We encouraged her to do that because it brought out her personality.” But there were a lot of disappointments along the way. Beyonce's first group lost on "Star Search." So when Destiny's Child formed, Beyonce's father worked even harder – all of which was tough on the marriage.

Tina Knowles says, “We separated because, at that point, I felt like he was a little too driven. I was never in doubt it would happen, but I was just like, ‘You can't just stop life and do this and not take care of the family.’" Eventually, they got back together and soon after, Destiny's Child landed a deal with Columbia records with “Say My Name." And now everybody knows their name. But even success wasn't easy. The band regrouped several times, and Beyonce was blamed for the breakups.

Tina Knowles says, “That was probably one of the worst experiences of my life because it was so untrue and she took all the heat for everything.” Being in the spotlight is tough. Beyonce says, “It's just kind of crazy with the rumors. And the hard schedules, people not understanding that you're human and you get tired.”

It's one of the reasons Tina Knowles is now so protective. She says, “If you mess with them, you've got to mess with me. My mother was a very amazing woman. She was a very strong, remarkable woman.” So now she says she is teaching that to her daughters, as well as style. Tina Knowles designs clothes, like the suit Beyonce wore when she performed at the Super Bowl. Beyonce says, “I wanted to be a little more glamorous and my mom was like, ‘Oh let's do a old '40s suit.’ So she designed it. I just wanted to do something sophisticated and elegant and I loved it. And Tina loves Beyonce's music. Her favorite song is "Survivor," because it motivates all sorts of people.

She says, “I was at a concert recently. The most touching thing is, I saw a handicapped young man put his fist up when Beyonce said to put his fist up and he couldn't quite get it there, and the other guy next to him grabbed his hand and he helped him to lift his hand up. And that was just so touching to me.”

It's things like that - plus her tremendous talent - that have earned Beyonce a lot of recognition. Tina Knowles says, “This is one of Beyonce's Grammys. I remember her being little and saying, 'One day, we're going to win a Grammy,' and now she has eight of them, so that's pretty amazing.” And who knows? Maybe Beyonce's kid sister is next. Solange is also in the music business.

Solange says, “My mother has always made it so clear to us growing up that she is our mother, but she is also our friend - that we can talk to her and that she's available for anything we need." And if Beyonce had a daughter? Would she let her be in the business? “Definitely, if she wanted to do it,” she says. “But I would make sure she knew all of the hard work that came with it.” And the one thing Tina most wants her daughters to learn is not to sacrifice who they are for fame.

She explains, “That's the one thing I harp on all the time, is to just be yourself and not get caught up in all this stuff, because it's fleeting, and it goes away, and at the end of the day, you have to be happy with who you are.” And it seems like they are. The Knowles family is very busy these days. Tina Knowles will soon be unveiling a new clothing line. Her husband Matthew is hard at work running their record label. Baby sister Solange was just married. And Beyonce is now hard at work on the new “Pink Panther” movie starring Steve Martin.


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