Entertainer, Filmmaker, Spokesperson, Cover Model: Is Beyonce a Mogul?

February 19, 2013  |  

Beyonce at the NBA All-Star game this weekend in Houston. AP Photo/Eric Gay

An hour before the television premiere of Beyoncé’s HBO documentary on Sunday, Oprah called the budding icon the “preeminent mistress of the universe” in their exclusive sit-down interview. This ridiculous group of words barely exaggerates Beyoncé’s place in pop culture. Over the past few years, the media has elevated her to the Queen of Pop, in a lane all her own.

Life Is But A Dream is meant to be film about a pop star finding herself.  But it also documents a woman the public associates with perfection and power, in the vulnerable position of starting a new phase of her career.

The first topic Beyonce tackles in the film is her professional split from her father and manager Matthew Knowles, a pivotal moment that marks the official beginning of Beyoncé’s career as a mogul. Moguls don’t just make a living. They architect the deals and strategies that build their empire. The fate of Beyoncé, Inc. now rests entirely on the shoulders of its namesake.

Following the March 2011 announcement that she would take over managing her career, Beyonce sounds like any other new entrepreneur, telling MTV:

“My focus is not bigger; it’s quality, and I want to make sure it’s something I’m proud of years from now,” she says later on. “It’s very difficult managing myself. Every night when I go to sleep, I ask hundreds of questions. I’m making mistakes, and I’m learning from them. I’ve never been afraid to fall — and I say all these things, but now I’m being tested.”

The senior Knowles wasn’t just another stage dad. He was a high-level marketing executive at IBM before leaving the company to market his daughter’s career. From the beginning, the infrastructure and the strategy to maximize Beyoncé’s talent for mass consumption was in place.

Beyoncé talks a lot about her artistry in her film’s narration, but her success can be credited just as much to her ability to view herself as a product. Beyoncé isn’t a person for her audience to get to know. She is an experience to be bought and aspired to. She may have been born to entertain, but she was brought up to be a business.

And just like any other new entrepreneur, her time in business has been marked by highs and lows. Here’s a recap of what Beyonce has accomplished since striking out on her own. How do you think she did?

Sales & Income

  • “4” is her first album not to go multi-platinum
  • Comes in at number 16 on Forbes 2012 “Celebrity 100” list, having earned $40 million in the past year.


  • Releases “Run The World (Girls)” as first single from album “4,” igniting a debate on whether Beyonce is good for feminism.
  • Announces pregnancy during her performance of “Love On Top” at the 2011 MTV VMAs; breaks the “most tweets per second recorded for a single event” Twitter record and makes the “Love On Top” the highest charting single of the album.
  • Settles scandal over pre-recorded vocals for the inauguration by singing the national anthem live at Super Bowl press conference.


  • Partners with First Lady Michelle Obama to boost her campaign against child obesity.
  • Becomes an ambassador the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign; her song “I Was Here” becomes the campaign theme song.
  • Partners with Pepsi in $50 million creative development deal; critics believe this deal goes against work with First Lady.


  • Receives two nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards; Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Party”, and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am… World Tour
  • Receives Millennium Award at the 2011 Billboard Awards
  • Wins for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Love on Top” at the 55th Grammy Awards.


  • Takes the stage at New York’s Roseland Ballroom in “4 Intimate Nights with Beyonce.”
  • Became the first solo female artist to headline the Pyramid stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years.
  • Stages “Revel Presents: Beyonce Live” over four nights as a comeback after giving birth
  • Sings the national anthem at the second inauguration for President Barack Obama.
  • Serves as half-time performance at Super Bowl XLVII.

So the question is: Can we call Beyonce a mogul? How do you define a mogul these days?

C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed). 


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  • Janae

    If we go by the book’s definition of a mogul, then she qualifies, but she honestly hasn’t been in the game for that long. She’s accomplished a lot, and she has the support of every from Oprah to the First Lady, so I think she’s on her way.
    I’m not sure if she’ll go and immerse herself in everything because ppl will scream and cry about overexposure, and she is aware of that. Over the span of her career I do see her growing and becoming successful in different areas. I wish her the best.

  • Kenedy

    To answer your question MN…her solo career was more thriving under her dad’s management…..he was in marketing! So that makes sense

  • JB

    Oh and what about Janet? I agree with the other poster, she has no competition. Sorry but I have seen better artist, and they are original. She is a great entertainer yes. Some of the stuff I have seen in the media is just beyond over the top. Hell MJ didn’t even get all this face time, and he deserved it. But he got it when he died though RIP

  • JB

    She is the queen of Pop, thought that was Madonna ?

    • Janae

      I personally never saw the hype around Madonna because she never could sing very well. People jump on the bandwagon because she was popular and she’s a veteran, but come on. She was no Mariah, MJ, or Prince in terms of vocal ability. She was known for her overt sexuality during a pretty conservative time, along with catchy beats, dance songs, fabulous choreography, wild fashion, and creativity. Madonna burst on the scene as a young girl humping the stage in a wedding dress, making her controversial. She used that to help her rise to fame, much like Rihanna.

      • Taj801

        Janae, You must be as old as I am (40) or older- or you know your 80s pop culture very well. I remember when Madonna hit the scene. So you hit the nail on the head with that one! It just goes to show that it ain’t enough to be able to just sing and in the case of Madonna and so many other, “not so good singing female stars”, the hype around your hair, clothes and antics will usually out shine the lack luster vocal ability. Beyonce can sing and she is a great entertainer. Some people can sing but don’t really entertain you….She is a hard worker with a really good work ethic that I am inspired by. She’s a mogul. I like that she knows what she wants. She is sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that entertaining is her purpose. I like the way she handles her business respectfully demanding that the job gets done and not letting nothing stop her. She is definitely a positive role model for these young ladies today.

  • Just saying!!

    This article is different than I expected. It looks like t was written by her publicist lol I mean y’all really went through all the details of her career and everything lol! But the definition really does matter because does directing a movie make you a movie director even if you haven’t gone through the necessary steps or if you aren’t trained? If I pick up a paint brush and paint a tree and sell it, am I a artist? I think she can certainly be called a mogul if doodling in different careers suggests that. But in my opinion, music/entertainment is the only craft she has really mastered. Everything else just came with her name.

    • Just saying!!

      Oh and I think it’s important to note that relativity matters. Michael Jackson became the King of pop when countless other wonderful entertainers were out. Whitney became the voice when there were countless other great voices to be compared to. Beyonce has no competition, and she hasn’t for a long time. She is incredibly talented at first, but it isn’t as if she had to fight for the title. We have Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj…tough choice! Most talented people today are not/won’t become famous. Sad truth. I think it means a little more to “win” against people who are incredibly talented as well, but that’s just me lol

      • Just saying!!

        That should say **of course not *at first…stupid autocorrect lol

    • TGarcia

      We had to be thorough! Thanks for reading.

  • Kelsey

    Yup that’s right.. Big boss Mogul chick. Has her hands in everything. Go Mrs Carter