Beyoncé references Khaleesi in powerful CFDA acceptance speech | EW.com

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Beyoncé references Khaleesi in powerful CFDA acceptance speech

'When we were starting out with Destiny's Child, high-end labels, they didn't really want to dress four black country curvy girls'

(Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Beyoncé received the Fashion Icon Award at the 2016 CFDA Awards Monday night after a loving intro from designer Diane von Furstenberg, and during her acceptance speech, the singer spoke of the impact fashion had on her life and career.

“Most of you guys don’t know this, but my grandmother was a seamstress. My grandparents did not have enough money; they could not afford my mother’s Catholic school tuition, so my grandmother sold clothes for the priests and the nuns and made the uniforms for the students in exchange for my mother’s education,” Beyoncé told the crowd. “She then passed this gift down to my mother and taught her how to sew.”

She continued, mentioning the outfits that helped make Destiny’s Child famous, and noting how they made her feel like Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen, played on the show by Emilia Clarke.

“When we were starting out with Destiny’s Child, high-end labels, they didn’t really want to dress four black country curvy girls, and we couldn’t afford designer dresses or couture. My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother, she used her talent, her creativity to give her children their dreams. My mother, and my Uncle Johnny, God bless his soul, designed all of our first costumes and made each piece by hand, individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into every small detail. When I wore these clothes on stage, I felt like Khaleesi. I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.”

Beyoncé then thanked all designers, calling them “fairy godmothers, and magicians, and sculptors, sometimes even our therapists.” She also made a call for a social impact through fashion: “We have an opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or a magazine cover and see her own reflection. The soul has no color, no shape, no form. Just like all of your work, it goes so far beyond what the eyes can see. And you have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower. And to show people how to embrace their complications and see the flaws and the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us…”

Read her whole speech below.

I feel so much love and I feel so proud right now. Thank you guys for this incredible honor. As long as I can remember, fashion has always been a part of my life. Its effect on me actually started before I was born. Most of you guys don’t know this but my grandmother was a seamstress. My grandparents did not have enough money and could not afford my mother’s Catholic school tuition, so my grandmother sewed clothes for the priests and the nuns, and made uniforms for the students in exchange for my mother’s education. She then passed this gift down to my mother and taught her how to sew.

 

When we were starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels, they didn’t really want to dress four black, country, curvy girls. And we couldn’t afford designer dresses and couture. My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother, she used her talent and creativity to give her children their dreams. My mother and my Uncle Johnny, God bless his soul, designed all of our first costumes and made each piece by hand, individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into ever small detail. When I wore these clothes on stage I felt like Khaleesi. I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.

My mother — who’s so fabulous and beautiful and is here tonight, I love you — my grandmother, and my uncle were always with me so I could not fail. My mother actually designed my wedding dress, my prom dress, my first CFDA Awards dress, my first Grammy dress, and the list goes on and on and on. And this to me is the true power and potential of fashion: It’s a tool for finding your own identity, expression, and strength. It transcends style and is a time capsule of all of our greatest milestones. So to my mother, my uncle, my grandma, thank y’all. Thank you for showing me that having a presence is far more than the clothes you wear and your physical beauty. Thank you for showing me to never take no for an answer. Thank you for showing me how to take risks, work hard, and live life on my own terms.

I want to say thank you to every designer who works tirelessly to make people feel like they can write their own stories. Y’all are fairy godmothers, magicians, sculptors, and sometimes even our therapists. I encourage you to not forget this power you have or take it lightly. We have an opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or magazine cover and see her own reflection. Soul has no color. no shape, no form. Just like all your work it goes so far beyond what the eyes can see. You have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower, to show people how to embrace their complications and see the flaws and the true beauty that’s inside all of us. Thank you so much for this incredible award I’ll never forget this night. God bless y’all. Thank you.