She got it from her mama! Tina Knowles-Lawson dropped a little-known bombshell about the origins of Beyoncé‘s famous moniker on Tuesday (Sept. 15): It actually came from her own name.
“A lot of people don’t know that Beyoncé is my last name. It’s my maiden name,” she told Heather Thomson as the first guest on the former Real Housewives of New York City star’s new podcast, In My Head With Heather Thompson. “My name was Celestine Beyoncé, which at that time was not a cool thing to have that weird name. I wanted my name to be Linda Smith because those were the cool names.”
What’s even crazier is that, according to the matriarch, she’s one of just a few people in her family with the last name due to an apparent clerical error on a number of family members’ birth certificates. Her brother and his children, for example, spell their last name ‘Beyince.’
“I think me and my brother Skip were the only two that had B-E-Y-O-N-C-E,” she elaborated. “Because we asked my mother when I was grown, I was like, ‘Why is my brother’s name spelled B-E-Y-I-N-C-E? You know, it’s all these different spellings. And my mom’s reply to me was, like, ‘That’s what they put on your birth certificate.’
“So I said, ‘Well, why didn’t you argue and make them correct it?’” Knowles-Lawson continued. “And she said, ‘I did one time. The first time, and I was told be happy that you’re getting a birth certificate because, at one time, Black people didn’t get birth certificates.’”
Acknowledging that for Beyoncé’s grandmother, it “must’ve been horrible not to even be able to have her children’s names spelled correctly,” the House of Dereon founder ultimately concluded, “So we all have different spellings. People don’t even put the two together and know that’s the same name.”
Most recently, Knowles-Lawson appeared in Queen Bey’s latest visual album, Black Is King, making a regal cameo in the video for “Brown Skin Girl” alongside Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong’o and granddaughters Blue Ivy and Rumi Carter.
Listen to the famous mom spill the tea about Beyoncé’s namesake below.