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Why did Beyoncé go solo?

Beyoncé’s solo career eclipsed her massive success on Destiny’s Child.

The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

In 2003, in between Destiny’s Child’s third album and its fourth and final one, Beyoncé released her solo album Dangerously in Love. That album featured four solid hits: “Crazy in Love,” “Naughty Girl,” “Baby Boy,” and “Me Myself and I.” Beyoncé still performs the first three songs in her concerts.

The album went quadruple platinum in the United States. But there were still some doubts as to whether Beyoncé could survive as a solo act. Writing for the New York Times, critic Kelefa Sanneh declared that Beyoncé was “no Ashanti.”

”Maybe this album is merely a misstep, and maybe Beyoncé has yet to record the brilliant solo album that people expected. Or maybe it’s proof that she isn’t quite as versatile as she seemed,” Sanneh wrote.

Sanneh was right — Beyoncé was no an Ashanti. In reality, with Dangerously in Love, a superstar solo performer was born. There were rumors that her success meant the end of Destiny’s Child. But the group went back into the studio and released their fourth (the second featuring Kelly, Michelle, and Beyoncé) and final album, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2004. The group had another mountain of hits in “Lose My Breath,” “Girl,” and “Soldier.” Destiny Fulfilled went triple platinum in the US.

But in the midst of all this success, the group announced during the European leg of its tour in 2005 that the members would be going their separate ways after its conclusion. “We have been working together as Destiny’s Child since we were 9, and touring together since we were 14,” the group said in an exclusive statement to MTV. ”After all these wonderful years working together, we realized that now is the time to pursue our personal goals and solo efforts in earnest.”

Beyoncé ended up striking out on her own in more ways than one. In 2011, she severed her business relationship with her father. Mathew had been managing every aspect of her career and was blamed when it came to light that Muammar Qaddafi had given her $1 million to perform at a private 2009 New Year’s Eve concert.

”Ultimately, Mathew Knowles should be accountable for that decision, and I do accept responsibility,” she told Billboard afterward. She said she donated the money to Haiti relief efforts when she found out where it came from.

Beyoncé has reportedly managed her own affairs since then.

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