The UH Friends of Women’s Studies organization recognized Tina Knowles, best known as Beyoncé Knowles’ mother, as part of their 15th annual “The Living Archives” series in the M.D. Anderson Library on Monday.
The building synonymous with peaceful studying and reserved students turned into absolute chaos with extra security once word spread that a surprise appearance by Beyoncé herself was here on campus in support of her mother.
However, the main attention inside the Rockwell Pavilion was exclusively dedicated and focused on the senior Knowles as she was interviewed by a journalist from the Houston Chronicle and recorded in front of a live audience.
“The Living Archives” series, going on throughout the Fall semester, celebrates women who have achieved successful careers and have contributed to the history of Texas women.
Tina Knowles was there as an honoree acknowledged for her role as an influential woman within the state as well as the Houston area.
Along with her famous daughter, Tina Knowles also had several other family members present in the audience to support her.
The fortunate members within the limited audience were exposed to more than just a woman who often appears as an assistant to Beyoncé at award shows and red carpet affairs.
The interview started off with Knowles giving insight into her upbringing in Galveston as well as her childhood in a household full of siblings.
“Growing up in Galveston was really great. I was the youngest of seven brothers and sisters and my sister had eight children. My house was opened to all the kids and it was just very fun up there,” Knowles said.
The soon-to-be-grandmother-of-two also expressed that as a child, she never felt as if her family was poor.
“My fondest memory of my mom was just that she could take nothing and improve it into something. We didn’t have any money, but she made way,” Knowles said as she briefly became emotional.
Today, Knowles runs the House of Deréon fashion brand that she developed with her daughter Beyoncé and also includes the sister lines Deréon and Deréon Girls.
“I never dreamed that I would get to be doing the things that I’m doing today. It’s just amazing. I always knew that I wanted to make women feel beautiful.”
The businesswoman also advised against the preconceived glamorous thoughts of working in the entertainment industry.
“Sometimes I’m sitting in a room with ten suits and I’m the only woman there and it gets tough because it is a challenge to get the respect from the people that you deal with sometimes,” said Knowles.
“It’s very challenging, but I just keep fighting and being positive and try to stay on my game.”
During the interview, Knowles’ philanthropic efforts were also addressed. She runs a total of four foundations including the Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments, a low-rent 43-room temporary shelter and housing complex right here in Houston.
Knowles also offered her advice for young students who are just beginning their collegiate career.
“Stay focused. Surround yourself with positive people,” she said. “Look at the positive side. Do internships.
“It’s not always about the money; it should be about passion. Don’t give up. You need to be able to do something you love.”