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The Year in Music 2016 — Beyoncé Courts Controversy with Super Bowl Performance, Is Celebrated for Lemonade


ABC/Image Group LAIt seemed as though the whole world got in formation in 2016 for Beyoncé. Dubbed one of the best-selling music artists of all time, every move the iconic singer made dominated headlines. However, she truly set tongues wagging at the top of the year with her Super Bowl halftime show performance and the release of her critically acclaimed sixth studio album, Lemonade

— February 7, Beyoncé performed her latest single, “Formation” during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. The singer’s performance was considered controversial, since her backup dancers dressed in outfits reminiscent of the Black Panther Party. Shortly after, Beyoncé announced she was going on her Formation World Tour. 

— In April, Beyoncé unleashed her tour de force visual album, Lemonade, debuting it on HBO as a short film. The clip highlighted many themes and issues from the entertainer’s past, including the alleged infidelity of her husband, Jay Z. One lyric from the album in particular, “Becky with the good hair,” also led to an online witch hunt by Beyoncé’s fans for the woman who allegedly came between Bey and Jay, whom they believed was New York-based fashion designer Rachel Roy who denied the allegations. Rita Ora also became embroiled in the drama as the object of Jay’s past affections, but the British singer also said the rumors were false.  Also in April, Beyoncé kicked off her Formation World Tour in Miami and announced the release of her first-ever activewear clothing line, Ivy Park. 

— In May, Beyoncé’s Lemonade landed on the Billboard 200 album chart at #1, with 653,000 in sales and streams. The studio project also topped the publication’s magazine’s sales-based R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with 485,000 in pure album sales. Both accomplishments gave the entertainer her sixth number-one on both charts. All twelve songs on the album also charted on the Billboard Hot 100, with “Formation” in the lead at #10. During the month, Beyoncé also earned five BET award nominations, including one for Video of the Year, for “Formation,” two Teen Choice Awards, a spot on Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Best Albums of 20216 So Far” list, and even the approval of Hillary Clinton

— June ushered in another award for Beyoncé to add to her mantel — the coveted CFDA Fashion Award. Lemonade officially went platinum and became the year’s third-biggest selling album, following Adele‘s 25 and Drake‘s Views. Beyoncé collected four trophies at the BET Awards, including Video of the Year and Best Female R&B/Pop Artist. During the ceremony, audiences were treated to an onstage performance from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar for their song, “Freedom.” 

— In July, Beyoncé wrote a letter on her official website, titled “FREEDOM,” to express her views on the recent shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The singer and Jay Z were also named by Forbes as the year’s highest paid-celebrity couple, having made $107.5 million combined, with Beyoncé also making Adweek‘s elite Creative 100 List. Lemonade earned four Emmy Award nominations, including one for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special, and 11 MTV VMA nominations.

— In August, Beyoncé attended President Barack Obama‘s 55th birthday party with Jay Z. She also revealed a new clothing and accessories line featuring pictures of herself, lemons, and lyrics from songs on Lemonade. During the MTV VMAs, she gave an epic Lemonade medley performance and became the night’s biggest winner, with eight awards, surpassing Madonna as the most decorated VMA artist of all time. 

— In September, Beyoncé celebrated turning 35 with a Soul Train-themed birthday party. She also landed on Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women of 2016 list, People‘s 10 Most Stylish list, and StubHub’s Top 10 Fall Concerts List, and scored five MTV EMA nods, leading the list.

— In October, Beyoncé wrapped up her Formation tour in New Jersey, with help of Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and Serena Williams all joining her onstage. She also received four American Music Award nominations, including Tour of the Year. Her Formation World Tour was reported to have earned more than $250 million. Beyoncé was also announced as a finalist for the 2016 Billboard Touring Awards and was included in the list of Forbes‘ Highest-Paid Women in Music. Along with Jay Z, the couple capped the month off by hosting a campaign fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.

— Beyoncé started November with a performance, alongside the Dixie Chicks, at the 50th annual Country Music Awards, singing “Daddy Lessons,” from Lemonade, which was named Album of the Year by Rolling Stone. She also made Ebony‘s Power 100 list and nabbed three People’s Choice award nominations. The artist won an American Music Award for Tour of the Year, took home four Soul Train Awards, and was declared the fourth-most-followed person on Instagram by the social media platform. 

— In December, Beyoncé led the 59th annual Grammy nominations with nine nods, including Album of the Year for Lemonade, plus Record and Song of the Year for her single, “Formation.” She also made the short list for TIME Person of the Year, which went to President-elect Donald Trump, topped Entertainment Weekly‘s Best Albums of 2016 at #1 with Lemonade, and led the pack of recording artists nominated for NAACP Image Awards, with seven nominations. 

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