Miss Tina Knowles-Lawson Explained Where Beyoncé's Name Comes From

The secret's out.

Beyoncé's name may sound unique — fitting for the superstar — but her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson explained that her now-famous name is actually a family heirloom. During an appearance on the first episode of In My Head with Heather Thomson podcast, Knowles-Lawson revealed that Beyoncé was actually her maiden name and that other family members have versions of the name thanks to a clerical error.

"A lot of people don’t know that Beyoncé is my last name. It's my maiden name," Knowles-Lawson said. "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."

Beyonce and Tina Knowles-Lawson
Gareth Fuller - PA Images / Contributor

Because the name was so different from the Lindas and Smiths, hospital staff had trouble spelling it, which explains why some of Knowles-Lawson's family members have it spelled Beyince.

"I think me and my brother Skip were the only two that had B-E-Y-O-N-C-E," she said of the last name," she said. "It’s interesting — and it shows you the times — 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.'"

And when Knowles-Lawson's mother tried to get the misspellings corrected, she said that because she was Black, hospital staff refused. Knowles-Lawson added that knowing that her mother tried and failed to make things right made things even worse, because she couldn't even get her kids' names spelled right because she was seen as a second-class citizen.

"So I said, 'Well, why didn't you argue and make them correct it?'" Knowles-Lawson added. "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.' "So we all have different spellings. People don't even put the two together and know that's the same name."

Tina Knowles-Lawson is very different from Celestine Beyoncé. She changed her name after she married Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé's father. After Knowles's divorce in 2011, she married Richard Lawson in 2015 and changed her name again.

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