Seven Moving Life Lessons From Essence Fest Durban Speaker Tina Knowles-Lawson
Jason LaVeris

Essence Fest Durban is around the corner and we have some great speakers who will be taking over the speakers stage [LINK:

One of those gracing us with her knowledge is designer and philanthropist Ms. Tina Knowles-Lawson, also best known as mother to Beyoncé and Solange.

Before her daughters became one of the most famous sisters in the world, she was a businesswoman who started a successful hair salon in Houston, and the designer behind many of Destiny’s Child’s first outfits.

In recent years, Knowles-Lawson has made a name for herself as an inspirational speaker and she’ll be bringing some of the wisdom to Durban.

Here are some gems she has shared with us in the past:

Sisterhood is important in helping figure out your goals: Born to humble beginnings, there were never any high expectations for Tina to do much with her life. But her brother’s fiancé, Jess, helped Tina realize what she wanted.

“She was really, to be honest with you, the first person who would say to me, ‘What’s your plan?’” Ms. Tina told the Essence Festival New Orleans crowd this summer. “And I’m like, ‘My plan is just to get out of Galveston.’ As far as what I wanted to do, I said, ‘I think I want to do something in fashion or makeup. I want to make women feel better.’ She was the person who asked me that question.”

Keep hustling towards your goals, no matter how long it takes to achieve: Ms. Tina always knew she wanted to go to go to beauty school. But with two young daughters, it at times seemed difficult. But she kept at it.

“I would go to beauty school and I would hate being away from Beyoncé. I would go for a few months and then I would stay home with her for a few months. It took me a long time to finish, but I was like, I’m going to finish school and I’m going to open my business and I won’t ever be in this position again. I dropped Solange off at her grandma’s in Alabama because she was a newborn. I wouldn’t trust her with a babysitter so my mother-in-law helped me. Beyoncé was in school by then so it worked out.”

It’s okay to just wallow in the pain sometimes, but pick yourself right back up: The divorce was a blow to her self-esteem, and it took her a while to get back on her feet. But that’s okay, Ms. Tina told an audience in Houston:

“Well, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, what you’ve done, what you look like, or what you have. You’re a person, you’re a human being. And when something strikes you like that, it takes the breath out of you.But my fight came back. I let myself feel sorry for myself for a minute and then I said, “you know, I’m so blessed to have all the opportunities that I have. And I don’t have the right to feel sorry.”

You have to be a fighter to get what you want:

Ms. Tina has always fought for herself, but she realized that with Destiny’s Child she had to be especially ferocious.

“In the music business if you’re not a fighter you will get walked all over. Just coming into the business and being fairly responsible for protecting the girls I had to be a fighter. I had to fight with people not to curse around them or not to smoke weed in the studio. I’ve had to be aggressive…I’m a nice southern lady, but I can turn into something else when I have to fight.”

You have to take care of yourself too: As a mother, it is easy to keeping to others, Ms. Tina says but “just take baby steps in doing something just for yourself and eventually you will become important.”

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“You’re not important when you’re the last in line and you’re giving to your kids and you’re giving to everybody around you,” she adds. “You’re not really valuing yourself, and to tell you the truth, nobody else is going to value you if you don’t value yourself first.”

Bitterness should not have a place in your life: After her divorce from Matthew Knowles, she had to learn to pick herself back up and let go of the anger.

“Now I get angry like everybody else. I can think of some hellacious thoughts, but they quickly pass. If you hold onto stuff it holds on to you. It just weighs you down and it’s a waste of energy. Why would I waste my energy on being bitter and hating when I could be using it to go out and do some really good stuff, you know?”

You have to have self-confidence: Once divorced and dating, many friends asked if she was worried that people would date her for the fame: “When I look at me, I think I’m a good catch.Why wouldn’t somebody like me for me? I’m a pleasant person. I’m an intelligent person. I’m a good person. I’m not bad looking. Why wouldn’t I be able to get somebody to like me? Why would they like me because of my daughters?”

“I think when you value yourself and respect yourself everything else just falls into place.”

Catch Ms. Tina at Essence Festival New Orleans Nov. 8th to the 13th at the International Convention Center and Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa.