Mathew Knowles, known for going half on both a Beyoncé and a Solange, is reportedly developing a Broadway musical based on one of the greatest girl groups of all time, in whose success he was instrumental, Destiny’s Child.
According to Knowles’ website, Survivor: The Destiny’s Child Musical will “bare an honest depiction of the achievements, obstacles, and evolution of the world’s most iconic girl group and the mastermind behind them.”
Knowles, naturally, is the mastermind.
“I want to pull back the curtain,” Knowles says. “I feel it’s time to give the world an opportunity to hear, see, and feel the victories and failures that I’ve had as a husband, father, and manager who risked everything in pursuit of fulfilling dreams—those of mine and others.”
The musical—another in a long line of bio-musicals from the likes of Cher, Donna Summer, and Tina Turner to Carole King, The Go Gos, and Gloria Estefan—will be told from Knowles’ perspective. From the sound of it, Papa Knowles is getting a lot of the show’s sympathy:
Survivor: The Destiny’s Child Musical will start its roller coaster tale at the point of humble beginnings and travel through a captivating storyline addressing the layers of evolution—good and bad—that Knowles faced during his pioneering climb into the music industry. Ultimately, the story shares the message that building a dream takes sacrifice, even at the cost of everything and everyone you love.
Beyoncé famously split with her manager dad in 2011, the same year the divorce between her father and mother was finalized. Musical lore has it the couple sacrificed everything to ensure the success of Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and the other DC girls since the group’s inception in 1990—an investment that ultimately paid off in spades.
To help bring his vision to the stage, Knowles has recruited “multi-hyphenate writer, producer, director, and Houston native” Je’Caryous Johnson, known for the Snoop Dogg bio-musical Redemption of a Dogg and a production I’m actually interested in seeing: Set It Off Live, “a dynamic stage adaptation of the 1996 Warner Brothers cult film that starred Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Vivica A. Fox.”
Of course, so much of that film’s appeal lay in its fantastic original soundtrack, and the same can be said about Destiny’s Child; a musical about them would clearly be useless without Destiny’s Child songs and god knows who owns the rights to that priceless catalog.
Survivor: The Destiny’s Child Musical is slated for 2020, with the production premiering in the group’s hometown of Houston “with plans for Broadway, London’s West End and, eventually, its own world tour.”
So, now that we have the preliminary details—some thoughts.
It’s about a girl group with a rotating cast of members (ostensibly The Supremes); it had Beyoncé; it also had actual Broadway divas in Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni (rhymes with Tony ’cause she has one) Rose; and a legendary score. Sure, Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen are no Je’Caryous Johnson, but who is?
Second, if Queen Bey’s critically-lauded Netflix musical documentary Homecoming has taught me anything it’s: 1.) Your fave could literally never; and 2.) Beyoncé has an iron grip on her image and her narrative and I’m sure the Knowles-Carter jurisprudence is well into preparing its litigious Bey stings.
Third, do we even need a Destiny’s Child musical, let alone one told from Matthew Knowles’ perspective? That’s like getting the Jackson 5 story from Joe Jackson, which would surely downplay some of the more monstrous things that have been said and written about him over the years; or if What’s Love Got to Do with It? was about how Ike Turner didn’t have a coke problem.
But also, as stated before, Beyoncé has done an amazing job at crafting her own narrative and legacy, and her productions are infinitely more satisfying and elaborate than most Broadway shows. A Destiny’s Child musical sounds not only like a bad idea—seriously, enough with the pop bio-musicals—but also superfluous.
The story has already been told and is continuing to be told by the person whose perspective we most seek anyway.