By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
Only in Houston
When Ty Moore heard Destiny Child's first radio single, more than a decade ago, a unique kind of love was sparked — one that would take the young Houstonian to the far lengths of fandom and straight into a personal limelight of dedicated idolatry.
Today, Moore spends a substantial chunk of her life as Tyoncé, a spitting-image incarnation of H-town's own resident diva Beyoncé Knowles. Being an impersonator and onstage performer is more than just a pastime or even a career for Moore — it's a way of life.
Last month, after Beyoncé made style headlines with a new pixie haircut, Tyoncé wasted no time following suit. Within hours of the singer's big photo reveal, her self-made doppelgänger posted a nearly identical image to the official Tyoncé Moore Facebook page.
And when Beyoncé switched to a more feminine, bobbed style a few days later, her look-alike did the same. Moore explains that sometimes taking such drastic measures comes with the territory of being "Bey," salon bills be damned.
"I've been noted as one of the premier Beyoncé impersonators," Moore says. "I consider it a great honor, and I think it's important to have fidelity to her image in order to maintain that honor. This requires changing my hair as often as she does, which is very often."
Beyond the day-to-day, Moore says that emulating Beyoncé's signature look onstage is another huge commitment. (Check out her Instagram for proof.) Moore estimates it takes her a total of four hours to complete the transformation to "full-on diva" — complete with multiple costume changes.
Anyone who's had the fortune of catching Tyoncé's act knows that this gal is nothing if not precise. And not for nothing: Learning new material is an all-consuming affair for Moore, who listens to Beyoncé's music nonstop to learn the ins and outs of each recording, including "every breath, pause, ad-lib, riff, instrumental break and so on."
A trained actor, dancer and singer, Moore strives for perfection in every aspect of a Tyoncé performance. She choreographs each routine in accordance with Beyoncé's signature style, but adds a touch of her own personal flair.
"I consider being a performer an artistic discipline," Moore says. "Like other disciplines, it can and should be an effort of love, hard work and determination."
"My art requires a lot of different elements to come together," she adds. "I consider them carefully and work on bettering each performance from my last."
Moore explains that Tyoncé got her official start five years ago in The Rose Room, a Dallas show bar famous for its "gender illusion" performances. According to Moore, Tyoncé was a spur-of-the-moment improv for a talent show the club was hosting. After being persuaded by friends to give it a go, Moore got onstage, and with that, a star was born.
Of course, even back then, Moore was no stranger to the spotlight. While growing up on Houston's west side, Moore says she participated in choir, theater and dance. At 15, she graced the stage as Harry MacAfee in a production of Bye Bye Birdie at the Wortham Center.
And performing may just run in Moore's blood. Her older brother, Monroe, is the owner and founder of the City Lights Theater, and her mother and another brother, Clifton, are on its creative team. A family that makes show business a cumulative effort is just one thing Tyoncé has in common with her muse.
"Beyoncé epitomizes talent, humility and presence both on and off the stage," says Moore. "I feel personally tied to her because she exhibits characteristics my mother instilled and fostered in me — a strong family bond, a commitment to a high performance level in everything I do, and a passion and dedication for the performing arts."
Bernard Freeman sits nervously at the head table in a room full of wealthy, powerful and influential Houstonians, waiting to be introduced as the day's honored guest speaker. In the four years we have been covering him for the Houston Press, this is the first time we have seen the beloved rapper, known around the world as Bun B, look visibly intimidated.
The event is the September 25 meeting of the Houston chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the setting is Tony's, one of the city's most luxurious restaurants. This is one of those "jacket required" places, with $100,000 supercars lined up at the valet station. But this meeting doubles as a press conference announcing Bun's collaboration with the Houston Symphony for a November 14 event at Jones Hall titled "Houston In Concert Against Hate."
Both the symphony and the ADL are celebrating their centennial anniversaries, and have requested a special performance from the hip-hop legend to help spread the message of unity and diversity and help bring about an end to violence and hate. According to Bun, he and the symphony will also invite a group of 600 kids to the concert as an outreach to the community and to plant the message of peace in the next generation.