In the '80s, Mathew Knowles enjoyed a six-figure salary and the status of one of the few African-American sales executives at Xerox. But when he heard his daughter Beyonc -- a musical prodigy before puberty -- sing in a talent contest, he knew he had a star on his hands.
He left his job, took community-college classes on the music industry and, before long, unleashed Destiny's Child to ravenous audiences in 1990. Under his Music World Entertainment label, the trio of Beyonc, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams have sold over 40 million records worldwide -- more than any other female group in history. Beyonc herself boasts five Grammys and three movies.
In 2003, Mathew Knowles joined forces with the London-based Sanctuary Group to form Music World/Sanctuary Urban Holding, Inc. His master plan of re-creating Barry Gordy's Motown in Houston has been realized: Every aspect of his label's operations -- talent development, promotion, production and even stage equipment -- lies within his Midtown compound.
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Now, as the world looks to Houston as one of urban music's strongholds, we can thank Destiny's dad for keeping us on the map.