The world has watched as Beyonce Knowles has blossomed from a young singer with tremendous promise to a music superstar who has changed the industry.
The singer, now simply known as Beyonce, has also matured as a woman. In an email interview with Out magazine for its May Power issue, the 31-year-old wife and mother talked honestly about breaking away from professional expectations of her and of expressing her sexuality without shame.
"I think her message is really about owning your identity [and] being true to yourself," said Aaron Hicklin, the article's author.
Beyonce wrote that she'd liked to believe that her music opened up a conversation for women.
"There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality," she wrote. "There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims."
She said women can be everything they aspire to be "and still be a sexual being. It's not mutually exclusive."
Hicklin, also asked Beyonce how she felt about the fact that her record-breaking album, "Beyonce," had resonated so much with the LGBT community. He asked her whether she had intended that to happen.
In her emailed reply, Beyonce said she just set out to make "the most personal, honest and best album" that she could, while freeing herself from "the pressures and expectations" around her.
"Being that I am a woman in a male-dominated society, the feminist mentality rang true to me and became a way to personalize that struggle. … But what I'm really referring to, and hoping for, is human rights and equality, not just that between a woman and a man. So I'm very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority."
She added: "We are all the same and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be and to love who we want to love."
Beyonce made her self-titled album in secret and released it without any prior promotion in December, setting the industry abuzz. The album has set records for successful sales.