Believe it or not, there was a time before Beyoncé Knowles had become the queen of the world. Back in 2001, before she had her own solo career and received acclaim as one of the biggest artists in popular music, Beyoncé was still one third of the girl group Destiny's Child, and had just begun to tip her toe into acting for the first time. And now, everyone in the Beyhive will get the opportunity to watch Beyoncé's very first acting role, because Beyoncé's first movie Carmen: A Hip Hopera is coming to Netflix this weekend.
Many fans assume that Beyoncé's first acting gig came when she played Foxxy Cleopatra in 2002's spy comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember, but actually, she had her first starring role a year as the lead part in MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera. The made-for-TV production is a remake of the classic, 19th century opera Carmen with a modern twist. Beyoncé starred in the movie as Carmen Brown, an aspiring actress with a knack for attracting trouble. That trouble comes in the form of police sergeant Derek Hill, played by Mekhi Phifer, whom Carmen seduces to avoid arrest and then becomes more intimately involved with to the point where he becomes obsessed with her. The movie also stars a bunch of other big names in the music industry, including Mos Def, Wyclef Jean, Bow Wow, Da Brat, and Rah Digga.
Netflix revealed that Carmen: A Hip Hopera will be available to stream beginning on Saturday, June 1. The film is the second movie directed by Robert Townsend that the streaming site has added recently, after Netflix added Townsend's comedy B.A.P.S. a month earlier.
Carmen: A Hip Hopera is notable as being Beyoncé's acting debut. When the film premiered in the summer of 2001, Beyoncé's girl group Destiny's Child was at the top of their game thanks to the success of previous singles like "Say My Name" and "Bills, Bills, Bills." The group had actually released their third studio album, Survivor, just one week before Carmen: A Hip Hopera premiered, and that album would propel them to even more success with hit singles like "Survivor" and "Bootylicious." It would not be for another two years that Beyoncé would go solo and release her debut solo album Dangerously in Love.
Beyoncé also went on to continue acting following her debut in Carmen: A Hip Hopera. She began with comedies like Austin Powers and The Pink Panther, and then found her breakout role as Deena Jones in 2006's Dreamgirls. She followed that up by playing Etta James in the biographical drama Cadillac Records, and then starred in the 2009 psychological thriller Obsessed. Although Beyoncé has taken a step back from acting to focus on her music for the past several years, she is returning to star in one of the buzziest movies of 2019 as the voice of Nala in The Lion King.
But before you go see Beyoncé get her lioness on in The Lion King, Netflix is giving us all the perfect opportunity to look back at her very first acting role. So be sure to check out Carmen: A Hip Hopera on Netflix when it begins streaming on June 1.