Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, she released her second solo album B'Day (2006), which contained hits "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar". Knowles also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe nominated performance in Dreamgirls (2006), and starring roles in The Pink Panther (2006) and Obsessed (2009). Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z and portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008) influenced her third album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the birth of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". Knowles took a hiatus from music in 2010, took over management of her career and explored 1970s R&B, rock and roll, and African and funk styles. As a result, her fourth album, 4 (2011), deviated towards a more traditional R&B sound.
A self-described "modern-day feminist", Knowles' songs are often characterized by themes of love, relationships and monogamy, as well as female sexuality and empowerment. On stage, her dynamic, highly-choreographed performances have led to critics hailing her as one of the best entertainers in contemporary popular music. Throughout a career spanning 15 years, she has won 17 Grammy Awards and sold over 118 million records as a solo artist and 60 million with Destiny's Child, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.The Recording Industry Association of America recognized Knowles as the top certified artist in America during the 2000s decade. In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade, the Top Female Artist of the 2000s and their Artist of the Millennium. In 2013, she was also included in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
InfluencesKnowles names Michael Jackson as her major musical influence and idol. She admires Diana Ross as an "all-around entertainer" and Whitney Houston whom she said "inspired me to get up there and do what she did." Knowles credits Mariah Carey's singing and her song "Vision of Love" as influencing her to begin practicing vocal runs as a child, as well as helping her pursue a career as a musician. Her other musical influences include Cher, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Sade, Aaliyah, Donna Summer, Mary J. Blige,Janet Jackson, Anita Baker and Rachelle Ferrell.
The feminism and female empowerment themes on Knowles' second solo album B'Day were inspired by her role in Dreamgirls and by singer Josephine Baker. Knowles' paid homage to Baker by performing "Déjà Vu" at the 2006 Fashion Rocks concert wearing Baker's trademark mini-hula skirt embellished with fake bananas. Knowles' third solo album I Am... Sasha Fierce was inspired by Jay-Z and especially by Etta James, whose "boldness" inspired Knowles to explore other musical genres and styles. Her fourth solo album 4 was inspired by Fela Kuti, 1990s R&B, Earth, Wind & Fire, DeBarge, Lionel Richie, Teena Marie with additional influences by The Jackson 5, New Edition, Adele, Florence and the Machine, and Prince.
Knowles has stated that she is personally inspired by US First Lady Michelle Obama, saying "She proves you can do it all" and she has described Oprah Winfrey as "the definition of inspiration and a strong woman." She also has discussed how Jay-Z is a continuing inspiration to her, both with what she describes as his lyrical genius and in the obstacles he has overcome in his life. Knowles has expressed admiration for the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, posting in a letter "what I find in the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, I search for in every day in music...he is lyrical and raw".Furthermore, Beyoncé has revealed that Madonna inspired her to take control of her own career. She commented: "I think about Madonna and how she took all of the great things she achieved and started the label and developed other artists. But there are not enough of those women."