Matthew Knowles: From star US athlete to blockbuster actor in China
At 13 years old, Matthew Knowles travelled from South Carolina to Rio de Janeiro to perform a miming show for the people who were living on the trash heaps of the city dump. After performing, he put on a Flamengo jersey and played football with the local kids, weaving between garbage, feral dogs and pigs that were eating the trash.
“What stuck with me from that day was how happy all these people were, truly happy,” Matthew recalled. “The joy I received from this experience solidified in my mind the amazingly transformative experience of helping others in adverse circumstances.”
After Brazil, Matthew travelled to Mexico to help build an orphanage, he fed the homeless in Miami and Philadelphia, and he travelled to Zambia and Zimbabwe to pass out clothing and food.
In college, Matthew began training hard, honing his skills to become a star athlete in American football. However, just as it was beginning to look like there might be a place for him in the NFL, Matthew suffered a devastating knee injury which abruptly ended any chance of having a professional career. After pondering his options, Matthew decided his best path would be to devote himself to the humanitarian work he loved doing, so he moved to China to start teaching English.