Mathew Knowles, the father of American singer Beyoncé, has said his daughter’s light skin has helped her to become more famous.
Knowles has been speaking about how racism is still an issue in the music industry, and why he believes his daughter’s music career has been boosted by her being a light-skinned Black woman.
Knowles, who managed Queen B’s career up until 2011, was discussing how skin colour affects aspiring artists trying to break into the mainstream.
He argued that it’s ‘no accident’ that most black women whose songs are played on the radio have ‘lighter skin in common.’
Speaking to Ebony magazine on his experiences of racism in the industry, he said, “When it comes to Black females, who are the people who get their music played on the pop radio? Mariah Carey, Rihanna, the female rapper Nicki Minaj, my kids (Beyoncé and Solange), and what do they all have in common?”
The reporter replied: “They’re all lighter skinned.”
“Do you think that’s an accident?’ Knowles asked. When the journalist exclaimed: “Of course not,” Knowles quipped: “So, you get it!”
Knowles is promoting his book Racism, From the Eyes of a Child, which discusses race relations from his perspective growing up in the deep South, and his account of some of the most violently racist moments in recent US history.
He also admitted that he thought his former wife and Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles, was White when he first met her, because “the shade of your Blackness was considered important” when he was growing up.
“In the deep South in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, the shade of your Blackness was considered important. So I, unfortunately, grew up hearing that message.
“I actually thought when I met Tina, my former wife, that she was White. Later, I found out that she wasn’t, and she was actually very much in tune with her Blackness.”
He explained, “I had been conditioned from childhood. With eroticized rage, there was an actual rage in me as a Black man, and I saw the White female as a way, subconsciously, of getting even or getting back. There are a lot of Black men of my era that are not aware of this thing.”
Knowles previously managed Destiny’s Child and Solange Knowles.