Mathew Knowles insists that Beyonce’s success wouldn’t have been possible if she wasn’t light-skinned.
The former manager and dad said this during his appearance on SiriusXM’s “The Clay Cane Show,” where he explained how having lighter skin helped advance his daughter’s career.
“In the music industry there’s still segregation,” Knowles details. “Programmers, especially at pop radio, [have] this imagery of what beauty looks like. They wanted that imagery to be the same as singing those records.”
He further added how companies associated with the music industry distort the image of black women so that they appeal to these standards.
“If you look back even at Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lightened her to make her look lighter-complexioned,” Knowles continued. “Because there’s a perception and a colorism: the lighter that you are, the smarter and more economically [advantaged]… There’s a perception all around the world about color — even with black folks, there’s a perception.”
Which is why he feels like this “perception” worked in his daughter’s favour. He then compared the trajectories of Beyoncé’s career and that of her Destiny’s Child bandmate, Kelly Rowland.
“I think she would have had — I think it would’ve affected her success,” Knowles said when asked if colourism had an impact on his daughter. “And I use Kelly Rowland as an example. She’s a great example. But you know, the great thing is, Kelly did exceptional outside of America, especially in Australia. Kelly sold over 4 million records. She just got off-script.”
This is not the first time Knowles has addressed the issue of colourism. In Feb. of 2018, he made headlines when he admitted to growing up with self-hatred and how that influenced him to find lighter skinned women more attractive.
“When I was growing up, my mother used to say, ‘Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house,'” Knowles told the Washington Post. “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.”
Listen to the full episode below.