Mathew masterminded his talented daughter’s rise to fame in Destiny’s Child, before helping her get started on a solo career. Now Beyonce‘s father Mathew Knowles has spoken out about colorism in the music industry, saying that his superstar daughter and her sister Solange wouldn’t be as famous if they had darker skin.
Talking to Ebony, he said the biggest black female stars all had lighter skin.
‘When it comes to Black females, who are the people who get their music played on pop radio? Mariah Carey, Rihanna, the female rapper Nicki Minaj, my kids [Beyonce and Solange],’ he told Ebony magazine.
Since parting ways with Beyonce professionally in 2011, African-American Knowles has reinvented himself as a college professor, and is promoting a new book about race relations, titled Racism: From the Eyes of a Child.
In his interview the 66-year-old also addressed his own deep-rooted attitudes to skin color, saying that when he first met Beyonce’s mother, his ex-wife of 31 years, he assumed she was white.
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 said that his preference for white or light-skinned black women was embedded in his childhood in Gadsden, a small town near the city of Birmingham, Alabama.
Said Knowles: ‘When I was growing up, my mother used to say, “Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house.” 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.’
Music’s first family: Beyonce is seen with her husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy at last month’s Grammy Awards
And this had a lasting effect. ‘I used to date mainly White women or very high-complexion Black women that looked White… I had been conditioned from childhood.
‘With eroticized rage, there was 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.’
Beyonce’s rise to stardom began in 1988 when she won the Baby Junior Award at the Sammy Awards, a ceremony held to honour Sammy Davis Jr.
Former love:Knowles said that when he met Beyonce’s mother Tina Lawson he wrongly thought she was white; the two were married for 31 years