Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, former manager and manager of her group Destiny’s Child, revealed in an interview this week that having lighter skin can propel music careers, including his daughter’s.
In a Tuesday interview on “The Clay Cane Show," Knowles talked about how colorism plays into the music and entertainment industry. Colorism is discrimination based on skin color or shade of skin, according to the National Conference for Community and Justice.
Knowles discussed creating a degree program at Texas Southern University for entertainment recording management. In the program, students explore how radio music programmers prefer to promote the music of light-skinned artists. He used Alicia Keys' early success as an example.
“In the music industry, there’s still segregation, as you know,” Knowles tells Cane during the interview. “Programmers at pop radio, they have this imagery of what beauty looks like. They want that imagery to be the same as singing those records.”
The former record executive also recalled how, at the start of her career, vocalist Whitney Houston's photos were edited to make her lighter.
When Cane asked Knowles about how skin color affected Beyonce’s career, the 67-year-old was candid.
“I think she would’ve had a -- it would have affected her success,” Knowles said. “I use Kelly Rowland as an example.”
He went on to say that Rowland, who is currently a judge on “The Voice,” had more success overseas but did not have as much success in the U.S. due to her skin color.
"The great thing is, Kelly did exceptional outside of America, especially in Australia," Knowles said. "Kelly sold over 4 million records. She just got off script."
This isn't the first time Knowles has spoken about colorism.
In his 2018 book, "Racism: From the Eyes of a Child," he said internalized colorism led him to date his ex-wife and mother of Beyonce and Solange, Tina Knowles Lawson.
Listen to the full interview on SoundCloud.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.