Mathew Knowles believes Beyoncé’s lighter skin has helped her career.
Knowles, a professor and lecturer who often speaks on the topic of colorism, shared his opinion during a Wednesday appearance on SiriusXM Urban View’s “The Clay Cane Show.” Comparing Beyonce to her close friend and Destiny’s Child band mate, Kelly Rowland, he argued that his daughter’s career would have been less successful if she had been born with darker skin.
“I think she would have had — I think it would’ve affected her success,” Knowles said when asked about the possibility. “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.”
Knowles also said the music industry is still segregated: “In the music industry there’s still segregation. Programmers, especially at pop radio, have this imagery of what beauty looks like.”
He continued: “If you look back even at Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lightened her to make her look lighter-complexioned … 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.”
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In 2013, Rowland opened up about struggling to accept her darker skin tone, admitting that as a young woman, she would try to “shield” herself from the sun. But due to encouragement from Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles-Lawson, she learned to embrace her looks.
“You know what, I had great women in my life to help me overcome that,” she said on the topic. “I remember I went through a period where I didn’t embrace my ‘chocolatiness.’ I don’t know if that’s a word, but I didn’t embrace my chocolate lifestyle. Just being a chocolate, lovely brown skin girl and being proud of that.”
She added, “I remember Tina Knowles, Bey’s mom and I remember being out in the sun and I was trying to shield myself from the sun and she said, ‘Are you crazy?’ She said ‘You are absolutely gorgeous.”