Beyoncé is one of the most well-known and revered artists in the music industry, but her dad Mathew Knowles feels her professional prosperity might not have come to fruition if she had a different complexion.
Mathew spoke with SiriusXM’s Urban View “The Clay Cane Show,” where he explained why he attributes her massive career, as opposed to other musicians, to having lighter skin. Discussing how lighter-toned artists often become more successful than darker-skinned ones, Mathew detailed how there’s still “segregation” in the industry. Knowles taught a college course that explored colorism in music, which researched these ideas.
Mathew said, via Variety, “Programmers, especially at pop radio, have this imagery of what beauty looks like… 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.”
He also touched on how Beyoncé’s career was affected by the perception. “I think she would have had — I think it would’ve affected her success. 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.”
Kelly Rowland has discussed embracing being comfortable in her own skin — a lesson she learned with the help of Bey’s mother, Tina Knowles. She told CNikky.com in 2013, “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’ and she just told me how beautiful I was and how rare chocolate is and how gorgeous the skin is, all of this stuff. And I was just like ‘Yeah!’ Like a light went off. So between her and my mother and then me sitting out in the sun a little more, just to be a little more chocolate. You just embrace it.”