Matthew Knowles Says Colorism Impacted Both Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland's Careers

June 21, 2019
Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle Williams pose in lavender gowns.

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images


By Cameron Jenkins

Beyoncé has been killing the game since her early days with Destiny's Child.

In a recent interview, her father, Matthew Knowles, said that could be due to her light complexion.

"In the music industry there's still segregation. Programmers, especially at pop radio, have this imagery of what beauty looks like." Knowles said on Sirius XM's "The Clay Cane Show".

He discussed his time teaching a college course that took an in depth look at the colorism within the music industry.

"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 said.

When Clay Cane asked him how those perceptions played out with Destiny's Child and his own daughter, Knowles acknowledged that having a darker complexion could have hindered her career trajectory.

“I think she would have had — I think it would’ve affected her success," he said.

He went on to talk about the implications of colorism in the industry on Kelly Rowland's career.

"I use Kelly Rowland as an example," Knowles said. "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."

Rowland has addressed the issue of colorism before, according to Page Six.

“You know what, I had great women in my life to help me overcome that. I remember I went through a period where I didn’t embrace my ‘chocolatiness.’” she said.


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