February 2, 2018
Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
While promoting his new book, Racism: From the Eyes of A Child, in a recent interview with EBONY, Mathew Knowles comes clean about the effects colorism had on him as black man growing up in the south.
“When I was growing up, my mother used to say, ‘Don’t ever bring no nappy-head black girl to my house,'” Knowles said. “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.”
Knowles even opened up about how the issue played a big part in his romantic relationships, including with his ex Tina Knowles-Lawson.
“I used to date mainly white women or very high-complexion black women that looked white… I had been conditioned from childhood. Within 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. 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.”
Knowles, who is a professor at Texas Southern University, said the same issue of colorism followed him when it was time to further his education, even at an HBCU (he attended Fisk University in 1972).
“They had a colorism issue there I was in the last class where they’d take out a brown paper bag, and if you were darker than the bag, you could not get into Fisk.”
The 66-year-old father of two of the world’s most famous singers also explained how he’s trying to teach his students that although it may sound like an issue of the past, colorism is still current in today’s society.
“I challenge my students at Texas Southern to think about this. 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, and what do they all have in common?”
Answering his question, the interviewer says, “They’re all lighter skinned.”
“So you get it!” Knowles said.
Kudos to Mathew for being brave enough to talk about an issue that still very much so plagues our community.
TELL US: What do you think about his experiences with colorism?