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Mathew Knowles Says If Beyonce Had Darker Skin, It Would Have 'Affected Her Success'

Mathew Knowles Says If Beyonce Had Darker Skin, It Would Have 'Affected Her Success'

Beyonce‘s father, Mathew Knowles, is discussing colorism in the music industry.

The 67-year-old record executive and talent manager sat down for an interview on SiriusXM’s The Clay Cane Show on Wednesday (June 19).

During the interview, Mathew talked about the perception of lighter and darker skin tone.

“In the music industry there’s still segregation. Programmers, especially at pop radio, [have] this imagery of what beauty looks like. They wanted that imagery to be the same as singing those records,” he explained.

“If you look back, even like Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lightened her to make her look lighter in complexion…there’s a perception, colorism, the lighter that you are, the smarter, the more economically…there’s a perception all around the world about color, even with black folks.”

When asked whether he thought Beyonce would have been affected if she had darker skin, he said: “I think she would have had – I think it would have 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 four million records. She just got off script.”

SiriusXM’s The Clay Cane Show airs weekdays from 12-1 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Urban View channel 126.

Listen to his interview…

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Photos: Getty Images
Posted to: Beyonce Knowles, Mathew Knowles

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  • Stoni

    Nothing new here just another black crying about their skin color

  • andi

    Rhianna is officially the world’s richest female musician. I don’t see her people complaining about the darkness of skin.

  • damian gonzales

    Playing the racial card to obtain benefits …, again.

  • mahbelle

    complete bullshit.

  • cutitout

    Rihanna is the same shade as Beyonce and the same thing goes for her…. If she was darker, probably would not have made it in the music industry.

  • cutitout

    He is not complaining. How dumb are you. Racist.

  • cutitout

    exactly how is what he said playing the racial card? Give me a list of black artist darker than Beyonce who have been as worldwide successful. We will wait…..

  • YaThink

    I believe every word he is saying. It’s even true in the Latino races. Many connect fairer skin with greater beauty. A woman from Chile really gave me an earful once.

  • Her Royal Bossness

    He’s right though 😂

  • SFGal2015

    NO ~ she would of been BLEACHING IT just like all other black african american entertainers…

  • YaThink

    They don’t all do that… and you know that.

  • jh7058622

    What the actual fuck are you talking about? No lies were detected in the making of his response.

  • Whitney

    I 1000% agree with him, and props to him for saying that. Esp coming from her father, bc why would he say that it doesn’t help Beyonce to hear that her skin color is a factor in her success. I always wondered why Kelly Rowland was never as successful, shes just as talented & beautiful like Beyonce but has never made it in the way Beyonce has.

  • cuzjcacjo

    interesting. it’s actually a slap against his own daughter, the belief that her talent alone would not have shone through. did he have to use kelly as an example? is it possible the world didn’t embrace her because gee, maybe she isn’t *that* great

  • cuzjcacjo

    and newscasters. they morph from black to light the longer they’re on the air. it’s kinda funny. they got the job as black, pretty sure they can remain that way. they just think they need to be lighter.

  • Gina

    Rihanna is light-skinned, which is what contributed to her success. Not to mention the novelty of her being a black girl with green eyes.

  • Gina

    …or he could be saying that no matter how talented one is, skin tone has an impact on ones success

  • Gina

    …or he could be saying that no matter how talented one is, skin tone has an impact on ones success

  • Anita

    I’m so sorry that someone from my country treated you badly. But I also agree that what he said is true even though it shouldn’t… and this is only one of the reasons why all societies need to change!

  • Anita

    I’m so sorry that someone from my country treated you badly. But I also agree that what he said is true even though it shouldn’t… and this is only one of the reasons why all societies need to change!

  • MyName

    I read something awhile back that said that Destiny’s Child was meant to be a vehicle for Beyonce and the other girls knew it. Beyonce’s parents created their daughter’s brand and stopped at nothing. Darker skin wouldn’t have changed their drive.

  • jadee1

    Whitney Houston was the most awarded female artist of all time and is still one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide while Beyonce has sold 100 million. She was much darker than Beyonce.

  • YaThink

    She wasn’t mean to me, but she had a lot of hangups about race and skin color. She worshipped fair skin and people with “light eyes,” went on and on about their beauty. It was sad to me.

  • YaThink

    Good looks also matter. If you’re physically attractive, it counts for a lot in society. Some people–no matter what color they are, they are beautiful and they walk around feeling just fine because they know it and everybody else knows it too.

  • cutitout

    Whitney was famous but her fame was no where near the fame that Beyonce has and what many white people do not know is, the label white-washed Whitney in other ways, She always wore wigs, the type of music she made was more in line with white artists at the time than black so much so that the black community did not completely embrace her until after she married Bobby Brown and began behaving like the jersey girl she truly was before Clive Davis primed her for white pop success.

  • cutitout

    It is not a slap, Beyonce knows it is true as well. It does not mean she is not talented, it just means the world and the system is so sick with racism and colorism that it does not always recognize talent unless it is in a certain package.

  • cutitout

    It is not about drive, Doors would have been closed. magazine covers, endorsement deals, etc. would have been unavailable to her. he was talking about the system.

  • cutitout

    It is not about drive, Doors would have been closed. magazine covers, endorsement deals, etc. would have been unavailable to her. he was talking about the system.

  • jadee1

    Whitney was way more famous than Beyonce and sold 100 million more records worldwide than Beyonce to prove it. You specifically said to name an artist darker than Beyonce who has been as successful worldwide. Now you are changing it based on genre of music and how “white” or “black” their music and look was.

    Whitney didn’t always wear wigs. On her first album, her hair was natural and she was beautiful. Her looks did not change the success of that album with global sales of 25 million. US 10 million, Canada 10 million, UK 6 million, and a few more countries where it went Platinum and Gold. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitney_Houston_albums_discography

    Beyonce’s first album sales worldwide were 11 million total, a huge drop compared to Whitney. US 5.1 million, UK 1.2 million. Her two top selling albums are B’Day and I Am…Sasha Fierce which both sold 8 million worldwide. She is nowhere near Whitney’s numbers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyonc%C3%A9_discography

    She, and many other black artists wear wigs, including Beyonce. Many have stated that they were wigs so they can wear different hairstyles without damaging their own hair. It is a choice. Also, Whitney did not have the influence of social media nor did she dress provocatively to sell more albums yet she garnered huge worldwide success and acclaim based on her talent.

    Also, Whitney’s music career went downhill after marrying Bobby Brown due to drug use. Pretty sad that you say the black community only embraced her when she was with Bobby Brown which was the time when her life was in turmoil and going downhill due to drug addiction.

  • MyName

    It is about the drive because once you get to a certain point then the other issues don’t always matter. The magazine covers came later and have been known, especially years ago to lighten dark skin and tan pale caucasians. The others in Destiny’s Child were darker than Beyonce and they did well in the group. That group launched her career and brought followers. The only color the marketers see when that happens is green. Diana Ross was featured and did better than the other Supremes because Berry Gordy had drive for her.

  • MyName

    Some people often enjoy something different of what they’re used to seeing. It doesn’t mean they dislike themselves or others.

  • MyName

    Whitney versus Beyonce also depends on the age of the fan and that Beyonce has had the benefit of social media. I prefer Whitney Houston. Nothing against Beyonce. It’s just about personal preference. I see Whitney as having been more of a musical artist and Beyonce as more of an image and brand. I’m not saying Beyonce doesn’t have talent but I believe she has been more marketed than anything.

  • MyName

    Lupita Nyongo, Winnie Harlow, Sheryl Swoopes, Dominique Dawes, Vonetta Flowers, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Cicely Tyson, Regina King, Robin Givens, etc.
    Thank goodness all those women managed to live their lives and excel. There’s lighter women of various races who haven’t been as successful. Instead of creating more drama by focusing on the negative, let’s instead celebrate the positive.

  • YaThink

    That is true. But the lady I’m talking about was racist. She really put down Mexicans and, if you didn’t know better, you would swear she was Mexican. She was also not attractive, but she would talk about other races being ugly.

    I think her biggest problem was that she felt small and insignificant in this country. I’ve seen other foreigners acting like this. That’s why we should go out of our way to make people who come here feel welcome.

  • damian gonzales

    Beyonce’s thing is not successful based on her talent, it’s just media exposure, nothing more. There are many black artists who are well known around the world for their musical contributions, that these artists are not all day on TV and in the media is not does not mean that they are not recognized or that they are not successful, Beyonce is just a product of marketing, nothing more.
    People who see “racism” everywhere and accuse everyone else of being “racist” usually only project their own racist thoughts.

  • cuzjcacjo

    or maybe it’s just an excuse that people use when they don’t succeed. in her case she did, so even saying that perhaps she wouldn’t have makes it racist when it doesn’t have to be. she was a success, leave it at that. he’s speculating about something that didn’t happen. so, honestly, we can’t know if that would have been the case of not. there have been many successful dark african amercican female performers.

  • MyName

    Beyonce’s mother has said that the others in Destiny’s Child knew the group was a vehicle for Beyonce. Her parents’ determination made her into more of a star than the others.

  • MyName

    She wouldn’t have appeared as light without having lightened her hair. Nicole Beharie is gorgeous and looks lighter toned when she has lighter hair. Caucasians alter skin tone, hair, weight, photo shop, etc. This isn’t an issue with only African Americans.As another poster mentioned, it’s mostly about beauty more than anything else.