Beyoncé’s dad, Matthew Knowles, told Ebony that his daughter might not have been as successful if she had darker skin. It may be a harsh claim, but it’s far from the first time this discussion has come up.
The former Destiny’s Child manager was interviewed by Ebony about his book Racism: From the Eyes of a Child, a book that talks about his own ingrained colorism and struggles with race and his identity. He suggested that Beyoncé might not have had the career she’s had if she had darker skin.
“When it comes to black females, who are the people who get their music played on pop radio?” he asked. “Mariah Carey, Rihanna, the female rapper Nicki Minaj, my kids [Beyonce and Solange], and what do they all have in common?”
Rapper J Cole also brought up this issue with BET in 2013, saying that he didn’t think he would have the same career if he had darker skin — and also didn’t think Barack Obama would have been president if he had darker skin. Knowles talked about his own experiences with colorism and dating white women or light-skinned black women, saying he hoped it would raise awareness of the issues.
“I had been conditioned from childhood,” he said. “With eroticised 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. There are a lot of black men of my era that are not aware of this thing.”