Mathew Knowles Discusses Colorism in His New Book

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Postby GetBack » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:07 am

Mathew Knowles Says Internalized Colorism Led Him to Tina Lawson
"I actually thought when I met Tina, my former wife, that she was White."


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Mathew Knowles’ latest book, Racism: From the Eyes of a Child, discusses race relations from the perspective of a young man growing up in the deep South, with the Texas Southern professor having borne witness to some of the most blatantly racist and, quite frankly, violent moments in recent American history.

In part one of our interview with the Alabama native, Knowles discusses his experience with colorism at a prominent HBCU and his admitted eroticized rage leading him to date ex-wife, Tina Lawson. The music executive also shares his thoughts on how colorism affects aspiring artists when they are looking for mainstream acceptance.

How did facing blatant and intense racism as a child affect how you interacted with others growing up?
It was about co-existing. I grew up in a small town and never went to a Black school. I went to Catholic school with White nuns until the eighth grade, when I was one of six kids to integrate Litchfield Junior High that [at the time] had about 700 or 800 students. Then we integrated Gadsden High. At University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, I was one of the first Blacks there. I didn’t go to a Black school until my junior year of college, when I went to Fisk University.

The HBCU?

Yes. I talk about this in the book, but 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.

Really? What year was this?
It was 1972.

How have you and your family experienced colorism?
When I was growing up, my mother used to say, “Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house.” 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.

I have a chapter in the book that talks about eroticized rage. I talk about going to therapy and sharing–one day I had a breakthrough–that I used to date mainly White women or very high-complexion Black women that looked White. 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.

I had been conditioned from childhood. With 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. There are a lot of Black men of my era that are not aware of this thing.


I’m sure you noticed similar patterns of colorism once you joined the music industry.
Oh, of course! 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 [Beyoncé and Solange], and what do they all have in common?

They’re all lighter skinned.
Do you think that’s an accident?

Of course not!
So you get it!

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Postby BennyBlanco » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:11 am

Would he still say this if he was still getting paid off of Beyoncé? That's the question! He didn't say this when Kelly Rowland was dropped by Sony back in the day!
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Postby toni_pest » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:23 am

'the female rapper nicki minaj' :lol:
:)
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Postby Goldmoney » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:35 am

toni_pest wrote:'the female rapper nicki minaj' :lol:
If you can call her that
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Postby biscuits » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:42 am

He used to make Kelly, Latoya and LaTavia tan so Beyoncé would look even more lighter next to them
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Postby NothingFails » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:21 am

Funny to see him whining about it when he profited off this all the way to the bank
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Postby GetBack » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:15 am

NothingFails wrote:Funny to see him whining about it when he profited off this all the way to the bank
Well, just like his daughters, he is now trying to profit off of being proud of his roots (which is the way to go this time around) as compared to trying to be white back in the day. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Hugo » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:31 pm

You'd think Beyoncé is the only light-skinned African-American making music.

You're no smarter than a turd if you think skin colour is the reason for her success, the most revered female artist of her generation.

Another topic that could've easily been posted in Beyoncé's thread and promptly ignored, but no, GetBack has to find a way to promote his racist views and overall foolishness.

GetBack wrote:Well, just like his daughters, he is now trying to profit off of being proud of his roots (which is the way to go this time around) as compared to trying to be white back in the day.
This to me screams "Trump apostle". When did Beyoncé or Solange tried to be like white people?

"Profit off of being proud of his roots", I'm at loss for words. Are you sure you're talking about Beyoncé? The woman who cites Houston, Texas, every time she can?

I know it's my problem, I should know by now not to be bothered by the absolute nonsense you decide to spew every now and then, but you seriously irk me and I know none of this will have consequences and my response will be categorized as stan behaviour. Honestly, if you dislike her so much just find better reasons and arguments to do so, because you're coming off stupid.
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Postby KEY9481 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:52 pm

Hugo wrote:you're coming off stupid.
Because, clearly, GetBack IS stupid.
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Postby DnBLover » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:12 pm

GetBack is more obsessed about Beyoncé than actual Beyoncé fans. I'm sure he's just a stan in denial. He probably has Lemonade on repeat right now
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Postby mattsky » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:44 am

Even though I absolutely do not agree with GetBack, when I lived in Europe I heard lots of people saying that Beyonce is profiting off her blackness because now it's 'a thing' :-? By embracing her roots she basically alienated some of her white, middle-class listeners used to her pop sound. On the other hand, she became more respected by the open-minded audiences who appreciate her experiments with music, which is no longer pure pop, and killer performances.

When it comes to Mathew's claims, I would love us to have more dark-skinned female performers like Foxy Brown. There's nothing wrong about blond wigs and contouring but it would be so nice for all of the young girls to have some role models looking more like they do.
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Postby TIfan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:00 am

Whether she is light or not, she is one of the greatest live performers ever.
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Postby Jesper » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:12 am

mattsky wrote:Even though I absolutely do not agree with GetBack, when I lived in Europe I heard lots of people saying that Beyonce is profiting off her blackness because now it's 'a thing' :-? By embracing her roots she basically alienated some of her white, middle-class listeners used to her pop sound. On the other hand, she became more respected by the open-minded audiences who appreciate her experiments with music, which is no longer pure pop, and killer performances.

When it comes to Mathew's claims, I would love us to have more dark-skinned female performers like Foxy Brown. There's nothing wrong about blond wigs and contouring but it would be so nice for all of the young girls to have some role models looking more like they do.
The fun thing about that is that I don't believe those white, middle-class listeners you are talking about were ever proper fans. Had Bey spoon fed a few of the poppier/commercial cuts as singles like she did before, those people probably would still claim to be fans. The only reason some people seem to be hesitant is because you have to digest her music differently these days. You don't need to understand Lemonade as a whole to still enjoy Hold Up, All Night, Sorry or Freedom for example, you also don't need to love No Angel for example to still enjoy for example Partition, Pretty Hurts, Yoncé or XO. Bey always was 'black', but they only needed to listen to what they were spoon fed. Her music always has originated in her roots, but now it is harder for people to grasp because R&B and urban isn't hot like it was in the 90s and early 00s, and they aren't used to complete albums anymore, so out of sudden Beyoncé is 'embracing her blackness' while she always did.. And I am saying this as a man as white as snow myself, my brother is a white straight male and he still enjoys songs from Lemonade, he doesn't understand or I say atleast doesn't WANT to understand the underlaying topics of Lemonade but he still got his life during the OTR tour and played most of Lemonade a lot.
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Postby menime123 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:28 am

TIfan wrote:Whether she is light or not, she is one of the greatest live performers ever.
This. The fact people get so caught up on the fact on the colour of her skin irks me a little - the colour of her skin doesn’t stop me actually enjoying her music of Beyonce being a damn good star.

Granted, I think her recent efforts are lacking, but I recognise her growth from popstar to artist and as long as she’s expressing her truth as an artist then I’m happy to go along for the ride.

Matthew’s comments I find interesting, because it’s not really something I’ve thought about before. I know the history of female entertainers - how and why the Supremes crosses over etc - but out of the modern crop of black women my initial gut is to say he might be onto something - even Janet, Diana and Tina we’re perhaps on the lighter side.
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Postby TIfan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:30 am

I'm trying to figure out how someone that has Lil Kim as their avatar trying to call out Beyonce for her skin tone!
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Postby Hugo » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:02 am

Tracy Chapman, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and so many other dark-skinned female artists have achieved outstanding success in the music industry. I can see where he's coming from, but these articles are making it seem that if you want success as an African-American you have to be light-skinned, whereas the real problem is the current lack of of African-American female superstars altogether for reasons that are well-known.
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Postby GetBack » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:22 am

If we look at music history, the "whitewashed" urban artists are indeed perceived to be the more successful ones. Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle seemed far less acknowledged than Diana Ross who successfully transitioned to the pop charts. Berry Gordy defined that template, Diana did not just become a huge singer, she was a fashion icon and movie star as well. It's not their fault and it's not a bad thing because their culture was vying to be recognized, what Diana achieved was something that wasn't very common as it is today.

Whitney Houston was pretty much groomed to make that pop crossover (she got criticized by some fans for being too pop with 1987's Whitney) and by being a staple at MTV and with her worldwide commercial appeal, she got that edge and renowned fame over older eighties contemporaries like Anita Baker and Chaka Khan who were also ladies of soul. It actually goes beyond the skin tone. it's the overall packaging.

It's just awesome that Mathew's theory is being broken today with the release of a film like Black Panther which celebrates a rich and ethnic cast of diverse, dark women who can actually act. Even the soundtrack is not as "whitewashed urban" as it could have been with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and SZA being very involved in it.
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Postby TIfan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:50 am

GetBack wrote:If we look at music history, the "whitewashed" urban artists are indeed perceived to be the more successful ones. Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle seemed far less acknowledged than Diana Ross who successfully transitioned to the pop charts. Berry Gordy defined that template, Diana did not just become a huge singer, she was a fashion icon and movie star as well. It's not their fault and it's not a bad thing because their culture was vying to be recognized, what Diana achieved was something that wasn't very common as it is today.

Whitney Houston was pretty much groomed to make that pop crossover (she got criticized by some fans for being too pop with 1987's Whitney) and by being a staple at MTV and with her worldwide commercial appeal, she got that edge and renowned fame over older eighties contemporaries like Anita Baker and Chaka Khan who were also ladies of soul. It actually goes beyond the skin tone. it's the overall packaging.

It's just awesome that Mathew's theory is being broken today with the release of a film like Black Panther which celebrates a rich and ethnic cast of diverse, dark women who can actually act. Even the soundtrack is not as "whitewashed urban" as it could have been with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and SZA being very involved in it.
Dionne Warwick was one of the most successful solo artist of the 60s. She was not "lightskin."
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Postby GetBack » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:06 pm

Mathew forgot that the most important African-American entertainer in the R&B and hip-hop community of the last twenty five years has transcended colorism. 8-) 8-) Or maybe he again refuses to acknowledge that she has more to offer than both of his daughters' talents combined. :oops: :oops:

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Postby Hugo » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:29 pm

Mary J. Blige deserves all of her success. Unfortunately, you're not mature enough (talk about a euphemism) to understand that in order praise someone, you don't need to put another person down.

You couldn't tell a talent if it hit you in the face.
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Postby menime123 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:24 pm

Hugo wrote:Mary J. Blige deserves all of her success. Unfortunately, you're not mature enough (talk about a euphemism) to understand that in order praise someone, you don't need to put another person down.

You couldn't tell a talent if it hit you in the face.
Says the guy that comes for everyone if anyone dare say anything even slightly critical about Beyoncé :lol:
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Postby Jesper » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:01 pm

menime123 wrote:Says the guy that comes for everyone if anyone dare say anything even slightly critical about Beyoncé :lol:
Well Hugo tries to protect/defend Bey, sometimes bit too extreme, but GetBack literally comes in threads these days and throws Beyoncé literally into conversations that have nothing to do with it, just to get attention :lol:
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Postby TIfan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:08 pm

Mary J is not considered "dark skin."
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Postby Hugo » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:32 pm

menime123 wrote:
Hugo wrote:Mary J. Blige deserves all of her success. Unfortunately, you're not mature enough (talk about a euphemism) to understand that in order praise someone, you don't need to put another person down.

You couldn't tell a talent if it hit you in the face.
Says the guy that comes for everyone if anyone dare say anything even slightly critical about Beyoncé :lol:
I don't give a f what others think, most of the time I'm just messing with people because some of their claims are utterly ridiculous if you take into consideration their favourite acts. And I'm certain some wouldn't mind if I'd stan this hard for their fave instead, but I need qualité.

GetBleh just comes across has a very narrow-minded individual, who thinks Beyoncé's sole reason for success is her skin colour. He doesn't understand how disgraceful that statement is, it completely negates the woman's hard work and inherent talent. And that person coming for Solange is quite surprising too.
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Postby TIfan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:47 pm

Come thru Hugo
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