‘Ebony’ Exclusive: Beyonce’s Light Skin Made Her Famous, Mathew Knowles Dated Her Mom Thinking Tina Was White

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Mathew Knowles has given an exclusive interview to Ebony that is getting plenty of attention. Beyonce’s dad had a lot to say about growing up with racism and colorism, some of it coming from his own family along with society. Knowles claimed that his own mother instructed him to never bring home a “nappy head” black girl, a thought pattern that influenced Mathew to select white women or lighter-skinned black women for his partners.

According to TMZ, Knowles claimed that African-American women in the music industry are generally light-skinned, like Mariah Carey, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj. Mathew speaks about his experiences in the upcoming book, Racism From the Eyes of a Child.

Mathew also confessed that he believed his ex-wife Tina Knowles Lawson was a white woman upon meeting Tina. Later he would discover that she was a woman very much in touch with her blackness. As reported by the Washington Post, Beyonce’s dad spoke about the dearth of darker-skinned black women in the music industry.

Born in 1952, the 66-year-old Mathew was raised in Gadsden, Alabama. His experiences in the south led Knowles to hold a prejudice against darker-skinned black women, since shade was so important. Even attending the historically black Fisk University didn’t help his viewpoint. Instead, Knowles said that people darker than a brown paper bag could not attend Fisk.

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Mathew called it “eroticized rage” when he viewed dating white women as a way to “get even” or “get back” against racism.

Beyonce has often sung about her mother’s experiences with her dad, in songs like “Ring Off,” which spoke of Tina staring in the mirror and wishing her husband would say she was beautiful. Beyonce praised her mother in the song for finally taking her ring off and discovering her own beauty and sexiness, absent of her once long-term husband.

Tina was married to Mathew for 31 years prior to the duo going through a divorce in 2011.

Meanwhile, Mathew’s latest interview has put the focus on a controversial issue that permeates the black community. And Knowles isn’t alone in discussing light skin favoritism. Rapper J. Cole also spoke of “brainwashing that tells us that light skin is better, it’s subconsciously in us, whether we know it or not.”

Beyonce Knowles in 2001.
Beyonce Knowles in 2001.Featured image credit: Getty Images