Entertainment & Arts

Mathew Knowles: Beyonce's dad calls out music industry's 'colourism'

Mathew Knowles and Beyonce Image copyright Getty Images

Beyonce's father Mathew Knowles has said the music industry must stop ignoring singers with dark skin, saying his daughter's success was easier because she's relatively light-skinned.

Radio stations and record labels are guilty of "colourism" - discriminating based on shade of skin - he said.

Asked whether Beyonce was accepted more readily because of her skin tone, he said: "It becomes easier. Absolutely."

Knowles recently published a book called Racism From the Eyes of a Child.

The 66-year-old's daughter, Solange, is also a major music star.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Beyonce and Solange have had an advantage because of their lighter skin according to Knowles

Speaking to BBC 5 live, Knowles said virtually no black pop stars with darker skin had broken through in the past decade.

He said: "This is the record industry and the music industry that has chose to have this colourism, because in America you can't name in the last 10 years... [there's]maybe one person in the last 10 years that wasn't a lighter shade of black at pop radio. It's a 100% fact."

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That is down to discrimination among the music industry rather than the music-buying public, he believes.

"It's not people who are buying them," he told 5 live's Tony Livesey. "It's the record company, it's the radio, it's a belief system. It's not the general public.

"We have to put pressure on the record industry and we have to put pressure at pop radio that they have got to change their practice."

In his book, Knowles examines discrimination in America by tracing his family's roots and telling the story of his upbringing in Alabama in the 1950s, including the fact even his mother disapproved of him having dark-skinned girlfriends.

"She never wanted me to bring home or date someone that was [with a] dark complexion," he said.

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