Colorism has been a sensitive topic for many years, and it’s no different in the music industry. Tory Lanez recently spoke out against the issue, but has since been questioned on his intentions or if it was just a publicity stunt. However, it managed to bring up the dialogue about colorism in the media and in hip hop. In a recent interview with Clay Cane on SiriusXM Urban View, Mathew Knowles, father to Beyoncé and Solange, made sure to talk about the subject.
The host of the show shared a study conducted by Texas Southern University students that showed the 15-year period of artists getting played and those who have gained notoriety. The study showed that the Top-40 airplay artists who were black women were all lighter-skinned, mentioning the likes of Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé as some examples.
“In the music industry, there’s still segregation, as you know,” Knowles said. “There used to be the black division, race records and programmers, especially at pop radio, has this imagery of what beauty looks like. They wanted that imagery to be the same that’s singing those records. If you look back, even like Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lighten her to make her look lighter complexion because there’s a perception in colorism…the lighter you are the smarter, the more economically… all around the world about color, even with black folks, there’s a perception.”
Knowles went on to talk about how he thought Beyoncé’s career would have gone if she was dark-skinned.
“I think it would have affected her success. I use Kelly Rowland [as] a great example,” Knowles said. “The great thing is Kelly did exceptional outside of America, especially in Australia. Kelly sold over 4 million records.”