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Mathew Knowles Says Colorism Made Him Initially Attracted to Ex-Wife Tina Lawson, ‘I Thought She Was White’

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Mathew Knowles and Tina Lawson divorced in 2011. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Mathew Knowles says the lessons ingrained in him about colorism made him go for white women as a young man and at the time, he thought Tina Lawson was one of them. Beyoncé and Solange’s father admitted his experience to Ebony while promoting his new book, “Racism: From The Eyes Of A Child.”

“When I was growing up, my mother used to say, ‘Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house,’ he told the magazine (which has since pulled the interview) via That Grape Juice of how colorism influenced his dating life. “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.”

He alleged that colorism continued to affect him while he attended Fisk University.

“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,” he claimed.

Then, Knowles discovered in therapy that he almost exclusively dated 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,” he said. “I had been conditioned from childhood. Within 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.”

And the Destiny’s Child founder and Texas Southern University professor said the attitude carries over into the music industry.

“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, and what do they all have in common?”

“They’re all light skinned,” the interviewer responded.

“Do you think that’s an accident?” Knowles asked.

In response to the article, some readers weren’t all that upset at Knowles and appreciated his candor.

“Yep I wish more black men were honest about their colorism perplexities like Mathew Knowles,” someone said. “Yikes. Acting like [you’re] not aware of it isn’t helping.”

“Very poignant interview although it’s coming from Mathew of all people,” another commented. “Let me leave that man alone. Glad he got help and can admit the ish happens cause when our dark asses say it we’re deemed bitter.”

Others made fun of him for thinking Lawson was white.



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