Recently, Mathew Knowles announced that the story of Destiny’s Child will be a musical. The show will hit the stage next year in the group’s hometown of Houston, Texas then Australia, London and hopefully reaching Broadway. Beyoncé and Solange‘s father sat down with Clay Cane over at SiriusXM Urban View on Tuesday. The conversation got deep when they began discussing colorism in the music industry.
Cane asked Knowles about a study that his students conducted while he taught at Texas Southern University that showed over a 15-year period the overwhelming majority of Black women who received top 40 airplay were all lighter skinned Black women: Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and, his daughter, Beyoncé.
Knowles explained, “In the music industry, there’s still segregation, as you know. There used to be the black division. race records and s 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.”
He then mentioned Whitney Houston in the early part of her career, “If you look back, even like Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lighten her to make her look lighter complexion [sic]. Because there’s a perception — colorism — all around the world about color, even with black folks, there’s a perception.
“How different do you think Beyonce’s career would have been if she were a darker skinned woman?” Cane asked
“I think it would have affected her success. I use Kelly Rowland — she’s a great example,” Knowles answered. “The great thing is Kelly did exceptional outside of America, especially in Australia. Kelley sold over 4 million records.”
Listen to the clip below:
Kudos to Knowles for speaking some serious truth. Colorism in the entertainment industry has been an issue for years. According to the University of Iowa, producer and mogul Jermaine Dupri said in 2018 that “dark skinned female singers still [are] having a hard time in the music business” and “people don’t “jump across the table immediately when they see a dark skinned girl.”
Just recently, rapper and singer Tory Lanez had to shut down a video shoot after the director swapped out a dark-skinned woman for a light-skinned woman — then Tory was accused of staging the incident, which he passionately denied.
Sounds like the music industry has tons of work to do.