Colorism has been a disruptive force that threatens progression of the black community. Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé Knowles’ father, released a statement expressing his concern about the presence of colorism in the music industry. Knowles said that his daughter would not have been as successful as she is now if she was a darker complexion.
Knowles is a professor at Texas Southern University, who recently released a book titled “Racism: In the Eyes of a Child.” in the book he admits to being deeply rooted in the practice of colorism, which stemmed from the teachings of his mother.
The Washington Post reports, Knowles remembers his mother telling him at a young age to “not bring a nappy-head black girl home.” Knowles admits this marked the beginning of his prejudice against darker skinned black women as he gravitated towards white or lighter-skinned women.
His revelation about his past resonates with me, a dark-skin woman. Growing up my skin color was not seen as beautiful. I was constantly told I looked similar to “burnt bacon,” whereas women who of lighter complexion than I were perceived as beautiful and exotic.
It is still evident today that young African-American girls are still being bullied because of their dark complexion, but instead of backing down these powerful young girls are fighting back and embracing their chocolate skin color. In April of 2017, reported by the blackamericaweb.com a young girl named Kheris Rogers from Los Angeles, was in the fifth grade at her majority Caucasian school when she was bullied by her classmates because of her dark complexion. Instead of allowing the bullies to rain on her parade, with the assistance of her 22-year-old sister, the dynamic duo created a T-shirt line named “Flexin’ In My Complexion,” which promotes self-love.
Knowles blames his prejudices against dark-skinned women due to his experiences in the South. In an interview with Ebony magazine, he admits, “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.” Knowles attended Fisk University Nashville, where he said colorism was an issue. He confessed to Ebony, “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.”
Knowles also admits the only reason he married his former wife, Tina Knowles, was because she appeared to be white. When he realized she was not and also was in-tune with her black culture, he immediately became enraged.
Knowles believes the music industry is guilty of colorism because of the top singers getting the most airtime and positive presence on social media are women of lighter complexion such as Rhianna, Mariah Carey and his own children Beyoncé and Solange. I believe this to be true because of the lack of promotion of Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and many other darker-skinned women who have an amazing singing ability, but do not receive the publicity they deserve.
As a dark-skin African-American woman in 2018, the black community has the ability to unite as one and uplift all complexions of women and set an example for the younger generations. Beauty, fame and progression in life are not based on the tone of the skin but the drive and personality of the individual.