Mathew Knowles Reveals Colorism Led Him To Date Ex-Wife Tina Knowles: 'I Actually Thought ... She Was White'
"I actually thought when I met Tina, my former wife, that she was white," he said.
February 02, 2018 at 1:25 am
In a recent interview promoting his new book on race, Racism: From the Eyes of A Child, Mathew Knowles he revealed that it was colorism that led him to date his ex-wife, Tina Knowles.
Beyoncé and Solange Knowles' dad admitted in an interview with Ebony that colorism was taught to him from an early age by both by his family and community.
"When I was growing up, my mother used to say, 'Don’t ever bring no nappy-head black girl to my house,'" Knowles said. "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."
Things weren't much different when Knowles, a professor at Texas Southern University, went to university. He spent the first half of his college career at a mostly white institution before transferring to the historically black college and university of Fisk University in 1972.
But even at Fisk, once again, he was reminded of the implications of light and dark skin.
"They had a colorism issue there," Knowles said. "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 went on to add that he developed "eroticized rage," after having internalized those messages.
"One day I had a breakthrough," Knowles said. "I used to date mainly white women or very high-complexion black women that looked white... 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."
This is even what led to him to date Tina Knowles, whom he first thought was white, he explained.
"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.
Knowles added that although he has worked through his issues with colorism through "therapy and sharing," the world has yet to catch up.
"I challenge my students at Texas Southern to think about this," Knowles said. "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?"
The interviewer, Jessica Bennett, answered his question by saying, "They’re all lighter skinned."
"So you get it!" Knowles said.