Mathew Knowles: Growing Up My Mom Told Me Not To Bring A Nappy Headed Black Girl Home


Beyonce’s father Mathew Knowles has revealed that colourism attracted him to his ex-wife, Tina.

Mathew Knowles is opening up about his experience with racism growing up. The 66-year-old business man is known for managing his mega star daughters Beyonce and Solange Knowles. Prior to launching his famous daughter’s careers, he grew up in the south and struggled with racism. While promoting his new book, Racism: From the Eyes of a Child, he told Ebony magazine that while growing up, his mother didn’t necessarily embrace being black.

“When I was growing up, my mother used to say, “Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house.” 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 also says that he growing up, he mainly dated white women. In fact, he says when he first met his now ex wife Tina Lawson, he thought that she was white.

“I have a chapter in the book that talks about eroticized rage. I talk about going to therapy and sharing – one day I had a breakthrough – that I used to date mainly 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 continued:

“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.”

It actually makes quite a bit of sense, particularly when you consider the messages Knowles received from his own mother. Having spent the first half of his college career at a mostly white institution, he transferred to the historically black campus of Fisk University in 1972, where he said he was reminded of the implications of light and dark skin.

His obsession with colour led him into the arms of Tina, the Creole former hairdresser he had mistaken for a white woman. In 2009 the couple split after 31 years of marriage when it was revealed that he had had an affair with actress Alexsandra Wright and fathered a baby boy, Nixon, by her. Knowles, who is a professor at Texas Southern University School of Communication, says he challenges the students that take his Recording Industry course to consider the role of colourism in pop culture.

“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?”

Interviewer Jessica Bennett answered his question by saying:

“They’re all lighter skinned.”