Mathew Knowles might not be a favorite among the fans of his superstar daughter Beyoncé, and he’s clearly been outside of the family business since his divorce from ex-wife, Tina Lawson, in 2011. In a new interview with EBONY, the Texas Southern University professor and author discuss a new book, Racism: From The Eyes Of A Child, and in the chat he reveals he thought his ex-wife was a white woman.
How have you and your family experienced colorism?
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.
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.
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.
On Twitter, the Beyhive and others on the periphery are taking epic shots at Knowles over his comments. The entire interview clearly shows Knowles has struggled with the effects of colorism while laboring a larger point, but some observers think this might just be a part of a media ploy to get eyes on the book.
We’ve collected some of the responses on Twitter below and on the following pages.