Mathew Knowles, father and ex-manager of singing stars Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, knows why they are outspoken on issues like racism.
“If you grew up in a household where your parents weren’t afraid of doing it, you wouldn’t be afraid of doing it,” he explained to Confidential. “If you grew up in a household where your parents were quiet then you’re going to be quiet. They grew up in a household with parents who were activists in the community.”
Knowles (photo inset), 66, is promoting his latest book, “Racism: From the Eyes of a Child,” which focuses on his own childhood in Gadsden, Ala., and his career working for Xerox and managing Destiny’s Child.
He said the book does not contain juicy details about his daughters.
“This is Mathew Knowles time,” he says. “This book is about me. It has nothing to do with Beyoncé and Solange. I purposefully made sure their names are in the book one time. This is not about them.”
Knowles, who teaches at Texas Southern University in Houston, said he wants to start an honest dialogue about racism.
He recently raised eyebrows when he told Ebony magazine that his daughters’ lighter skin helped their careers.
Knowles says pop singers with a darker skin tone have been rare in the last 10 years.
“Why is that?” he asks. “You have to ask yourself why is that? And does that even go as deep as the record labels, when they’re looking to sign artists? (Does) colorism becomes a part of the record label’s decision making. I want people to just stop and think, critically think and I want people to engage in dialogue.”
Knowles predicts the next big topic from his book that will have people talking is “eroticized rage.” He declined to explain the term, laughingly directing people to buy the book to find out.
The former manager says conversations are the best defense againt racism.
“We can only combat racism by dialogue,” Knowles says. “We can’t do it by being quiet. It might be uncomfortable for some, but change is sometimes about being uncomfortable. At the end, it’s for the best and the better.”
With Nicki Gostin