During an interview with SiriusXM, the famed music producer noted if Beyonce had darker skin, it would have “affected her success” — and the opposite might have been true for her Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly.
In the interview with “The Clay Cane Show” on SiriusXM Urban View, Knowles shared how he taught a college class that conducted a research study on “colorism” and found a period spanning 15 years where, “overwhelmingly,” light-skinned black women fared better than darker-toned female singers, especially at Top 40 radio.
“In the music industry there’s still segregation,” said Knowles. “Programmers, especially at pop radio, have this imagery of what beauty looks like. … If you look back even at Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lightened her to make her look lighter-complexioned … Because there’s a perception and a colorism: the lighter that you are, the smarter and more economically (advantaged)… There’s a perception all around the world about color — even with black folks, there’s a perception.”
“How different do you think Beyonce’s career would have been if she were a darker skinned woman?” Cane asked
“I think it would have affected her success. I use Kelly Rowland — she’s a great example,” Knowles answered. “The great thing is Kelly did exceptional outside of America, especially in Australia. Kelley sold over 4 million records.”
Listen to the interview via the clip below.
Knowles isn’t the only prominent industry player adding his voice to this conversation. Jermaine Dupri has also addressed colorism in the business. According to the University of Iowa (via NewsOne), he said in 2018 that “dark-skinned female singers still [are] having a hard time in the music business” and “people don’t “jump across the table immediately when they see a dark skinned girl.”