Media mogul Mathew Knowles discussed his new book, Racism from the Eyes of a Child, with the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper. Knowles, father of music superstars Beyoncé and Solange, shares his personal experiences with racism, colorism, and discrimination.
Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper: This book takes a different route than your previous books. What inspired this one?
Mathew Knowles: When I was writing my first book, I was already thinking about my next book. Before I came up with this idea, I wanted to solidify my experience as an author first. I really wanted to leave a legacy for Solange, Beyoncé, and my grandkids about things they didn’t know about me. Racism, especially what’s going on in America today, felt like the right topic.
Racism from the Eyes of a Child delves into the subject of therapy. Knowles has been a therapy advocate for decades. He credits his therapy to his success.
LAS: Therapy is sometimes a taboo subject in the Black community? What inspired you to share your experience?
Knowles: I went to therapy because I was obsessive. My obsessiveness was because when I was a kid, I felt unequal to my White counterparts. The defining moment for me was the exposure to the word eroticized rage.
LAS: Eroticized rage?
Knowles: Yes, it’s sometimes used when Black men date White woman due to built up rage. He feels as thought that he has to date White women to regain his power. I go into detail in my book about the subject. I can say that without therapy I probably would’ve been dead by now.
LAS: Describe colorism as it relates to your book?
Knowles: A lot of people are having a discussion about colorism from a sound bite in my book without looking at it from a larger perspective. Colorism happens around the world. Darker shaded people are seen to have lower ended jobs. It all came from slavery. You can take a look at a country like Nigeria where their women bleach their skin to be lighter. All Black people are beautiful regardless of their shades of color.
LAS: How did you engrain in your children the concept of racism?
Knowles: We wanted our kids to be fully rounded from a race perspective. I really applaud Solange’s last album. She talks about this throughout her songs. I remember when Beyoncé was about five or six. We were at an upscale department store. I turned my eye for a second and she was gone. I found her three aisles over. Once I found her, I told her not to do that again. A White woman walked up to the both of us and said , “Honey are you okay? Do I need to call the security?” Beyoncé responded by saying, “No that’s my daddy!” She made an assumption that I wasn’t.
LAS: What’s the main message you want everyone to take away from the book?
Knowles: I want people to have conversations about racism. This book isn’t all about Beyoncé or Solange. This is about my experience as a child dealing with racism. I want people to understand that there is hope. We have to be very careful of not letting racism erase our history. Our young people today know very little about what it took. I’m optimistic that it will make some sort of impact.
For more information about Racism from the Eyes of a Child, please visit Amazon.com for more information.