In an interview with Ebony magazine to promote his new book, Racism From The Eyes Of A Child, Mathew recalled various experiences with colorism. For instances, he belonged to the last class at Fisk University that used the brown paper bag test on students attending the historically black college. He also claims that he initially thought Tina was white, and explained how his daughters benefit from having light skin.
“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 said.
“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,” he continued. “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 with 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.”
The former music executive-turned-college-professor went on to explain that the mainstream success of Bey and Solange, as well as Rihanna, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj, are due in part to their skin complexions.
He further reiterated the stance on TMZ Live Monday. “Yes colorism does exist if you look at historically what’s happened as far as crossing over to pop radio,” he said.
“I’m just bringing it to everyone’s attention,” added the father of three. “This is what happens when we talk about radio specifically.”
When prodded by host Harvey Levin, who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of racism in the music industry (“If there’s genuine racism, they wouldn’t play black music at all,” Levin theorized.), Mathew agreed that L’Oreal lightening Beyonce’s skin in advertisements, and early photos of Whitney Houston with lighter skin, are just two examples of the colorism issue.