Not one to back away from erudite & controversial discussions, Entertainment Mogul, Mathew Knowl
There isn’t much to share about Mr. Knowles that you, our readers, don’t already know about.
Knowles is pretty much an industry Gawd, who started his career as a salesman sometime in 1976. He worked for Xerox as head honcho for well-over a decade, before selling diagnostic and imaging equipment to healthcare facilities for another company.
He mastered the art of sales and management, because that was his specific métier. Talking the gab, but he was able to furnish top-notch product simultaneously. He carried that know-how right over the threshold and into the music business.
Knowles was mega-manager to industry favorites, Destiny’s Child, using his own record label, Music World Entertainment .
Also founded by founded by Mr. Knowles: Music World Gospel, Music World Music, Compadre Records, Music World Kids and Music World Properties.
He is the first Black to graduate from Litchfield Junior High School, as well as Gadseon High School.
And that’s a standout fact— It had to be a lot of pressure being in school, trying to obtain an education amongst peers that hated the air he breathed—before civil rights became a legal and recognized bill of freedom.
The Gasden, Alabama, native attended Fisk University and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics, in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Knowles also received an Honorary PhD from Cornerstone Christian Bible College, and Fisk University.
He’s worked with Beyoncé, Solange, Michelle Williams, Dione Farris, Kool and the Gang, Sunshine Anderson, Brett Marshall, and the O Jays.
He’s currently curating newest all-girl trio, Blushhh.
There isn’t an artist who’s too new or legendary, that he hasn’t been part of their success or legacies.
So, when Knowles published his book a couple of years ago, The DNA of Achievers, it was through attainment and proficiency, that allowed him to dish up meat and potatoes, the plain-spoken secrets of his successes.
Now, he’s back with another dainty book, Racism: From the Eyes of a Child . The manuscript is just as blunt and compelling as the last, but this time he really dug into a dwelling of inhibitions and antiquity.
“I really enjoy [writing], as it grows every day, a passion about life, about telling my story, and my perspective. I teach at Southern College University. Most folks realize that for 8 years, I’ve taught at Texas Southern, and I taught as Fisk for 2 years. That’s part of being a professor, it’s writing and giving a perspective. I’ve gone back over the last 5 years, and went to a small Christian and Bible College, which is called, Cornerstone. I received my MBA and PhD.”
Knowles is the type of businessman that loves a good challenge, whether it’s in the boardroom, or through personal and subjective triumphs.
Apparently, the completion of his latest book fit the category of his interesting challenges.
“This book, Racism: From the Eyes of a Child , took a lot of research.
I wanted to research my family. I didn’t really know my father’s side of the family, the Knowles side. I didn’t really know my grandmother and grandfather, their brothers and sisters. I didn’t know my grandmother, last name, Hogue, her maiden name was Moore. She had twin brothers, Sydney and Gydney Moore, which explains through DNA, the reason Beyoncé would have twins. It was a lot of research.
In the beginning of the book [ Racism: From the Eyes of a Child ], I tell my story. My first experience of racism, my mother and grandmother were like oil and water.
During the summers, me, my mother and brother would drive down to Marion, Alabama.
There were a lot of prominent people in this little town. There were a lot of conspicuous people there, like, Coretta Scott King, Gene Young, who married Andrew Young, TD Jakes, and Oscar Underwood, who was the owner of a University that I went to…
Again, on this night, my mother got angry with my grandmother. We were going up the road to this relative’s house about a mile away. We were walking on the dark road, and getting on the main highway.
There were no lights. It was just the moon. We heard cars and horns. My mother got freighted, so we jumped in bushes. She got on top of me and started praying. She told my brother that if anything happened, to run. The cars got closer and louder, but they passed us.
We didn’t realize that the KKK rally was passing by. That was my first experience of racism, and that’s [the reason] why I opened the book with that, to show racism and its impact,” said Knowles.
It’s no wonder he fought tooth and nail to be successful. He was traumatized by it... by racism.
Mr. Knowles said that this the reason he dedicated the book to his parents, Beyoncé and Solange, as well as his grandkids.
“I want them to know their heritage. I want them to be proud of both sides of their families, who were entrepreneurs and hard workers, and successful people in the community.
My dad was a volunteer firefighter in Alabama. He couldn’t be a firefighter because he was black.
I wanted them to hear the story where my father saved a white man’s life, because the white firefighters didn’t want to go into the house because the man was a drunk. They dismissed him, and my dad wouldn’t have it. He went in, and saved him.
I want them to know that. I want them to know the reason that their DNA plays a role in their success today. It’s from folk’s way back when.”
Knowles learned important testaments about his family. He also unknotted things about himself.
“I had to relive trauma. I had to relive the first day of going to Litchfield Jr High, and going into my English class. I read aloud, but I made a mistake. All the white kids started laughing and started throwing spit balls at me.
I had to relive the pain of being called the N***** word, the pain of being spit on and hit by electric prodders by the state troopers. I had to relive watching men and women cry, as well as the abuse of elderly people.
I had to relive those emotions.
That within itself, was healing, but it was also painful.”
Though a frightful upbringing, and that’s putting things mildly, Knowles said that he feels relieved now that he’s able to purge those feelings.
“I feel extremely proud. I talk about racism and I share my experiences, the experience of my first cousin, Robert Avery. I share the experiences from Oscar Underwood, my second cousin—And my sister shares her experiences. One of my class mates, there was about seven of us at Litchfield, she shares some of those experiences.
I hope they don’t forget dialogue when I talk about racism, and when people feel that they are more superior than we are as a race. I talk about colorism, and colorism where we discriminate because of shades of color. All black men and women are beautiful. I talk about eroticized rage, when a black man is angry and rage-filled. Through sex, with a white woman, he wants to regain his power. I talk about things that are somewhat uncomfortable, but it also stimulates dialogue and perspective.”
He pulled many layers back that places things into perspective, especially in the dating pool and marriages of the elites.
As Knowles expressed, writing the book is therapeutic, but geesh!
All through college, he struggled with something involving inclusive colorism.
At Fisk University, there were exclusive bouts with racism.
Students were presented with a brown paper bag test, and if they were darker, then they could attend Fisk and participate in athletics.
“If students were darker than the bag, they could be an athlete, which I was a basketball player. You could attend Fisk if you had a family member that donated a large amount of money,” explained Knowles.
Fisk University is still one of the most highly regarded HBCU’s. This is the place for overachiever black students, excelling in all things academic, including sports. According to Mr. Knowles, the founder of Fisk University is an abolitionist, Clinton Bowman Fisk. During the civil war, Fisk fought for the freedom of blacks, but when it came down to blacks attending his Univeristy, he only wanted the best of the best melanin… his ideals conquered and divided blacks by skin tones. He treated students as though they were livestock in a stable.
Though it sounds superficial, egregious and downright ridiculous, this is Knowles truth. This is the narrative that he remembers.
“What racism does more than anything, it wants to erase all our history. If it erases history, people won’t know what their accomplishments are or were, and then people lose their power. There’s lack of knowledge, and with lack of knowledge, there’s lack of power.”
Currently, Racism in America, it’s systematic.
“We have a leader in our country that blatantly puts racism in our face. I think we’ve always had folks in America and around the world that are consciously and subconsciously racist.
Again, racism is thinking you’re superior based on your race. I think that exists in America. I know it does. People feel comfortable now because they have a leader that sold his comfortability in talking about it. We have judge Moore, who is from Alabama, where I’m from. He thought he was going to win [the election] because he thought black people weren’t going to show up. In the last senate elections, ninety-five percent of all eligible black females voted.
It just goes to show the power we have in numbers and unity instead of being negative.
Some of these talk shows and blogs are making advertising dollars on negativity of our people of color, when we can be positive or at least give perspective on things and not be one-sided.”
Racism followed Knowles like a nagging cold, right into the music industry.
“These are things that happened to me. This is not me telling someone else’s story. My book is about me. It’s not about Beyoncé and it’s not about Solange.
I co-managed a girl group with Columbia records called, “PLAY.” I managed a white boy-band with Columbia records called “SIGNATURE,” and I know for a fact that their [SIGNATURE’s] budgets were higher. Their recording budgets were higher. Their advancements were higher. I know that for a fact. This is not what I heard. This is what I experienced.”
Knowles encountered and survived much more than the things mentioned. We could go on about it, or let you pick up the book and read for yourself.
Grab a copy where online books are sold.
Racism: From The Eyes of a Child
Follow Mathew Knowles on Instagram
Book available on website: Mathew Knowles
Knowles welcoming fresh edition to Music World Entertainment. (Knowles right and Demola on left).