Beyonce's father and former manager says his daughter might not have been as successful as she is if she had darker skin.
Music executive Matthew Knowles, who has penned a book about his own experiences with racism, said that black singers are more likely to enjoy success if they have a paler complexion.
He admitted he had been conditioned to think paler skin was more beautiful when he was growing up in the deep south.
The university lecturer told Ebony magazine that he noticed patterns of colourism when he joined the music industry, saying: "I challenge my students at Texas Southern to think about this.
"When it comes to black females, who are the people who get their music played on pop radio? Mariah Carey, Rihanna, the female rapper Nicki Minaj, my kids [Beyonce and Solange], and what do they all have in common?"
When the interviewer said they were all lighter skinned, he replied: "Do you think that's an accident?"
Knowles said he had been conditioned to view skin colour in a certain way since he was a child growing up in Alabama.
He said his mother used racial slurs about dark-skinned women and encouraged him to date white women, adding that he thought Beyonce's mother Tina was white when he first met her.