Beyonce's father Mathew Knowles has spoken out about the perception of skin tone in America and how his superstar daughter's career was "affected" by her lighter skin.

He also said her Destiny's Child bandmate Kelly Rowland's career may have suffered as a result of her darker tone.

In an interview with SiriusXM, Knowles spoke about a research study by a college class he taught, which examined "colourism" in music over a 15 year period.

That research found that light-skinned black women "overwhelmingly" fared better than darker-toned women, particularly in Top 40 radio. It cited examples like Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce.

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Knowles said: "In the music industry there's still segregation. Programmers - especially at pop radio - have this imagery of what beauty looks like. Even Whitney Houston, if you look at those photos, how they lightened her to make her look lighter-complexioned.

"There's a perception and a colourism: The lighter that you are, the smarter and more economically (advantaged)… There's a perception all around the world about colour — even with black folks, there's a perception."

Speaking specifically on the effect of that colourism on Beyonce's career, Knowles said, "I think it would've affected her success.

"And I use Kelly Rowland as an example; she's a great example. But you know, the great thing is, Kelly did exceptional outside of America, especially in Australia. Kelly sold over 4 million records. She just got off-script."