Mathew Knowles, founder and CEO of Music World Entertainment and father of Beyoncé, will speak on Sept. 27 at the Africana Studies and Research Center.

September 18, 2018

Beyoncé’s Father and Music Industry Leader Mathew Knowles to Speak at Cornell Panel

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A member of the famed Knowles family is coming to campus this month, but sorry Beyhive, it’s not Beyoncé.

On Sept. 27, Mathew Knowles, renowned music industry entrepreneur, public speaker and former manager to his daughters Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, will visit Cornell to discuss his books in a panel discussion at the Africana Studies and Research Center.

A visiting professor at Texas Southern University, Knowles is the author of the best-selling book The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals as well as Racism From the Eyes of a Child.

He is also the founder, president and CEO of Music World Entertainment, “one of the world’s leading music and entertainment conglomerates” with global sales of records totaling over $300 million, according to his website.

“His impact as a professional in corporate America and on the music industry are well known,” Prof. Riché Richardson, African American literature, who will also participate in the panel, said in an email to The Sun. “His origins in the segregated South make such achievements all the more interesting for reflection.”

The panel will also include Prof. Marla Frederick, a professor of African and American studies and religion at Harvard University. Prof. Gerard Aching, Africana and Romance studies, will moderate.

The panel grew out of Richardson’s popular class American Studies 3355: Beyoncé Nation, which 67 students took last fall, The Sun reported.

One student in the 2017 class described Knowles’ daughter Beyoncé as “arguably one of the most famous black women in the world” during a final presentation, while another student researched the influence of Beyoncé’s entire family, including her father.

Richardson constructed this unique class after researching for her upcoming book, working title Emancipation’s Daughter’s: Re-Imagining Black Femininity and the National Body Beyond Aunt Jemima. Thus, the idea of a panel with Knowles was tempting for Richardson.

“I’ve read about and studied Dr. Knowles in my research and so it’s useful to hear his perspectives firsthand and for him to also share his insights with our campus community,” Richardson told The Sun. “He’s from an earlier generation … this dialogue is also very much an outgrowth of my recent course.”

Richardson said she is looking forward to sharing Knowles’ expertise with the public.

“I think that it will allow [attendees] to get more of a complex sense of Dr. Knowles’s history and intellectual contributions, beyond what we think we know and often focus on related to his impact in the world of music and entertainment,” Richardson said. “It will be a great privilege and honor to have Dr. Knowles visit our campus community.”

Following his visit to Ithaca, he will speak at a panel on mental health at Alabama A&M University, according to his website. Knowles is also set to travel to South Africa in October to co-host the African Leaders 4 Change Awards for philanthropy, according to the Africa Charity Awards website.

According to a University press release, the upcoming panel is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, several University departments, the American Studies Program, the College of Engineering, Cornell University Library’s Hip Hop Collection, the Africana Studies and Research Center and the Society for Humanities.

The panel will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Africana Studies and Research Center with a subsequent reception. Attendance is free and open to the public.