Longtime music industry mogul and college professor Mathew Knowles has joined the cannabis industry, perhaps making his daughters Beyoncé and Solange slightly cooler by affiliation, so we dove in on his recent advocacy surrounding male breast cancer after his diagnosis, and what made him pull the trigger on getting pot in his portfolio.
While the industry has seen many new faces in recent years, by Kanye standards, none have been the dad of the greatest of all time. After a three-decade music industry career with accolades to spare and another decade teaching business, Knowles thinks it’s time to get in the pot industry. He’ll do it as the chief marketing officer of pot real estate company Bangi (BNGI), which recently requested permission from the SEC for a $50-million round of fundraising.
Knowles has plenty of business acumen beyond an ear for talent. He did his B.A. in business and economics at Fisk University and stuck around to earn an MBA in strategic planning and organizational culture before finally getting his Ph.D. in business administration from Cornerstone Christian Bible College.
Right out the gate, we started on Knowles’ earliest experiences with Southern California’s cannabis culture, which would eventually help birth the world’s largest legal marketplace.
“When I was in corporate America, my corporate office, the medical division at Xerox, [was] in Pasadena. So we’re talking the ’80s, I did 20 years of corporate America and said it was all I wanted to do,” Knowles told L.A. Weekly.
His biggest goal at the time was being the best at something he could be passionate about, and he keeps the mantra to this day. But spending cutbacks were coming to the healthcare industry.
A surgeon told Knowles his hardware sales would be lost to cost-saving measures. The passion that was so important to Knowles was gone. He called his wife Tina and told her he didn’t want to do it anymore. But he knew he still wanted to do something he loved.
“I had to go through this process of what was it I was passionate about. As a kid growing up I always loved music. My dad made me a DJ when I was about 10. I would spin those old LPs and vinyl on Sundays,” Knowles said. “My mom and dad would dance and I would have a nickel, dime and quarter on the needle head so it wouldn’t skip.”
Knowles’ father would get frustrated if the record skipped while he was getting his groove on. Over time, Knowles took notes and developed some playlists of stuff he knew his dad would like. He was even the first member of the family to join a music group. “I was in a boy band in high school. We were doing all the talent show stuff.”
We asked if he thought he got enough credit for being the household inspiration to join a music group, but he was quick to reply that his first wife Tina was also musically gifted too. “She was actually the lead vocalist in like a rock/R&B band. So both of us, the music gene comes from that,” he said.
Knowles noted that call with Tina back in the day would end up being one of those defining moments in life. “You look back and say had it not been for that, this would not have happened,” he said. “We’ve all had those moments.”
Knowles said at the time of the shake-up Beyoncé was 11 or 12-years-old, he was a top sales rep, and along with Tina he owned a large hair salon. That meant on Saturdays, while Tina was watching the salon, it was daddy day care.
“I had to do the chores of taking the kids to musicals, taking the kids to dance rehearsal, to the damn ball. All that kind of girly stuff,” Knowles said. While his daughters were building the skill sets that would eventually pay off, he was running pickup basketball games down the street.
Eventually Beyoncé would make her first national TV appearance as part of the “hip-hop rapping” all-female group Girl’s Tyme. Unfortunately, the young ladies went up against four-time champs Skeleton Crew, whose acoustic serenade just proved a little too much for early 1990s hip-hop.
“I asked Ed McMahon, what the hell, these kids are crying?” Knowles recounted.
McMahon replied that a lot of the people who won consistently on the show didn’t end up going on to do much, and there were plenty of cases of folks losing and being successful.
“He started naming out Aaliyah, Boyz II Men, Justin Timberlake, I was like, damn!”
This was when Mathew went back to school and began transitioning to the music industry.
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