Estelle California has had a turbulent life to say the least. Mentally and physically abused as both a child and young adult, it wasn’t until she left home for university that she felt able to experience what others took for granted – even such every day experiences as television and radio.
Still feeling trapped, she eventually made a somewhat significant leap, journeying from her native Paris to South Africa. Somewhere along the way she had a epiphany. Seeing the local black people facing various forms of adversity with a smile, she realised that THESE were her people – not the fractious people she encountered in France.
From here she has finally settled in California, so delighted to find mixed communities living in harmony that she adopted the name herself. Her latest single, Black is the True Light is essentially her hymn to ‘the darkness” – admirable, of course in so many ways but is there a moral question to be raised with Estelle, to put it bluntly, being quite obviously not black herself? Is this cultural appropriation on an Olympic scale or is the lack of this mindset exactly why race is such a contentious issue around the world? Here’s the video: