Singer Estelle Helps Black Women Translate the Experience From Africa to England
ay. This British Queen of Urban Soul, this embodiment of stately sound, brings a nation to its feet and knocks weak ones to the ground. When I think back on my time spent in London and moving through places and spaces of historic significance on this European island that once laid claim to the world as they knew it, and still has such significant influence to this nation. As I passed through a sea of radiant and smiling faces, I wanted for so many more African Americans to travel here to the British Is
le and enjoy one of Britain’s national treasures — Estelle. She is supremely loved and appreciated here, having been endowed with more than a fair portion of talent and an abundance of love.
Estelle enthralled us with how generous she was with her time and how willingly she shared it with us. We were captivated by her spot-on professionalism when she modeled for the cover shoot. That gorgeous face with the high cheek bones, her authenticity and compassionate spirit exemplified the majesty of her African ancestry. She was at once familiar, like someone I had known and been close to for years, a cousin or a friend, or any one of my extended family.
As we contemplate the world and our place in it, and examine performers like Bob Marley and the concept of world citizenship, think about all of the individuals from around the world who make music to promote peace and freedom, Estelle has to take her position on that world stage. She is uniquely connected to the contextual relationship that most of us have with freedom causes and crusades not only from America to the African Diaspora, but also from Africa to Europe.
We must be more conscious of the world around us and understand that there are those who are working to get back to their homelands, while so many are being forced to flee theirs and make a better way. But taking flight too often comes with a cost — one’s culture. While they leave to avoid perishing, they also struggle to preserve their culture and customs that are sacrosanct.
But in Estelle’s inviting smile we can be confident that she will do her best to represent the dreams and aspirations of people of color. She will carry the torch for women of African descent the world over. We can be proud of women like Estelle who chart a new course in showing us what it is to be a black woman. Yet the tragic truth is there are still heinous crimes committed against women based on the condition of being a woman — rape, domestic abuse and genital mutilation. Too many women on the Continent are victims who cry the tears caused by the ravages to their bodies. They are the casualties of war and captives of impoverished lands that are, ironically, mineral rich with gold and diamonds.
Let us become more bold in seeing the world, the bigger picture and a larger value system. Let us bring dignity back to the continent that produced our forefathers and out mothers. Estelle represents the “sheroes” who endeavor to transcend the violence and depraved indifference. The privileges of freedom are to be taken seriously and held in high regard. The ability to acquire knowledge, assume powerful positions and share with each other is not to be taken lightly.
How black women are represented in films and song are the images our children model. But the image of Michele Obama, our nation’s first lady and Estelle, England’s first lady of song, should be more prominent in the minds of girls and young women. Every woman should carry herself like a first lady. Have a cause worthy of fighting for. Make dignity your cause and your values your armor.
Take time and pause to extend a hand to those women who are in transition and in the process of transforming their lives. Do what you can for women of color around the world. Console them and offer them kind words to comfort them on their journey.
Keep smiling, love each other and distinguish yourselves as women among women and queens among queens. And demand that those who call themselves kings, treat you with the respect you deserve.