So Estelle dropped that new single with Kanye, entitled “American Boy,” which went straight to number 1 on the UK charts. However, homegirl is causing a lot of controversy for calling out the UK music industry for not supporting Black artists:
In the Guardian, Estelle calls out Adele and Duffy, two white UK soul singers, who are leading what many people called a new charge of “blue eyed soul” singers:
“I’m not mad at them, but I’m wondering – how the hell is there not a single black person in the press singing soul? Adele ain’t soul. She sounds like she heard some Aretha records once, and she’s got a deeper voice – that don’t mean she’s soul. That don’t mean nothing to me in the grand scheme of my life as a black person. As a songwriter, I get what they do. As a black person, I’m like: you’re telling me this is my music? Fuck that!”
I don’t really know what to say about this one and I don’t know that much about race relations in the UK to see how this fits into the larger Black/White spectrum (but for the most part, they’re experiences are almost the same as those in the US). I see her point, because Estelle has had to struggle to even get to the this point. The claim of stealing Black music is nothing new and had to get help from the US to break out in her own country. Her first single from her new album, “Wait a Minute,” went nowhere on the charts. I actually like Adele’s album, and other than a few songs I don’t even consider her “soul”. Duffy, on the other hand is a manufactured act a la Joss Stone, and probably needs to be called out. Having that said, Estelle forgets to mention Amy Winehouse, who, dare I say better than 90% of all these so-called soul singers anyway, so I digress. A lot of the Black UK soul “singers” out there (er…Cleo) sound like retreads of wack late 90s US hip-hop and pop to me anyway. Maybe they just need to step their game up?
Who knows. What do you UK Readers think?