UK singer Estelle attacks white soul music


In March 2008 singer and songwriter Estelle, attacked the British music industry and white soul music. 

In an interview she expressed her grief by singling out Adele and Duffy, she said: "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!" Afterwards she said her remarks where completed blown out of proportion. But the Black Music Congress in the UK organized a debat about the topic. 

In their press release for the debate they highlighted racism and lack of commitment by the big record companies in developing and marketing British black music talent. They highlighted the fact that white artists such as Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen sell black music. 

 Interesting where the questions in the debate. What if the overwhelming white population of Britain prefer black music performed by white artists? And also, as the record companies are commercial entities, why should they invest in African British talent when they believe that these artists seldom sell? But I think the future of black soul looks grim. 

Jazz used to be the exclusive domain of black people the US, nowadays the scene is packed with white musicians from Europe. Even black people call jazz ‘the white man’s music’. And look what happened to rock! And Hip Hop? Even that will stop, at least for black people. I am afraid that in twenty years time black Soul music will just be on the topics list of our annual black history month. Read:>Estelle Weighs in on 'Blue-Eyed' Soul in the UK, Brings Sass


  1. Well, technically, "soul" isn't Estelle's music either. She isn't African American or American.

    1. I always thought Estelle was African. Why is the claiming black American music?

  2. despite my bad english i would like to share my view.
    the principle of soul is deeply african. thats why african slaves made a music they called soul - just like they made a soul food. it is deeply rooted in Africa so as long as you are African descent you got that soul principle inside of you. african and european culture are different this is why they generate all different type of music or food or lifestyle. Estelle is right, racism rule the entertainement business. See Norah Jones in the US: some dare to compare her to Billie Holiday! it is good to have an open debate about that to make people aware over that huge problem

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  4. Actually those "black slaves" that you're talking about were indeed Americans. There's nothing remotely similar to "soul" in Africa.

    So many African and white artists (usually from Europe) have failed at making "soul" music with the exception of Amy Winehouse (RIP) and Adele (to some extent). The rest are just mimickers such as Duffy, Joss Stone (garbage) and Corine Bailey Ray. Ray's music is actually some of the poorest sounding "soul" music you can hear. Evidently her ancestry didn't help her out on "soul" music.

    I'd personally like to see a resurgence in soul music here in the USA. However, getting on white artists' case for doing it well and selling doesn't address the problem.

  5. I see you're an expert in soul music since you consider Amy Crackhouse and Adele as soul singers LOL
    The Godfather of soul himself, James Brown always referred to Africa as the root of soul but you want to re-write history and erase all african rooted music connexions.
    I am actually not surprised; many people talk like you and "we" know why...
    Nevertherless Estelle was defenitely right to talk about this issue we all know in the music industry

  6. James Brown said that for whoever his audience was at the time. He was also a drug addict. So that should tell you his state of mind.

    That's pretty racist of you to assume that just because Estelle has dark skin that somehow she's more in tune with BLACK AMERICAN music. That's silly. I like Estelle's music, but she's not a black American just like Winehouse and Adele aren't. And I bet you more black Americans have purchased Winehouse's music than Estelle's.

    And if you ask black Americans which song is more representative of "black American music", "American Boy" or "Rehab", almost no black American would choose Estelle's song.

    Jazz, blues, rock n' roll, rock, swing, doo-wop, hip hop, rap, R&B and house music are all BLACK AMERICAN music genres.

    You can talk about Amy Winehouse all you want. But black Americans, the originators of the "soul" genre, generally hold Amy Winehouse with high esteem. She's good. She has something you can't teach.

  7. clap for Estelle I agree 100% with everything she says more and more I'm seeing black music and black culture with a white face on it and it pisses me off, soul is Estelle's music because she is black and orignally from Africa

  8. Actually it's black Americans' music. I've never heard if a black American claiming reggae because it's Jamaicans' music.

    Corine Bailey Rae makes black American music. It's just awful that's why no one in the UK likes her music. Stop calling people racists. Sade sells well.

    So many people do the music it makes Estelle look stupid. She isn't a black American. Who is she to say who should and shoudn't do soul music? White people were making soul music before Estelle was born.

    To this black American : those making our music outside America, whether a white euopean or an African, are all doing a music type that isn't there's. Whether it's Estelle or Adele, both can't claim the music as their own. Estelle is wrong in this regard and comes off as racist. Estelle isn't a black American. If I thought like her I'd say she should be beating drums like Africans and not making our music.

  9. Truth, what is very funny is that you're debating for a white girl, with a voice that sounds more "black", whom music executives are all blacks and who is racist check that video:
    so for you all the New Soul movemement: The Roots, Erika Badu, D'Angelo, India Arie, Jill Scott,etc... they should stop referring to Africa in their songs and inspiratin, in the way they dress,their hairstyles etc.; they should also stop using drums in their music????
    Stevie Wonder should not use drums or making using semba rythm? Michael Jackson should not have used a makossa song to make his wonderful hit "starting something"?
    NO they have the right to do that because it is their heritage and they are proud of it.
    if you're really black it is so sad you want to put division. there are different style of black music and black music comes from black people who come from africa.

  10. That's more silliness and misinformation on your part Sanza. I'm not debating for Amy Winehouse (the "white girl" you're talking about). I'm on the side of the truth, something you're not.

    Amy Winehouse's music is more soulful than anything Estelle has made.

    Some foolish statements you've made so far:

    First you said that slaves created soul. Soul was created in the 1920's. There were no slaves in the 1920's in America.

    Soul food was created when slave owners gave slaves food and pieces of meat they didn't want. It had NOTHING to do with Africa, unless the slave owners were really Africans. (That's how foolish the things you're saying are.)

    Secondly, the drum was made in China, NOT Africa.

    Third, you've been very racist. I have been consistent. Amy Winehouse and Estelle aren't black Americans so neither can claim this music as theirs. Except, Estelle foolishly thinks she can because she has dark skin like some black Americans. To this BLACK AMERICAN, Winehouse's music is better and it isn't either of their music.

    Funny, I listen to Erika Badu, the Roots, D'Angelo and Jill Scott and don't remember any Africa references. This isn't more of you believe what you want to believe is it? Believing what feels good to you?

    I've never heard of a black American claim Jamaican music or any Brazilian music because we're from the Americas. You have to be joking. Reggae is Jamaican music. You sound really desperate trying to cling onto black American music and with racist statements to boot.

    You're not a black American. Take pride in wherever you come from and stop trying to act like some historian, because you have all your facts wrong.

  11. Sanza, you should read this article. If not the article, here's a paragraph. When jazz/soul first formed, racist whites called it "African" to discredit the music. It took one of the first black American jazz musicians to write into a newspaper and tell them there's nothing African about jazz/soul.

    ""A Negro Explains 'Jazz'" addresses each racist tenet implied in the earlier articles while also justifying jazz as a real and serious musical form. Like previous articles, "A Negro Explains 'Jazz'" moves from talking about jazz to addressing the character of the black man. Yet unlike previous articles that attempt to explain the black man as a racial stereotype, this author asserts the real heroism of black men in the military during World War I. The writer explains how he formed a band for his colonel and that "the men who now compose the band ... are all fighters as well as musicians, for all have seen service in the trenches" (29). In this way, the writer brings jazz into American culture and away from African drumbeats, and, at the same time, he raises the black race from being portrayed as savages to being conscious, intelligent, talented soldiers that are loyal citizens to their country.";content

    I hope you realize that by calling black American music "African", that you're doing exactly what racist whites did in the early 1900's.


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