Who killing them in the UK?
Content has been a little low on this site recently on account of the large amount of mucus that’s currently pouring out of four different orificices on my face. However, even battling with what, due to my state of illness, I can only assume to be viral meningitis, I can still find time to get massively annoyed by Estelle.
Up until 12 months ago Estelle was a nothing, a one-and-a-half hit UK quasi-rapper who could be neatly filed away in the drawers with Verbalicious and Mattafix. Her hit in question was “1980”, a track about how she had to struggle heavily growing up, but also her family could regularly afford to fly her and her siblings across to Africa. Most working class family were spending 3k on a holiday every year in the 80s as you well know. Also, she irked many a fan of old men sitting around when she managed to find time to shout out both The Cosby Show and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but didn’t show homegrown love for Desmond’s. Robbie Gee must have been fuming.
Having managed one whole hit record since her return, and only requiring the assistance of minor-selling pop figures Kanye West and Will.I.Am, Estelle is now thoroughly enjoying her new career as an all-purpose “speaker of generic challenging shit”. This Guardian interview from March was a particular highlight, in which she argues that Duffy (who is to Dusty Springfield as the average fat chick with a rollerderby team is to Bettie Page) is apparently clearly copying black artists; claims that southern soul is “our music”, despite the fact she comes from west London (I forgot that David Banner was originally going to drop “Hackney Cabs On 22s”); and, remembering that she’s previously bragged about how much money her parents had to throw around, she also claimed:
“If you think about where I’m from, I’m not supposed to be singing in the first place. I’m not supposed to be alive right now. We’re all supposed to be in jail or killing each other. “
Estelle is from the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which has the one of the lowest crime rates in southern England, and a significantly lower chance of being murderered, shot, raped in the bum, or whatever than (deep breath…) Hackney, Haringey, Hillingdon, Hounslow, ISLINGTON, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster. And that’s just London alone.
Dull I know, but sometimes it’s nice to back annoyance up with statistics. It’s no wonder Estelle found such an easy kinship with Kanye West: whereas Kanye assuaged the guilt he got at his own upbringing by trying to frame “George W Bush doesn’t care about poor people” into “George W Bush doesn’t care about black people”, Estelle is a fantastic proponent of its UK equivalent.
But you can let dumb middle class broads say dumb middle class shit slide now and then. It’s what they do, and those horsey accents can be kinda cute sometimes. It’s when people like Estelle start touching on nationality that we need to worry. And, boy, does she ever.
In an interview with The New Statesman, which most of you will best remember as the magazine that did a major piece about how Jews are going to all make us their slaves in the near future, Estelle claims of Dizzee Rascal’s audition tape to be the centre figure for the UK version of “Flava Of Love”:
At one point during the Newsnight interview he asked: “Mr Rascal, do you feel yourself to be British?” To Estelle, this question exposed the presenter’s problematic attitude towards his interviewee. “That was out of line. Paxman’s not going to get away with asking me do I think I’m British. That’s disrespectful – you know, what do you think I am?”
Dizzee Rascal, for those of you who don’t carry The Big Book of Chippy Immigrant Facts and Figures around with you, is half-Ghanian, and in fact was raised in a single parent household solely by his first-generation immigrant Ghanian mother. For Estelle to effectively turn around in an interview and go “Why would anyone ask him about Britishness, of course he’s British” is, to be frank, fucking sickening, the kind of bullshit whitening that this country should have gotten over in the 30s when across the country “Rossi” became “Ross” and “Weinberg” became “Warner”. Why does Estelle want people to ignore their roots, betray not even their distant ancestors but their immediate ones, to suck whole-heartedly on the cock of the English establishment? Would it be because she herself has carved out a nice little media career as the kind of person who can willingly trumpet white Londoncentric middle class media viewpoints but with an Exciting! Skin! Colour! You know, I think it might be.