When I initially wrote "Sisterly Love: The Rise of the Black Girl Crush" I simply wanted to offer a modern reading on the powerful and delightful connection women of color have always shared with one another. Though the term "crush" insinuates an inane, temporal connection with certain subjects, I was able to argue instead that the "Black girl crush" reflects a deep admiration for women of color in the limelight whose careers affirm that our ambitions are hardly anomalous and certainly attainable.
I knew I wanted to expand on the idea somehow after the article published, and thought, "Why not simply interview the very subjects of these Black girl crushes?!" Why not discover what makes these women tick, which Black girls in turn inspire them, and where do they get their strength, inspiration, and style?
With this said, I began by talking to British singer/rapper, Estelle, who has enlivened audiences the world over with her soulful sound, fresh approach to style, and joyful spirit. With the recent release of her praiseworthy sophomore offering, All Of Me, Estelle draws from a long tradition of Black female songstresses, singing earnestly of the raw emotions that come with love and relationships, while injecting her signature groove into the infectious album.
Here she confesses her own Black Girl Crushes and pathos on style, life, and sisterhood:
Black Girl Crush #1: Estelle
Birthplace: London , England, UK
Profession: Musician, Producer, Actress, Photographer
Personal Style: Comfortable to me
Personal Mantra: Seize the day
Well, as you know "Black girl crushes" are all about a great admiration for women of color who have beaten the odds. Who do you personally identify among your own "Black Girl Crushes" and why?
I love actresses, Regina King and Angela Bassett along with First Lady, Michelle Obama, political strategist, Donna Brazile, and model, Iman.
These women are smart, driven and amazing at what they do. It's great to see women in entertainment and politics navigate these waters and still hold down being Black and beautiful.
What is the greatest piece of life (or style) advice you've received from one of these "BGC's"?
I've watched Iman go from a model, to a mum, to a philantropist, to a successful business owner, all while becoming a legend and a brand. She's who I wanna be when I grow up.
I believe a congratulations is certainly in order for the successful new album! It's incredibly soulful and your first single "Thank You", has a great old school vibe. What great female songstresses from the past are you inspired by?
Ella Fitzgerald, Mary J Blige, Erykah Badu. These women showed me it was fine to sing jazz and soul, and not be perfect about it all the time.
You sang about the style and allure of "American Boys", but what do you think the difference is between American and British women, style-wise?
[British women] take more chances. And we are not so stuck on trends.
Truthfully women always dress for other women: we're always giving one another a glance over. What about a girl's style makes you turn your head?
Great accessories and how it's put together. It says volumes about a person's quirks, ideas, and personality.
Have you recently seen something a girl has been wearing that you're dying to emulate yourself?
Naw...I pretty much march to the beat of my own drum.
I remember you being a Charlotte Olympia aficionado, but have you discovered a new designer or made a great purchase lately that you're crazy over?
I still love Charlotte Olympia, have done so for a few years... Bionde Castilla is my latest obsession. Her shoes make your feet look so sexy.
Rihanna revealed a few months ago that women in the entertainment industry are super competitive, but conceal it well. Do you necessarily agree with her comments or find more female camaraderie?
I find my girls in the industry are like sisters. Some mentor me, some I mentor. I also think if you are open to being cool with people they'll be cool with you across the board not just in the industry.
Lastly, what would you say defines success to you?
Success is defined by the trail of people you leave happy.
Estelle's sophomore offering, All Of Me, is now available in stores.