“White people don’t understand that the reason black people are so good is not always that we’re necessarily more artistically inclined, it’s more because we don’t have the space to suck.” —Kelela
If you are not familiar with this young songstress you are definitely missing out. Born Kelela Mizanekristos in 1983, Washington D.C., and a second-generation Ethiopian- American; Kelela’s parents immigrated to the United States independently in the 1970’s to attend a college of a full scholarship under the affirmative action law where they met. Her parents met during this revolutionary; who were strong believers and activist for reform and social justice, which heavily influenced Kelela’s need to display, accept and express her Blackness.
Kelela sits down with Fader.com for a full-length interview discussing self-expression, acceptance and what it means to be Black to her, and her debut album Take Me Apart. Within the interview, Kelela touches on what music inspires her; her mothers love for artists such as Miriam Makeba, Sarah Vaughan, Bobby Womack, and Janet Jackson; whereas her father admired alternative artist like Tracy Chapman. Kelela also talks about the moment where she realized that she was gifted with a voice of gold, and in that moment she knew she inherited her voice from her mother who used to be the star singer at weddings and family gatherings.
Watch Kelela video LMK off her album Take Me Apart: