Singer and songwriter, Estelle, on value in the industry and wage disparities

Grammy Award winning singer, Estelle stopped by theGrioLive yesterday on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day to discuss new music and more. She also expressed her sentiments about wage disparity.

“It is consistently the most frustrating thing in the world that my value isn’t as much purely because of someone’s version of events,” said Estelle.

America is considered the Land of Opportunity, but for many of its citizens, particularly African American women, attaining equal opportunity is more like a fable instead of reality.

Women have fought for decades to be treated equal to men. Many strides have been made, but there is still a long ways to go. Right now, women are still pushing to close the wage gap between men and women. According to Forbes, women on average make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes and Black women only earn 63 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes. If you calculate the difference, you will discover that Black women will have to work over six additional months to earn what a man makes in a year.

This statistic is hard to digest because it paints a jarring picture that no matter how hard you work or educated you become, if you are a Black woman, the playing field may never be level.

The England born singer stated she has dealt with inequality in the music business.

“Of course you deal with it. I have written songs on the new record. I have a song on the album called ‘Not Your Bitch’ that deals with that specifically,” Estelle said. “A lot of men treat the gender as a whole like we are second class citizens. There is a chunk that realizes that you don’t and that is not what it is.”

Estelle advises women to combat the unfair treatment with confidence and professionalism.

“I walk in the room in a specific way because they have to take me that serious. I am not here for my health, to be friends, or to “keke.” When I come to do business, I come to do business,” said the singer.  

The talented artist also stated that men should consider looking at women as potential work partners or allies instead of the opposition.

“When a woman walks into a room and you see that, don’t downplay it. Give her that platform, support her and tell her how amazing that platform is. Tell her how amazing that is or help her build that scenario. Don’t just rush to say, ‘I am not putting myself next to that because she might flop.’ If you put yourself next to her she might fly. She might be amazing and you put yourself next to that and so now y’all work together. What terribleness could come from working together in self love? Embrace each other,” says Estelle.