Emeli Sandé has revealed that she first suffered racial abuse when she was just five years old while growing up in Scotland.
The 33-year-old singer was born in Sunderland to a black Zambian father and a white English mother, before going on to be raised Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
And in an opinion piece for the Radio Times, the Next To Me hitmaker has revealed that while progress with race relations has and will be ‘slower than we want’, she sees hope in the momentum gained by the global Black Lives Matter movement.
Tough memories: Emeli Sandé has revealed that she first suffered racial abuse when she was just five years old while growing up in Scotland. Pictured in February
She wrote: ‘I was five and in the playground at primary school in Scotland, and two boys shouted “Monkey!” at me.
‘I was upset and didn’t know what to do because, if you’re already different from everybody else, you don’t want to cause a bigger problem. But my friend told the head teacher, who then told my parents.’
While she said that the experience left her feeling ‘different’ and ‘misunderstood’, she praised her parents’ efforts in educating her and instilling in her a strong sense of cultural pride.
Hope: While progress with race relations has and will be ‘slower than we want’, she sees hope in the momentum gained by the Black Lives Matter movement. Pictured in December
‘I still feel lucky to have been my parents’ child,’ she said. ‘My mum always made sure that African culture was honoured and we were educated about it…’
However, she admitted that the harsh experiences of not being accepted outside of home could be far worse for children without the same support system, as racism ‘seeps into the consciousness of its victims’.
Amid the global protests that have been sparked by the death of George Floyd while police custody earlier this year, Emeli expressed hope that it will serve as something of a catalyst of tangible change.
She said: ‘I do feel that we’re stepping in the right direction and that change is possible… I hope there’s been some kind of awakening and understanding of what black people may have been suffering silently thus far.’
Happy: Emeli, 33, recently went public with her romance with rapper Jonathan Kabamba as they enjoyed a romantic break at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London
Earlier this month, the star went public with her romance with rapper Jonathan Kabamba as they enjoyed a romantic break at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The singer took to Instagram to share a trio of loved-up snaps with the Congo musician, describing him as her ‘love and king’.
She looked incredible in a beautiful white gown as she cosied up to her beau, who looked dapper in a black suit.
Emeli was previously in a relationship with musician Hypo, after she split from husband Adam Gouraguine.
Adorable: The singer took to Instagram to share a trio of loved-up snaps with the Congo musician, describing him as her ‘love and king’
The couple were enjoying a glass of champagne or two during their romantic hotel break.
Emeli captioned her post: ‘My Love, my King. Thank you for all the light, strength and joy you have brought into my life. I feel capable of anything with you by my side.’
A week earlier, Jonathan – who performs under the name Rychus Ryter – also shared a loved-up snap with the Next To Me hitmaker, writing: ‘Words ain’t enough to describe how amazing this women is ❤️@emelisande.’
As well as performing rap music, Jonathan is a keen charity worker who previously set up a community centre in east London.
Suave: Emeli also shared a snap of her beau looking dapper in a black suit as they enjoyed their romantic city break
Emeli revealed last year that she was looking for love again after going through a ‘difficult time’ following her divorce from Adam Gouraguine.
The singer finalised her ‘painful’ divorce in 2014, having split from her ex husband the year before but said she now felt ready to move on with a new man.
Out now: Read Emeli Sandé’s full interview in the latest edition of the Radio Times, out now
The Next To Me hitmaker revealed that she is ‘enjoying’ being single and has been on lots of fun dates as she tries to explore the ‘man world’ on a deeper level.
Discussing romantic relationships, she told The Mirror: ‘It’s been such a serious thing in my life for so long, so now I’m like, “Let’s just have fun” and understand the man world a bit deeper.
‘It’s a world I’ve never really explored. I’m still getting my head round it.’
The pop star married marine biologist Adam, who she dated for 10 years, in his home nation of Montenegro in September 2012.
She went onto date British rapper Hypo, and music manager Daniel Caruana.
Read Emeli Sandé’s full interview in the latest edition of the Radio Times, out now.
Over: Last year, Emeli revealed she was ready to find love again following her ‘painful’ divorce from Adam Gouraguine in 2014. Pictured together in 2012