"When I first moved to the UK ... the country that welcomed me was one where multiculturalism flourished and neighbours were warm and unassuming." That's how author, political commentator and presenter Esther Krakue recently opened her article that was published on UK mainstream news site, Daily Mail.
"But, much to my dismay," she continued, "the tone has shifted entirely... Now I, a 24-year-old black woman... am expected to be mortally offended if someone dares assume that my dark skin might signal heritage not native to the British Isles. I am expected to voice loudly my approval of white liberals who inform me of my inherent oppression as a 'woman of colour...'"
Those words were a startling moment for some readers, who were suddenly facing an opinion that wasn't being shared so openly online and in the media: not everyone agrees with the narrative being peddled by the press and the Black Lives Matter movement–it's just that few are confident enough to challenge those views. Few are willing to question it at all.
Esther Krakue—who has lived in the UK since she was 14, after her family migrated from Ghana, West Africa—poses an intriguing and fascinating figure. Having recently released her debut book, Graduating into Adulthood, as well as regularly presenting her own YouTube channel–The Esther Krakue Show–she has been rapidly building a platform for herself, and with seemingly a lot of public support.
Yet the baffling thing, the truly unusual thing about her, is how she is making such a big mark despite constantly challenging the status quo–and refusing to back down when her views aren't always embraced by certain demographics. She is shooting down the popular beliefs of a generation of people who are signing up for slogans, belief systems and protests and asking them to closely examine what they are doing and why. She is holding up a mirror and refusing to let people be lazily accepting of what they see, or what they are told to see. It seems she wants change–but in what way? What is Esther Krakue about and how did she land on the path she has found herself?
Krakue was somebody who was always interested in politics–she debated a lot at school and University, even attending debate competitions. It was probably this which helped her to find her voice and hone in on her skills for sharpening her opinion and her confidence at expressing them. Happily living in and embracing the Britain that she calls home, Krakue in recent years has become disillusioned and disappointed with some of the movements, protests and censorship she has witnessed.
In a recent interview with me, she said, "I have noticed that people are being shut out of conversations for immutable characteristics (i.e. cis, white, WASP, etc); something which makes me very uncomfortable... I think it is important to remind people that a fierce defence of free speech is the only way we keep our society sane. The evolution of the BLM movement is something I have found personally very worrying..."
To speak up at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining huge momentum in the UK and US, Krakue certainly put her neck on the line to question the motives of those around her. Her criticisms of the BLM in the UK number many. On this issue herself, Krakue said: "The potency of the group’s name has allowed it to gather in excess of £1 million in funding; money that they have stated on their website will go towards implementing their agenda of 'dismantling capitalism, abolishing the police, effectively destroying the traditional family and other destructive culturally Marxist ideas.'
"It is clear that this organisation, and the movement at large in the UK is not only trying to transpose issues widely unique to the US, but it is weaponizing a minority group to peddle an agenda that is ultimately harmful to the black lives they claim to protect..." Whilst her views are certainly swimming against the tide of a powerful mainstream media and online movement, Krakue is staying firm in her stance and trying to reach people with her message. She wants to see more people willing to challenge the changes society has been seeing, knowing full well that to stay silent means to be complicit in seeing the breakdown of a free country that she loves.
Whilst racism, sadly, still exists today across the world, Krakue is protective of the land in which she lives, and the citizens of it. "The UK is on the whole a very tolerant, multicultural and accepting society," she said in our interview. "I do not doubt there are issues in this country that disproportionately affect black people and people of a certain socio-economic standing. But I believe we have made a lot of progress with these issues and will continue to do so without race baiting, censorship, and falsely painting the UK as a systemically racist country."
Of course, with her willingness to stand up and speak against what she sees as negative forces coming into play across Britain and the world at large, Krakue has faced some abuse, hatred and black-lash from some individuals online. It is evidently a case in point that in today's world, it is no easy feat to stand against what so many are standing for. "Unfortunately for them, I am a very stubborn person," Krakue said of herself. That stubbornness and self-belief seems to fuel her work, because no matter how much her critics attack her, she holds firm, believing in the greater good of her cause.
Amongst some of the issues that Krakue tackles—not only on her social media platforms but also in her articles, online channel and work with the party, Talking Point UK—are the problems with the 'white privilege' label; suppression of free-speech; our treatment of historical figures and the trouble of a nation obsessed with 'political correctness.'
Krakue was never going to be walking on an easy path when it came to these issues. On the contrary, she has chosen the harder road on which to travel. In a world that seems increasingly threatened by original thought, Krakue has steadily built herself a platform where she will continue to reach the people out there she believes align themselves with her thinking, but who may be too frightened to speak out from fear of being labelled as something derogatory. Krakue's is a voice who is saying, it doesn't have to be this way. Challenge the narrative.
All the while the world is frightened to even talk about the big issues, a voice like Krakue's is refreshing. One need not even agree with all that she says to at least appreciate that she is out there doing something that is a rarity nowadays: showing that it is okay to not be swept up by the endless movements and protests. It's okay to not give in to the perpetually offended. It's okay to analyze, to debate – and it's okay to disagree.
As she embarks further on her path, I am excited to see what Esther Krakue does next. Hers is a strong and unique voice, one that is worthy of attention. Voices like hers are often the ones who can make the biggest impact.