Born in 1953 to Anglo-Jewish/Nigerian parents, Pauline Black was subsequently adopted by a white, working class family in Romford. Never quite at home there, Pauline was always made to feel different, both by the local community and members of her extended family, who saw her at best as a curiosity, at worst as an embarrassing inconvenience. Escaping her small town background, she discovered a different way of life – making music. Lead singer for platinum-selling 2-Tone band, The Selecter, Pauline Black was the Queen of British Ska. The only woman in a movement dominated by men, she toured with The Specials, Madness, Dexy’s Midnight Runners when they were at the top of the charts – and, sometimes, on their worst behaviour.


From childhood to fame, from singing to acting and broadcasting, from adoption to her recent search for her birth parents, Black By Design is a funny and enlightening story of music, race, family and roots. 



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 ”The best voice that ever graced 2-Tone.”—Rolling Stone


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