*The late Natalie Cole opened up about her family’s colorism issues in her book, “Angel on My Shoulder: An Autobiography by Natalie Cole.”
In the book, the music icon recalls moments when anti-Black racism isolated her from other Black Americans during childhood while growing up in Los Angeles’ exclusive Hancock Park section, as reported by I Love Old School Music. The Coles were the only Black residents in the neighborhood.
“When I got friendly with the Black people who worked for us, MY MOTHER was appalled. She wanted us to interact with a different society-outside the house,” Cole wrote.
Natalie’s famous father Nat King Cole married her light-skinned mother, Maria Cole, much to the disapproval of her family.
“For a dark-skinned man such as my father to acquire a light-skinned woman such as my mother was a real important prize.Your status moved up. That doesn’t mean that her family was all that happy about her marrying my father. He was too Black for them,” wrote Natalie Cole.
Cole also shared her grandmother’s views on Black people.
“She [Natalie’s Grandmother] didn’t want my mother to get involved with anyone with too many Black characteristics, because then your children would look funny. It wasn’t just my mother, it’s the way many Black people were raised.”
Cole died in 2016 after suffering from an unknown illness. She struggled with substance abuse and was plagued with health problems, suffering from liver disease in 2008. She ended up getting a transplant. Natalie also contracted Hepatitis C, for which she underwent chemo.
She unpacked her battle with drugs in her autobiography.