Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock has said she does not care if she loses fans for speaking out about racism.
The singer said she was driven to post an emotional video on Instagram about her experiences as the only black member of the girl group because she wanted to get rid of the pain she had been carrying.
She told ITV’s This Morning: “I spoke about my experiences briefly last year and I just didn’t feel like enough people cared, like enough people were listening.
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Like many of you, I have been feeling really heavy with everything that we are seeing online and hearing on the news. In the past I have mentioned some personal experiences that were triggered due to my race. More than ever I felt like it was time that I was completely open and honest with you all because finally, the world is awake and people want to listen, help and understand. I'm not doing this video for sympathy or for you to watch and then go about normal life. I'm doing it because enough is enough and hopefully from sharing this we can all do more to understand the racism that takes place. In doing this we are able to approach the bigger issue and break down systemic racism. All we want is equality and justice for our black community. 🖤
“And obviously, this is the first time in my life that the whole world is speaking about racism, speaking about black lives and I was just so overwhelmed by it and I just thought, ‘You know what, I feel like I need to kind of get rid of this pain that I’ve been carrying around for nine years and hopefully relate to people’. I just felt it was the right time to post it.”
She continued: “Even when I watch that video back and I can see how much pain that I’m carrying, but now I just feel like people are starting to understand and educate themselves and see that this problem is massive and we need to talk about it and there needs to be a change because we just can’t go on like this anymore. Four hundred years of oppression, it just can’t go on anymore.”
Pinnock said she had been overwhelmed by the support she had received in the aftermath, including from Fifth Harmony’s Normani and The Saturdays’ Rochelle Humes.
She continued: “It’s actually been such a weight lifted for me. I was hearing from people who have been in the same sort of experiences that I have, so being the black girl in their band in the pop industry, saying how they felt exactly the same way as me and I’ve never ever had conversations with people who have had similar experiences as me.”
Describing her time in Little Mix over the past nine years, Pinnock said: “It was weird because a lot of people would say to me, ‘It’s in your head, it’s in your head. Of course people love you, what do you mean?’
'A lot of people would say to me it's in your head' says Little Mix's Leigh-Anne, after speaking out about her experience of racism, and what it's been like for her.— This Morning (@thismorning) June 9, 2020
See the full interview here https://t.co/Q7IV485mUn pic.twitter.com/RiF9IIjiQy
“My team, I only have one mixed-race person that works for me. I’m touring to predominantly white countries, just that sort of sense of feeling like a misplacement sort of feeling, just not like I really belonged and I could only really speak to my family and some of my friends. I just felt like a lot of people didn’t understand why I felt the way I did.”
She also agreed that she previously felt that if she spoke about racism in the music industry too much it might also affect her career, adding: “This is something you can’t ignore, I don’t care how much I preach about this, I don’t care how much I say, because this is my reality and so many other people’s reality and what’s the point in even going on if we can’t get a a change?
“I’m not going to just sit here and not say anything. I don’t care if I lose fans and I already know that some people who have posted have lost a lot of fans and I just think it’s disgusting, but it just proves what we’re saying.”