Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock broke down in tears as she admitted she feared being “the least favoured” member of the group due to her race.
The singer, 28, shared an emotional video to Instagram, saying the events following the death of black man George Floyd had left her “feeling really heavy”.
Pinnock formed chart-topping girl group Little Mix in 2011 alongside bandmates Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson and Perrie Edwards.
In the video, the pop star, who is black, revealed she first realised her race would affect her career when revered choreographer Frank Gatson Jr – who is also black – said “you have to work 10 times harder” because of the colour of her skin.
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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. 🖤
She said: “I learned that the dream of being in the biggest girl band in the world came with its flaws and consequences.”
Pinnock, recently engaged to footballer partner Andre Gray, said the reality of being in Little Mix was “feeling lonely while touring to predominantly white countries”.
She said: “I sing to fans who don’t see me or hear me or cheer me on. My reality is feeling anxious before fan events and signings because I always feel like I’m the least favoured.
“My reality is constantly feeling like I have to work 10 times harder and longer to mark my place in the group because my talent alone isn’t enough.
“My reality is wanting to see other artists who I know are so talented but will never get opportunities I have had because to the industry, they are not marketable, but they will get behind someone else with the aspects of black culture the world wants to see, but will leave behind the aspects they feel make them unmarketable.
All we want is equality and justice for our black communityLeigh-Anne Pinnock
“My reality is all the times I’ve felt invisible within my group, part of me is fully aware that my experience would’ve been even harder to cope with had I been dark-skinned.”
In the caption for the video, Pinnock said she did not share the post for sympathy, rather she hopes it will help fans understand the racism that takes place.
She added: “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.”
Pinnock’s bandmates shared their support in the comments. Nelson posted three love hearts while Thirlwall said “my sister, proud of you”.
Mr Floyd died while being detained by police in Minneapolis on May 25. An officer filmed with his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck has been charged with second-degree murder, while three others at the scene have also been charged in connection to the death.
The incident sparked mass protests across the US, that have since spread to countries around the world.