Melanie Brown of the Spice Girls says she has accepted an MBE on behalf of women suffering abuse “in all shapes and forms”.
The pop superstar was given the accolade in the New Year Honours for services to charitable causes and vulnerable women, following her work with domestic violence charity Women’s Aid.
The 46 year-old, known to fans as Mel B or Scary Spice, said the honour meant “more than anyone will ever know” and that she had “such mixed emotions”.
“This has taken so long to sink in because it means so much to me,” she said.
“To go through such dark times and then to start coming into the light and speaking out for myself and other women has been at times incredibly painful but also unbelievably empowering.
“I feel I’m accepting this award on behalf of all women who have gone through — or going through — abuse in all its shapes and forms.
“I am so grateful not just to be a survivor but to have a platform to keep speaking out as Patron of Women’s Aid.”
Earlier this year, the singer starred in a short film exploring domestic violence through dance.
The video, which was directed by and featured the music of composer Fabio D’Andrea, saw her recreating a woman’s escape from an abusive relationship and was inspired by the stories she heard while a Women’s Aid patron.
The dance was choreographed by Ashley Wallen, who has worked with stars including Kylie Minogue and Mariah Carey and on The Greatest Showman film starring Hugh Jackman.
Brown split from film producer ex-husband Stephen Belafonte in 2018 after a decade.
She claimed in her 2018 memoir Brutally Honest that she had suffered abuse – allegations Belafonte has repeatedly denied.
I feel I’m accepting this award on behalf of all women who have gone through — or going through — abuse in all its shapes and forms.Spice Girls singer Melanie Brown
She told The Sun that receiving the honour had made her “incredibly proud of myself”.
“Receiving that letter telling me about the MBE . . . it was the first time I thought that I’d done something,” she said.
“Not as a Spice Girl, but as Melanie Brown — this working-class, mixed-race kid from Leeds who has always done her own thing, regardless.
“That made me feel incredibly proud of myself, of all women who’ve been through similar experiences and of all the people who have helped me along this path.”
Brown’s father died from cancer following an eight-year illness.
The singer said that after telling her mother the news she had driven to his graveside to share the news with him.
“So apart from all the women I want to dedicate this award to, I also want to dedicate it to a good man: My dad,” she said.
“He started the journey I will be on for the rest of my life, trying to do as much as I can to raise awareness for domestic abuse.”
Brown, originally from Leeds, won five Brit Awards and scored nine UK number one singles alongside her fellow Spice Girls – Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Horner.
After the group went on hiatus in 2000, she established herself as a TV personality and talent show judge, with appearances on The X Factor, Celebrity Juice and America’s Got Talent.
The girl group reunited in 2019 for a tour of the UK and Ireland, although Beckham did not join her former bandmates.
Brown is only the second Spice Girl whose services have been celebrated through the British honours system.
Beckham was made an OBE by the Duke of Cambridge in April 2017 in recognition of her 17-year career as a fashion designer outside of the band.