The Little Mix singer revealed how racism ‘ruined’ her ten-year career with the band and made her wonder if she’d landed a job on the charts just to be the ‘token black girl’.
The 29-year-old honestly reveals her doubts and feelings in a new BBC documentary titled Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power.
In it, she admits to feeling “lost and invisible”. She is seen talking fondly to her mother Deborah, who is half Bajan, and her father John, who is half Jamaican, and says, “You’d be like, ‘Look where you are, you’re still making the same money.’ .
“But I wore a lot – I never felt good enough.
“I feel like it ruined a lot of my experience, which should have been the best time of my life. It’s f *** ing frustrating. “
And she confessed that she always felt like the least popular member of the award-winning group because of her race.
Leigh-Anne, Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall were perfectly paired in 2011 on talent show The X Factor.
Leigh-Anne spoke about how an early meeting with a group of fans made her realize that she was different.
“We did a radio tour,” she said. “We got off the plane and there were fans waiting for us and I was the first to walk towards them.
“They just walked past me and went over to the other girls.
“It was so weird. It was never like he was someone racially abusing me, but it was little things that happened on a regular basis. “
She went on to say that it was the little things that kept happening and adding up.
“And you can’t pretend it doesn’t happen, feel invisible, feel that people are just looking past me.”
Leigh-Anne also says that while she understands and is grateful for all the positive aspects in her life, such as her career, her fiancé and her home, the feeling of suffering “just doesn’t go away”.
She added, “It hurts and it hurts. And I ask myself: “Is this my color? ”
“All of these questions. Constantly pushing me to do better. I just wanted to be on the same level and nothing I was doing would get me there. “
Throughout the documentary, the singer discusses issues with singers who have had similar experiences, including Alexandra Burke and singer Sugababes Keisha Buchanan.
And that leads to Keisha and Leigh-Anne discussing whether Leigh-Anne was chosen to be a part of Little Mix because of the color of her skin – which Keisha believes to be the case.
Leigh-Anne said: “I still have a hard time talking about it in general. So the fact that it comes down to the symbolic black girl – you see it in other girl groups.
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“It’s like… not a trend, but it’s happened so often. It really makes me think, “If I had darker undertones, would I be sitting here now?” I do not know. “
Leigh-Anne recently created her non-profit organization The Black Fund which helps fund internships and mentorships for blacks in the creative industries.
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