• Leigh-Anne Pinnock has spoken out about personal encounters with racism in response to the global Black Lives Matter movement. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
"He said to me, ‘You’re the Black girl, you have to work 10 times harder.’ Never in my life had someone told me I would need to work harder because of my race."
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

10 Jun 2020 - 1:22 PM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2020 - 1:22 PM

Leigh-Anne Pinnock, a member of international girl group Little Mix, has spoken out about her experiences with racism.

Sharing a video to her Instagram account over the weekend, Pinnock explained that "there comes a point in every Black human’s life, no matter how much money you have or what you have achieved, [when] you realise racism does not exclude you."

He said to me, ‘You’re the Black girl, you have to work 10 times harder.’ 

She continued: "Nine years ago, after joining Little Mix, I had the biggest awakening of my life. When we were filming ‘Wings’, we worked with [choreographer] Frank Gatson. He said to me, ‘You’re the Black girl, you have to work 10 times harder.’ Never in my life had someone told me I would need to work harder because of my race.

“Later on, what Frank Gatson said made sense,” she added. “I learned that the dream of being in the biggest girl band in the world came with its flaws and consequences. Consequences such as knowing about the existent underlined racism in the creative industries.

“You learn to understand you can’t be seen to be too loud or too opinionated otherwise you’re deemed a diva or aggressive. You learn that by walking into a room you are deemed unapproachable or offish before anyone has even approached you. You learn that by voicing your opinion about the lack of diversity within the industry is like smashing your head against a brick wall.”

"This is something you can't ignore, this is something you can't be quiet about," she later said in an interview with ITV's This Morning in the UK.

"Some people that have posted [similar videos] have lost a lot of fans," she said. "I think it's disgusting - but it just proves what we're saying."

“I spoke about my experiences briefly last year and I just didn’t feel like enough people cared, like enough people were listening."

"This is something you can't ignore, this is something you can't be quiet about."

However, Pinnock said she had been overwhelmed by the support she'd received since sharing the emotional video, with other high profile musicians including Fifth Harmony’s Normani and The Saturdays’ Rochelle Humes reaching out.

“It’s actually been such a weight lifted for me," she said.

"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.”

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