Little Mix member Leigh-Anne Pinnock has made a new documentary for BBC Three: “Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop, and Power”, about racism and her experience as a Black woman in the music industry.
“Being a Black girl in the pop industry, I do feel like I have a responsibility to speak out,” Pinnock says in a video posted to YouTube by the studio, reflecting on why she chose to make the documentary. “I wanted to speak about my experiences and the way I felt in the band being the Black girl in the band […] I really wanted to explore why I felt so overlooked, so overshadowed.”
The documentary, which also examines colourism in the industry, features the perspectives of fellow Black female musicians and singer-songwriters, including Sugababes star Keisha Buchanan, Alexandra Burke, NAO, and Raye. In a clip from the documentary, Burke reveals she was told by record execs that she was “too dark to be in the industry” and “you need to bleach your skin because you won’t sell any records.”
“I feel like there are a lot of people out there that don’t necessarily understand how deeply ingrained racism is and how it really does affect so many people of colour, so many Black people,” Pinnock added.
Last year the singer opened up about her experiences with racism on “This Morning” after she revealed she felt like she was “the least favoured” of Little Mix. She said, when the group filmed their music video for “Wings” nine years ago, choreographer Frank Gatson, an African-American, told her: “You are the Black girl, you have to work ten times harder.”
Pinnock said in the clip, “Never in my life had someone told me I would need to work harder because of my race.”