Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock became visibly emotional in a powerful new video about her experiences with racism which she shared to her Instagram account this week. The popular British star spoke candidly in the five minute-long clip, which she began by sending love to the family of George Floyd, who died last month after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, as well as others who have experienced police brutality.
A visibly emotional Leigh-Anne admitted that she always felt as though she was the “least favoured” in the girl band and believed she had to work “10 times harder” than her bandmates — Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Jesy Nelson. She said she felt she was “invisible” in the group, per People.
“Part of me is fully aware that my experience would have been ever harder to deal with had I been dark-skinned. Our reality is no matter how far you think you’ve come, racism exists,” she said in the June 5 upload, as she noted that when she was growing up, she and her siblings never thought their race was a limitation.
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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. ????
Leigh-Anne, who had tears in her eyes at some points in the upload, also recalled an experience she had in the band almost a decade ago when the group filmed the music video for their hit single “Wings.”
“There comes a point in every black human’s life… [when] you realize racism does not exclude you.”
Nine years ago, after joining Little Mix, she said she “had the biggest awakening of [her] life,” as she said that she was told by a Black director she was working with that she would have to work “10 times harder” because she was “the black girl” in the group.
“Never in my life had someone told me I would need to work harder because of my race,” the singer and swimwear designer said this week, shortly after she announced her engagement to soccer player Andre Gray.
She also opened up about how she would sometimes feel “lonely” while on tour with her bandmates when they were in “predominantly white countries” because she found herself singing “to fans who don’t see me or hear me or cheer me on.”
In the caption of the heartfelt clip, Leigh-Anne explained that she didn’t film the video, in which she read from notes she’d written down, for sympathy. She added that she felt it was the right time to be “open and honest” with her 5.6 million followers due to the increased visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd.
Leigh-Anne’s video has been viewed more than 1.6 million times in the first 19 hours since she shared it to her Instagram account. It has also received over 14,000 comments.