Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock feared she'd lose career by speaking about racism

Albertina LloydEntertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Yahoo Celebrity UK

Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock has admitted previously feeling she might be risking her career by speaking out against racism.

The 28-year-old singer - who posted a video on Instagram saying being “the black girl” in the group has meant she has had to work “ten times harder” - has said speaking out she has helped relieve her of the “pain” she has been carrying around for nine years.

Pinnock told ITV’s This Morning: “A lot of people would say to me ‘It’s in your head.’ In my team I only have one mixed race person who works for me. I’m touring predominately white countries, just that sense of a misplacement sort of feeling. Just like I not really belonged.

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Leigh-Anne Pinnock said she has released years of pain by speaking out against racism. (ITV)
Leigh-Anne Pinnock said she has released years of pain by speaking out against racism. (ITV)

Read more: Leigh-Anne Pinnock ‘Racism means I have to work 10 times harder

“I could only speak to my family and some of my friends and I felt like a lot of people didn’t understand why I felt like I did. When I watch that video back I can see how much pain I’m carrying.”

Asked by presenter Holly Willoughby if she was scared to speak out before, she admitted there had been "element of that".

But she said the Black Lives Matter  protests sparked by the death of George Floyd  had empowered her to voice her feelings, and she no longer cared if it affected her popularity.

Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock with bandmates Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson. (Getty Images)
Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock with bandmates Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson. (Getty Images)

Pinnock said: “I spoke about my experiences briefly last year and I just didn’t feel like enough people cared. This is the first time in my entire life that the whole world is speaking about racism, speaking about black lives. I was so overwhelmed...

"I think for now, this is just something you can't ignore. You can't be quiet about it.

"I can't be quiet about this. I don't care how much I say because this is so many people's reality. What's the point 'going on' if you can't get a change?"

She added: "I don't care if I lose fans – and I know people that have posted have lost fans.

"And it's disgusting, but it just proves what we're saying."

Jamelia said she has experienced racism every day of her life. (ITV)
Jamelia said she has experienced racism every day of her life. (ITV)

Singer Jamelia, 39, also appeared on the show and said she felt being in the public eye she had not only been subjected to hatred, but “little microagressions that I think white people are completely oblivious to.”

The Superstar singer said “This is not new but yes it is inflamed because everyone is talking about it. Yes I am angry but I have been angry for a very long time.

"I have experienced racism every day of my life."

Pinnock took part in a Black Lives Matter protest march in London at the weekend. She was spotted accompanied by a camera and is believed to be filming a documentary for BBC Three.

Read more: Leigh-Anne Pinnock Is Engaged to Soccer Star Andre Gray

Speaking about the protests she said: “It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had in my life. Everyone coming together, as you say it was such a sense of unity. So many different races, so many different ages, all there for the same thing - change for black lives and oh my word, it was just overwhelming. I’ve never ever seen anything like it, but it was peaceful. It was just beautiful.

“This cannot be a moment, it has to be a movement and I feel like people are angry. I don’t feel like this is gonna end anytime soon, it can’t until there is change… But we just have to keep the conversation going, we just have to.”

Pinnock rose to fame after winning The X Factor in 2011 with Little Mix bandmates Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Jesy Nelson.

George Floyd died aged 46 after a white Minneapolis police officer was seen pinning him to the ground by kneeling on his neck as he pleaded for air. Former police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder.

In response, anti-racism protests have been held around the world.

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