Leigh-Anne Pinnock is opening up about her experience in the music industry.
While she may be a member of one of the biggest girl groups, Leigh-Anne explained that it didn’t make her exempt from feeling mistreated by fans.
“My reality was feeling lonely while touring to predominantly white countries. I sing to fans who don’t see me or hear me or cheer me on,” she explained while holding back tears. “My reality is feeling anxious before fan events and signings because I always feel like I’m the least favored. My constant reality is constantly feeling like I have to work 10 times harder and longer to mark my place in the group because my talent alone isn’t enough.”
The former X Factor contestant continued, “My reality is wanting to see other artists who I know are so talented but will never get the opportunities I have had because to the industry, they are not marketable. But they will get behind someone else with aspects of black culture the world wants to see but leave behind the aspects they feel make me unmarketable. My reality is all the times that I have felt invisible in my group but part of me is fully aware that my experience would be even harder to cope with had I been dark-skinned.”
Another moment Leigh-Anne remembered was when choreographer Frank Gatson, who is black, shared some advice during the making of “Wings.”
“There comes a point in every black human’s life, no matter how much money you have or what you have achieved, you realize racism does not exclude you. Nine years ago after joining Little Mix, I had the biggest awakening of my life,” she recalled. ”He said to me, ‘You are the black girl. You have to work 10 times harder.’ Never in my life had someone told me that I would need to work harder because of my race. Later on, what Frank Gatson said made sense. 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 underlying racism in the creative industries.”
For those wondering why Leigh-Anne decided to make a video, she explained her mindset in a caption.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Her post received support from many artists in the industry including Fifth Harmony member Normani.
“I am YOU and you are ME,” she wrote. “I see you sis.”
And although Leigh-Anne has spoken out before, she will continue in hopes of a better future.
“You learn to understand that you can’t be seen as too loud or too opinionated, otherwise you’re deemed a diva or aggressive. You learn that by walking into a room, you are deemed as 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,” she shared. “We are no longer in a position where we need to be quiet on this matter. And let’s all continue to speak up on racism and keep this movement going.”
For more ways to take action and get involved with the Black Lives Matter, click here.