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Race, Pop & Power: Leigh-Anne Pinnock was ‘scared of losing fans’

Leigh-Anne Pinnock chats to other women who have been negatively impacted by racism (Picture: Getty, @leighannepinnock, Instagram)

Ahead of her new documentary Race, Pop & Power, Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock revealed that she was scared of the backlash she might face with its release.

The new BBC Three documentary highlights racism in modern society and discusses issues of colourism, which is the prejudicial treatment of people of the same race based on the colour of their skin.

Leigh-Anne discusses not only her own experiences but chats with other women who share how they have been negatively impacted by racism.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other journalists, she explained the particular concerns she had.

‘I was really scared actually. I was scared people wouldn’t understand because I feel like with racism if you don’t experience it, how are you ever going to really get it?’ she queried.

‘I was also scared to lose fans, of offending fans because that’s not what I’m trying to do at all, I just wanted to address how I felt. I was really scared.’

Little Mix members Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards

Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards have supported Leigh-Anne with the release (Picture: Shutterstock)

Now that the singer has completed the documentary and it’s about to be released, her feelings have changed.

‘I’ve never felt so empowered and it makes me feel so much better knowing that the whole world is having this conversation. It’s not just behind closed doors, it’s not just on a Sunday with my family, everyone is having it,’ she said.

‘I’m having [the conversation] with my white friends who I would never have done before. It’s amazing to know that things are going in the right direction but we have a long way to go.’

Former Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan – who was featured in the documentary – said she ‘felt the same way’.

Speaking to other outlets, she divulged: ‘I was really scared. I was always desperately wanting people to like me, so I want to thank you for giving me this platform [Leigh-Anne].

‘By doing this you have empowered me to be able to talk about things. We’re not trying to offend anyone, we’re just trying to share our experiences. Difficult conversations are never easy to have and you’re going to have people who disagree.

‘The main goal is to get the message across so that the people who come after us don’t have to feel some of the ways we did. We just want equality and that’s the bottom line.’

Former Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan was also in Race, Pop & Power (Picture: Getty Images)

One of the main reasons Leigh-Anne wanted to do this documentary was because she knew she could reach so many different people with her platform.

She hopes that it creates change and encourages more diversity in all industries.

Speaking about the music industry in particular, the singer noted that things needed to be shaken up.

‘Although I feel like R&B is becoming bigger in the UK, I still feel like the representation isn’t where it should be in comparison to America. I can speak for pop music and representation is nowhere near where it should be,’ she said.

‘We’re taking inspiration from black people but why am I not seeing more black people?

‘I hope to see a change because it’s not fair and I’m not going to sit back and take it anymore, like I did for so many years.’

As the only black woman in Little Mix, over the years Leigh-Anne has faced racism from fans, the media and other people in the industry.

She revealed that she doesn’t always think she’s had the support she’s needed to deal with the microaggressions she was facing.

‘I feel like if I had more diversity in my team I’d have been better equipped to deal with the experiences I had.’

Leigh-Anne shared that the first time she felt complete love and acceptance was when Little Mix performed in front of a predominantly black audience in Brazil.

Choking up, the star explained: ‘I’d never seen anything like that before and I was being shown so much love. Why hadn’t I felt that before in the last 10 years?’

The performer hopes that this documentary helps create change and helps pave the way for other black people.

‘I want people to watch it and want to do something to help and try and make a change for the better. It’s not enough to just have the conversation, it’s time to take action,’ she said.

Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power airs on Thursday, May 13 at 9pm on BBC One and will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer from 6am.

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