Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock has been making a documentary for more than a year about her experience as the only black member of her band. In the film, she speaks to other people - including fellow musicians - about racism in the music industry. I spoke to her in a quiet studio in East London.

"The last tour, I remember coming off stage and crying most nights… and just being like, 'Why do I feel like this? Why do I feel like no one likes me? I might as well not be on the stage.'"

'The lack of diversity is disgraceful.' the Shout Out to My Ex singer says about the wider media industry, ahead of her BBC Three documentary Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power.


"So, I think however I can… be an ally, then that is what I want to do. We all know that racism is a massive horrible issue in this country and I really wanted to delve deeper into it.

It was important for someone like me to do something like this as well [because] I do have such a predominantly massive white fanbase and the people that I feel like I could reach by doing this documentary is massive. Why wouldn't I put myself out there and do that?"

Although racism is the subject of the documentary, Leigh-Anne also touches on colourism - when a lighter-skinned person is favoured over a darker-skinned person due to the shade of their skin.


Leigh-Anne says: "I wanted to use my voice to address colourism because I am so aware of how awful it is and it is just something that needs to be spoken about.

"I know my privilege and I do address it in the documentary. What I address is that I know that if I was some shades darker that I wouldn't be in the band. I think that was so important for me to address because it is true.

We know there aren't enough dark-skinned women that are being represented so that was something I really felt like I needed to talk about."

She adds: "I wanted to speak about my experiences and the way I felt in the band, being the black girl in the band and people identifying me as the black girl. I really wanted to explore why I felt so overlooked, so shadowed and it was down to my colour.

But also, I wanted to be able to hear from other black women on their experiences."

In the documentary, Leigh-Anne speaks to black British pop stars, including Keisha Buchanan from Sugababes, former X Factor contestant Alexandra Burke and singer-songwriters Raye and NAO.

Alexandra remembered the time she was told she was "too dark to be in the industry."

She was told: "You need to bleach your skin because you won't sell any records."

"That's what makes me feel at times that I don't want to be in this industry," she says. "They took my confidence away so much that I couldn't be me."

Read the full story here ; BBC.