'Little Mix''s Leigh-Anne & Jade Speak Against Racism
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
LittleMix members Leigh-Anne and Jade have taken to social media to speak out against racism. Both members happen to be of Mixed Raced origin and have plenty to say about their experience with racism growing up and as celebrities.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock who is of Barbadian and Jamaican origin has come forward about her experience being the only black Caribbean, member of the band. Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock says she "doesn't care" if she loses fans by talking about black rights.
"This is something you can't ignore, this is something you can't be quiet about," she told ITV's This Morning.
The singer was talking after a video about her personal experiences of racism went viral over the weekend.
"Some people that have posted similar videos have lost a lot of fans," she said. "I think it's disgusting - but it just proves what we're saying."
The star's Instagram video went up on Saturday as people around the US and the UK protested against the death of George Floyd.
Pinnock, whose parents are mixed race, said she had "the biggest awakening of my life" when filming the video for Little Mix's 2012 single Wings.
On the set, black director and choreographer Frank Gatson told her: "You're the black girl. You have to work 10 times harder."
She said: "Never in my life had someone told me I would need to work harder because of my race." Later, the words rang true.
In an interview with Glamour magazine in March 2019, Pinnock opened up about dealing with racism and comments on Twitter while feeling "invisible" for the first three years as the only black girl in Little Mix.
There comes a point in every black human’s life, no matter how much money you have or what you have achieved, you realise racism does not exclude you. Nine years ago, after joining Little Mix, I had the biggest awakening of my life. When we were filming "Wings", we worked with [choreographer] Frank Gatson. He said to me, 'You’re the black girl, you have to work 10 times harder.' Never in my life had someone told me 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. My reality was feeling lonely while touring predominantly white countries. I sang to fans who don't see me or hear me or cheer me on. My reality is feeling anxious before fan events and signings because I always feel like I’m the least favoured. My reality is constantly feeling like I have to work 10 times harder and longer to make my case in the group, because my talent alone isn't enough. My reality is all the times I felt invisible within my group. Part of me is fully aware that my experience would have been even harder to deal with had I been dark-skinned. Our reality is no matter how far you think you’ve come, racism exists. — Pinnock on the racism she has experienced throughout her career
Likewise Jade Thirlwall who is of West Asian and North African heritage (Yemeni and Egyptian specifically) on her Mothers side has recently called out Microsoft for confusing her with her band mate Leigh when they posted a article regarding Jade's experience on Racism at school and during her time with the band. MSN wrongly used the image of Leigh-Anne instead of Jade when talking about Jade's school experience of racist bullying effectively confusing the two women.
The former X Factor star went on to say: "This shit happens to Leigh-Anne Pinnock and I ALL THE TIME that it's become a running joke. It offends me that you couldn't differentiate the two women of colour out of four members of a group … DO BETTER!"
The error occurred in an article where Thirlwall opened up about the racial abuse she suffered growing up mixed-raced in an Arab community in South Shields, and later when she joined Little Mix.
"I think because I was bullied quite badly in school because of the colour of my skin and for being Arab I wasn't very proud of who I was," she told the BBC Sounds podcast No Country For Old Women,
"I think when I then entered the group I subconsciously didn't want to talk about my heritage or what my background was in fear of not being as popular, which sounds awful to say, but I was only 18 years old and through years of being ashamed of who I was I found it quite hard to talk about it."
"Where I am from, if you weren't evidently black you were literally put in a bracket of being called the p-word. When I was at school if I was ever bullied for the colour of my skin I'd get so confused as I'd be like, well I'm not from Pakistan.
"I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead, it was horrific.”
In the LittleMix book "Our World" Jade Thirlwall opens up regarding her own experiences at school.
Pic is blurry so here's a summary:
-Jade talks about how she had a lovely childhood until she got to secondary school.
-She was bullied by a girl and her friends, who were in her class
-The main girl would tell her she was ugly, call her a Paki, throw bleach powder on her
-One time the girl and her friends held Jade down and drew a bindi on her forehead
-Jade felt alone and didn't like going to school because of it
Leigh-Anne and Jade have been part of many celebrities that joined the Black Lives Matter movement and considering their personal experience. It's no surprise why they feel strongly about the movement. We can honestly say we're proud of their honesty and hope that more people will feel empowered and speak out against racial injustice.