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Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock's BBC documentary Race, Pop & Power demands change

·4 min read
Photo credit: BBC/Dragonfly/Richard Ansett
Photo credit: BBC/Dragonfly/Richard Ansett

Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock's BBC documentary Race, Pop & Power has received an outpouring of support from fans, with viewers thanking her for highlighting a conversation about racism in the music industry.

In the doc, which aired tonight (May 13), Leigh-Anne explored how her Caribbean heritage has shaped her identity with her parents, visited Black Lives Matter protests to discuss what she could do to help with the movement, and approached the people at the top of her record label to ask what more could be done to combat racist attitudes.

She talked at length about the impact of colourism, suggesting that she might not have made it to the final Little Mix line-up if she'd had darker skin. Leigh-Anne also sat down and compared her experiences of racism with fellow performers Alexandra Burke, Nao, RAYE and Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan.

Photo credit: BBC/Dragonfly/Richard Ansett
Photo credit: BBC/Dragonfly/Richard Ansett

Related: Jesy Nelson responds to Little Mix's Brit Awards moment

"We're taught not to talk about it," Burke said, divulging that she had been told by members of the industry to bleach her skin in order to sell records. She admitted that the impact of these comments made her feel like she should quit performing.

During a conversation with bandmate Jade Thirlwall, both singers reflected on their first photoshoot and how they wanted to get plastic surgery because looking white was perceived to be "beautiful".

"I thought 'Oh my god, to be beautiful and glamorous you have to uphold this image of basically looking as white as possible,'" Jade said.

Photo credit: BBC/Dragonfly
Photo credit: BBC/Dragonfly

Related: Little Mix star Jesy Nelson's BBC One documentary Odd One Out makes for heartbreaking but important viewing

Fans congratulated Leigh-Anne on making the documentary – especially for showing her passion for these issues and using her power for change.

"It's one thing to tell someone who has experienced racism to just be stoic and get on with it, but that has happened for generations and nothing much changes," one fan tweeted. "It's brilliant that Leigh-Anne Pinnock is speaking out so passionately and powerfully."

"Watching Leigh-Anne's documentary really hits home so much to how much prejudice there is in the world especially the treatment of those who are of colour in the music industry," another tweeted, adding that they were "honestly so proud" of her for filming the special.

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One even suggested that the BBC check in with Leigh-Anne a year on, to see if anything in the industry has changed. Watch this space.

In happier news, Leigh-Anne and her football player fiancé Andre Gray announced on Instagram earlier this month that they are having a baby.

"We've dreamed about this moment for so long and we can't believe the dream is finally coming true... we can't wait to meet you," she wrote.

Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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