X Factor’s Alexandra Burke Reveals Music Industry Racism: They Told Me To Bleach My Skin, To Look Whiter
Singer Alexandra Burke, who won the X-Factor UK in 2008, took to her Instagram to share some of the experiences she’s had in the music industry as a black woman. In the 15 minute long video, Alexandra Burke revealed some of the changes that music industry execs wanted her to undergo in terms of her appearance.
Alexandra started off the video detailing why she didn’t come out sooner to speak about the experiences she had,
“I’ve just been really frightened to speak my truth. Speak about my experiences within in the industry.This isn’t a video to bash anyone… this is simply me speaking about what I’ve been through in the past 11 years, and feeling like I’m not ashamed to speak about it.”
The singer was even told that she would have to work even harder in the music industry because of her race, even detailing music execs telling her to change her hairstyle,
“A few reasons are, I got told when I first won the X-Factor at 19… ‘Because you’re Black, you are gonna have to work 10 times harder than a white artist because of the color of your skin. ‘You can’t have braids, you can’t have an Afro… you have to have hair, for example, that appeals to white people.'”
The most shocking comment that Alexandra Burke was told was that she had to bleach her skin,
“I got told to bleach my skin, and that was something I refused to do. Because it’s just so absurd to me that somebody could even remotely say to someone, ‘Bleach your skin, so that you could look whiter, still, ’til this moment, it breaks my heart that I was told that. I’m trying to hold back the tears, because it’s really heartbreaking, the s–t that went on. I was only 19 years old, there’s only so much you can understand when your life [has] completely changed overnight. That was quite hard to digest.”
The singer also explained some of the microaggressions that she faced as well,
“I’ve been told from previous management companies, ‘You have to smile more on your Instagram because you come across aggressive. You can’t have baby hairs showing on any hairstyle that you do because you come across as aggressive.'”
Alexandra says that because of the current Black Lives Matter movements occurring across the globe, as well as former X Factor contestants such as Misha B being open and honest about their experiences and sharing their stories, Alexandra said she felt encouraged to finally open up about her experiences in the industry.
“I just want people to be inspired enough to speak their truth and don’t wait years like me, just try your best to be honest with yourself.”
See Alexandra’s full video below.
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I felt it was time to speak up… This is a scary moment for me. I didn’t always want to speak up.. but it is the right thing to do. So, here’s my truth, the positive and the emotional. ? Side note: When I talk about ‘not seeing colour’ I’m not referring to the idea of being blind to skin colour, I’m talking about the notion within the music industry and institutionally that whiter is better. Why does an industry that should be focused on vocal ability spend so much time dictating an artists worth on their colour?
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