08/08/2013 11:35 BST | Updated 08/08/2013 11:46 BST

Mariah Carey Reveals Someone Spat In Her Face In A Racist Attack

Mariah Carey has opened up about a racist attack she experienced as a child - when someone spat in her face on the school bus.

The singer and actress was discussing the portrayal of racism in Lee Daniels' The Butler during a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Yahoo Movies reported.

Mariah Carey

Mariah plays the mother of White House Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) in the film, which sees a plantation owner rape her character in front of her son before shooting her husband. But Mariah revealed the scenes in the film that she found most disturbing was the recreation of the 1960 Lunch Counter sit-in in North Carolina when a white woman spits on a black college student for asking to be served at the white-only counter.

The 43-year-old singer recalled: "That actually happened to me. I know people would be in shock and not really want to believe or accept that, but it did. That right there, that was almost the deepest thing to me in the movie because I know what she went through - and it happened to be a bus as well. It was a school bus."

Co-star Oprah Winfrey asked: "Where somebody spit on you?" to which Mariah replied: "Yeah. In the face and in the same way."

Mariah is the daughter of a white Irish American mother and an African American/Venezuelan father and her mother's family disowned her after she married in 1960.

The singer has spoken in the past about the racial prejudice she experienced growing up and in her song Close My Eyes she sings: "I left the worst unsaid; Let it all dissipate; And I try to forget."


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