Leigh-Anne Pinnock Admits Feeling 'Undervalued' By Little Mix's 'Predominately White' Fans

"I really felt like a lot of the time I was overlooked and undervalued," the Don't Say Love singer shared.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock
Leigh-Anne Pinnock
David M. Benett via Getty Images

Former Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock has revealed she often felt “overlooked and undervalued” by the group’s “predominately white” fans.

The chart-topping singer achieved worldwide fame after winning The X Factor in 2011, alongside bandmates Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Jesy Nelson.

As she prepares to launch her first debut single Don’t Say Love, Leigh-Anne has detailed some of the struggles she faced as the only member of the group who is of Black heritage.

“The pop industry is very white, we did have a predominately white fan base,” she said in an interview with Vogue.

“It took me so long to understand why I was feeling so undervalued. I just blamed myself. My family would be like, ‘Oh, Leigh, you’re getting the same money. It’s fine.’ I just couldn’t accept that.”

Leigh-Anne with her former bandmates Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall
Leigh-Anne with her former bandmates Jesy Nelson, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall
HGL via Getty Images

She added that a tour stop in Brazil early in 2020 – where she heard Black fans chanting her name – proved to be a life-changing experience for her.

Fans were chanting my name – I’ve never had a response like that and we’d been in the group for nine years,” she recalled.

This isn’t the first time Leigh-Anne has spoken out about the negative feelings she experienced during her time in Little Mix.

In 2020, she broke down in tears while sharing that she felt like “the least favoured” member of the group due to her race.

“I sing to fans who don’t see me or hear me or cheer me on,” Leigh-Anne said in a video posted on her Instagram page.

“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 mark my place in the group because my talent alone isn’t enough.

“My reality is wanting to see other artists who I know are so talented but will never get opportunities I have had because to the industry, they are not marketable, but they will get behind someone else with the aspects of Black culture the world wants to see, but will leave behind the aspects they feel make them unmarketable.”

She added: “My reality is all the times I’ve felt invisible within my group, part of me is fully aware that my experience would’ve been even harder to cope with had I been dark-skinned.”

Leigh-Anne went on to front a BBC documentary about racism within the music industry titled Race, Pop And Power.

Elsewhere in her Vogue interview, Leigh-Anne explained that her upcoming debut solo track is about wanting to be loved wholeheartedly.

“Within the group and in my career, I really felt like a lot of the time I was overlooked and undervalued,” she said.

“I really wanted to get that emotion across in the video: frustration, sadness, anger.

“I wanted to get that across in my first single, so I could just leave that girl and that feeling in the past.”

After teasing her fans with a snippet of her new song on Instagram just last week, her former bandmates wasted no time in voicing their support.


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