Leigh-Anne Pinnock is one quarter of one of the most successful and well-recognised girl bands in the world. When she’s not dropping hits with Little Mix, she’s serving looks on Instagram. But it's not all chart success and fashion fun. Over the last few months Pinnock has opened up about the racism and discrimination she’s experienced during her time in Little Mix. Now she's making a film with BBC Three exploring her own experiences of racism and colourism as a Black woman in the UK, and the wider issues related to race.
It was first announced that Pinnock would be fronting her own documentary in April 2020, after the success of band mate Jesy Nelson’s film with the BBC. In Leigh-Anne: Colourism and Race, the singer explores how working and living in a systemically racist society has affected her and the people around her. She details the racism that she’s experienced and opens up her home so fans will get behind the scenes access as she questions how discrimination has shaped her life and the UK as a whole. She’s worked on the film with her childhood friend, director Tash Gaunt.
Pinnock has used her platform over the last few months to talk about how racism has affected her personally. In June 2020 she shared a video on Instagram where she said she felt like the “least favoured” in Little Mix. She also appeared on The Talk on Channel 4 with her parents. She said when she was growing up, “I just wish that I was more educated on this and I knew that, yeah, your race will hold you back a little bit. I just wish I knew that so I could prepare myself.”
Speaking about her latest project with BBC Three, Pinnock said, “I want to make this film because I have always been passionate about rights for Black people. Conversations surrounding racism and colourism are something I constantly have with my boyfriend and family, and as I have a platform, I want to use that platform to bring this conversation to a wider audience and stand up for my Black and Brown community. Systemic racism is complex; through making this documentary I want to learn how I can best lend my voice to the debate so that the young people who look up to me won't have to face what me and my generation have had to.”
Colourism is a key theme in the 60-minute film and people have questioned whether Pinnock is the right person to be tackling the topic as, due to her light skin, she isn't a victim of colourism in the way dark skinned Black women are. Some have argued that Misha B would have been a better choice to explore the issue. Misha B also appeared on the X Factor and has since detailed the racism and micro-aggressions she experienced while on the show and in the music industry. Pinnock has acknowledged that having light skin and being a celebrity gives her privilege, but it remains to be seen how she'll address the issue in the documentary.
Leigh-Anne: Colourism and Race is a one-off hour documentary airing on BBC Three.