The singer spoke about how she has been mistreated by people in the music industry in a tearful, 15-minute Instagram video posted on Friday night (19 June), with the caption: “I felt it was time to speak up… This is a scary moment for me… but it is the right thing to do. So, here’s my truth.”
In the video, Burke covers everything from the racist micro-aggressions she has experienced throughout her life, to her mother’s death in 2017.
Speaking about her experience of the music industry after she won The X Factor aged 19, Burke said she was told she would have to work 10 times harder than a white artist because of the colour of her skin.
She said: “I was told, ‘You can’t have braids, you can’t have an afro, you have to have hair that appeals to white people so white people can understand you better.’
“I got told to bleach my skin. That was something I refused to do because it’s absurd to me someone can say to someone, ‘Bleach your skin so you can look whiter.’ Still, to this moment, it breaks my heart.”
As a winner of The X Factor, Burke received a recording contract with Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco, which is co-owned by Sony Music Entertainment.
Burke’s revelations come in the wake of Misha B accusing former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos of racism on the show, allegations which she has denied.
Misha had claimed that producers forced an “angry black girl” narrative on her during the eighth series in 2011.
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