ALEXANDRA Burke has revealed that she used to lay awake at night crying about the racism she endured after winning The X Factor.
Alexandra, 32, who has released her new single Naturally featuring Beenie Man today, said she was “scared” to speak up about the racism she faced in the music industry.
In an emotional 15-minute clip, the former X Factor winner spoke about her own experience within the music industry and claimed she was asked to lighten her skin.
Before making the decision to speak out, Alexandra revealed to Stella Magazine: “All I’d ever thought since I got into the music industry was that I was so lucky to be given the chance to sing and that I had to just suck it up and smile, and do what I was told.
“I was 100 per cent focused on pleasing people. I was terrified that if I said something the door would slam in my face.
“I am embarrassed that I went along with it for so long, but I was just 20 and it made me feel I had to be more grateful, and that somehow I was less.”
She continued: “When it was suggested I bleach my skin, I knew I would never do that – but just the fact that someone has said that to you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself.
“I always felt anxious. If tickets went on sale for a tour I’d think, no one will buy them.”
The Bad Boys singer finally decided to speak her truth, despite feeling “scared and anxious”.
“Initially I didn’t want to say anything, I guess I was still scared. But then I’d lie awake at night crying, thinking about my brothers, my mum, about myself,” she said.
“Then one day I was sitting in front of this photo of Mum, chatting with a songwriter when I felt my mum very strongly telling me to speak up.
“I stopped the conversation and told him I had something I needed to do. Then I went on to my phone, pressed record and just started to talk.
“I didn’t prepare, I didn’t think, I just spoke. I tried to upload it, but it just wouldn’t upload. Part of me felt so anxious but part of me felt relieved.
“So I put on music, got out two bottles of wine and danced with a friend until it finally went online and then I just went to bed thinking, ‘What will be, will be’,” she added.
Understandably, the singer feels so much better since speaking out and is looking forward to the future and potentially starting a family.
“Since that post, I feel liberated. I feel strong enough to stand by what I have said. I can stop worrying, and start really believing in myself,” Alexandra explained.
“It has changed so many things. I feel comfortable in my skin and I finally think it’s OK for me to have kids.
“I’ve always felt if I did, I’d never be able to take time out and then come back because my spot would be taken by someone else.
“I’ve always had it in my head that there’s not much room for black female performers. But now I’ve stopped being scared. I feel I can be the woman my mother raised me to be.”
Alexandra’s new single, Naturally, is especially for Notting Hill Carnival – of which Alexandra is an Ambassador.
She’s just become an Ambassador for Smart Works, which also has the Duchess of Sussex as a patron.
Alexandra and Meghan met and bonded before Alexandra performed at The Commonwealth Service back in March.
Their chat gave rise to much speculation on Twitter, with Alexandra saying: “It was a private conversation, but Meghan is someone I really admire. Her mum reminds me of my mum.
“I feel she has had a hard time in the media, and you don’t want to believe it, but it does make you question if it is all down to racism.”