Alexandra Burke alleges she was ‘asked to bleach her skin’ after her X Factor win and was told to ‘smile more so that people would warm to her’ as she discusses racism in the industry
The 32-year-old divulged her view of the realities of being a popstar in the music industry as a person of colour after appearing to be on cloud-nine after winning The X Factor, performing alongside her hero Beyoncé and scoring her first number-one hit.
Choosing not to comment on who suggested the procedure, the Islington-born singer said it was a ‘certain person on the creative side’ who was working with her.
Hurtful: Alexandra Burke alleged she was ‘asked to bleach her skin’ after her X Factor win and was told she would have to work ’10 times harder’ (pictured in 2018)
The Strictly Come Dancing runner-up experienced racism for the first time at just 12 years old after her first TV appearance on talent show Star for a Night.
‘I started getting comments like: “Because you’re black, you won’t get that far. Because you’re black, you need to work 10 times harder.” Industry people were saying it as well as Joe Bloggs,’ Alexandra claimed.
‘The remarks came quite often and were difficult to digest,’ she said.
Top of the world: She was seemingly on cloud-nine after winning The X Factor, performing alongside her hero Beyoncé and scoring her first number-one with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in 2008 (pictured during The X Factor’s Live Shows in 2008)
The Bad Boys singer was only 19-years-old when she won The X Factor and went from playing gigs at her local pub to performing alongside Elton John at the O2 Arena in front of a 20,000-strong crowd.
After taking part in 2017’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, Alexandra said she let her management team go after they repeatedly told her to ‘smile more’, because otherwise nobody would ‘warm’ to her.
One troubling incident with her record label arose as Alexandra, who was signed to Decca at the time, was preparing to perform at the London Palladium in honour of Bruce Forsyth in 2018.
‘I had my hair in a bun, with a couple of baby hairs. It was classic, classy; I had a black dress on,’ she recalled.
Baby: The Bad Boys singer was only 19-years-old when she won The X Factor (pictured during the show’s Judges’ Houses round in 2008)
Shocking: The 32-year-old revealed that after her time on the X Factor, she was once asked to bleach her skin after her time on the ITV show, which she refused to do (pictured in 2008 during the X Factor’s Live Shows)
‘Half an hour before I was due on stage, my hair stylist came up to me and said: “I’ve just been told you look quite aggressive with this hairstyle. We need to change it.”
‘I said: ‘What?’ and he said: “Your record label’s just told me you look aggressive, so we have to change it.”‘ When she pressed further, she was told it was the baby hairs stuck to her head.
It comes after the vocal powerhouse released a video to Instagram last June where she was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to tell her story.
Appalling: One troubling incident with her record label Decca arose as Alexandra was preparing to perform at the London Palladium in honour of Bruce Forsyth in 2018 (pictured in 2018)
She was told, ‘You can’t have braids, you can’t have an afro, you can’t have anything that basically is my identity.
‘You have to have hair that appeals to white people so they understand you better.’
Representatives for Alexandra, Decca Records and Freemantle Entertainment were contacted for comment by MailOnline.
Heartfelt: It comes after the vocal powerhouse released a video to Instagram last June where she was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to tell her story