X Factor's Alexandra Burke shares experiences of racism in the music industry

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X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has opened up about facing racism in the music industry.

Alexandra, who rose to fame as champion of The X Factor in 2008, took to Instagram to share her experiences in a lengthy video.

Alexandra told fans: “I got told when I first won the X Factor at 19, I got told, ‘right, ’cause you’re black, you are gonna have to work ten times harder than a white artist because of the colour of your skin.

“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 people can understand you better.”

She continued: “I got told to bleach my skin and that was something I refused to do. Still to this moment it breaks my heart that I was told that.”

Trying to hold back tears, Alexandra went on to say how she was told: “You can’t release this sort of music because white people won’t understand that.”

“I’m so upset with myself that I allowed that,” Alexandra went on, “And the joke of it is, I could have spoken up much earlier, was too scared to, even doing this video now scares me.”

Alexandra also spoke about her treatment by the press during her time on Strictly Come Dancing, hitting back at journalists who branded her a “diva” following the passing of her mother.

“That was the image they had of me, because of the papers.” she explained. “I was so scared on that show. So many trolls, telling me all kinds of stuff.

“I have no idea how I got through it. I don’t even like thinking about that experience. I believe it’s simply because of me being a black strong woman.”

Alexandra concluded by asking people to “be kind”.

She said: “This is the first time that I’ve felt like I could actually speak up about all of that. I kept myself so quiet and I’m angry at myself for that but now that this movement is happening, I just feel like now is the right time to speak up.”

“People are people, we cut we bleed the same, we’re all human we all have feelings, so be kind.”

You can watch Alexandra’s video in full on Instagram here.

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