Singer Fleur East has spoken out about being told her natural hair "wasn't marketable" and advised to straighten it in order to be a success in the music industry.
Fleur opened up in an interview on Good Morning Britain with Lorraine Kelly, in which she spoke about the importance of diversity and representation in all areas of life, and people of all races coming together to actively oppose racism.
Speaking about being advised to straighten her hair to be a success in the music industry, Fleur, who shot to fame after coming second on The X Factor in 2014, said:
“It’s hard to believe now. I was literally told my natural hair was distracting, unruly and it wasn’t marketable and wasn’t going to sell.
“I think one of the few people that I looked up to was Mel B in the Spice Girls. I saw her wearing her curls, wearing her natural afro hair out proudly, that encouraged me to embrace my natural hair and to celebrate that.
“It’s so important to have representation and diversity in the media, in the workforce, in so many different places," she added.
Elsewhere in the interview, Fleur spoke about a rap she posted on Instagram, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I did it in the best way I know how – using my music to spread the message.
“I’ve had a lot of school teachers contact me and say that they’ve used it in the curriculum… which is incredible," she said.
Fleur stressed the importance of everyone, regardless of their race, standing together and speaking up against racism.
“You don’t have to be Black or part of the Black community to stand up against racial injustice... We’re part of the human race, we’re all brothers and sisters. And anything that you can see that affects your brother or sister, should affect you.”
She also spoke about the need to raise children with an actively anti-racist upbringing.
“No one’s born racist. It all starts in the home. I learnt about racism in my household… Both my parents taught me to celebrate my race, my heritage. It’s such a shame those same lessons aren’t taught in every household.
“It starts with the younger generation, they’re the future.”
Watch Good Morning Britain with Lorraine Kelly weekdays from 9am on ITV.
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