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I grew up feeling different, says Mel B

Mel B experienced racism at an early age credit:Bang Showbiz
Mel B experienced racism at an early age credit:Bang Showbiz

Mel B grew up "feeling different".

The 48-year-old pop star has revealed that she developed "a proper idea of justice" after she experienced racism during her younger years.

Mel - who was born and raised in Leeds, in northern England - told the Guardian newspaper: "I grew up feeling different.

"My dad is from Nevis in the Caribbean, and my mum is an English rose. There weren’t that many mixed-race kids in Leeds, so I was always called horrible names: half-breed, redskin.

"But I was brought up with a lot of love and confidence-boosting from my parents. They said, 'You be who you are.' I was nicknamed 'The Breeze' as a kid, because I ran everywhere. I was hyperactive and a sponge."

Mel's dad also experienced racism in Leeds and that helped to shape her "moral stance".

The singer - who shot to fame as part of the Spice Girls in the 90s - explained: "We were barred from the working men’s club on our street, because my dad was black. It gave me a proper idea of justice and of taking a moral stance.

"When I got into the Spice Girls, I went back to that club and said, 'I’m going to report you. No, in fact I’m going to buy this place, because you didn’t let me in when I was a kid.'"

Mel enjoyed huge success as part of the Spice Girls. However, she acknowledges that they're all "very different" people.

Mel - who was known as Scary Spice - explained: "We were very different and decided to just be ourselves.

"I didn’t straighten my hair and I was probably one of the first people to say publicly, 'I like men and women.' It was refreshing to see five girls who look completely different all getting along, singing songs they’d written that supported girls and women."