The former winner of X Factor, Alexandra Burke, has opened up about the racism she has faced in the music industry in order to appeal to a white audience. Alexandra Burke went on to achieve three UK Number 1 singles and fame on the show Strictly Come Dancing. Despite her success, Burke has experienced racism from the music industry as a dark-skin black woman.
Instagram Post on Racism
In a passionate Instagram post, Alexandra Burke expressed the various race related issues she has had to face since she was 16 and just starting out in the music industry. The X Factor winner detailed some of the demands of the music industry. These racist demands included that she have her skin bleached, not wear braided hair and to tailor her music to a white audience. Further, she was also told to keep quiet during attacks on her that were being made in the press during Strictly Come Dancing. Alexandra was also told by an unnamed person told her she ‘already [had] one black artist’ and did not need another. This was a traumatizing experience for someone new to the music industry at the young age of 16.
Alexandra Burke also opened up about the time she was told that she would have to work 10 times harder than a white artist because of her skin colour. She was essentially told to erase all of her identity in order to appeal to a white audience. The absurd, racist demands have followed her throughout her career in the music industry. In 2017, at a promotional event for Strictly Come Dancing, a journalist told her ‘so you’re not doing press. Being a diva today are we?’. This highlights the negative and racist views on black women, particularly successful black women being painted as ‘diva’s’ or ‘aggressive’ for being real, successful women. Racism is prevalent in the music industry and affects successful artists as well as those that are up and coming. By speaking out, Alexandra Burke has shed light upon the systemic racism that black artists must face every day.