Leigh-Anne Pinnock has spoken out about her choice to make her solo creative team “60 per cent Black” after previous experiences of feeling isolated in the music industry.
The singer’s rise to fame came as part of her time in Little Mix, the 2011 X Factor-winning girl group that achieved five UK No 1 singles and won three Brit Awards.
After Jesy Nelson’s departure from the group in December 2020, Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall continued as a trio before going on an indeterminate hiatus in 2022. Pinnock released her debut solo single, “Don’t Say Love”, in June, and is slated to release her debut album next year.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone UK, Pinnock spoke about how her Blackness is a central part of her output as a solo artist, following years of being the “only Black person in the room”.
“Now I’m on my own, I have the control to make sure 60 per cent of my team is Black, ’cos why not?” she explained.
“Music is so heavily influenced by Black culture, so why are all the people at the top white? I can control these little things. I don’t have to be the only Black person in the room now, that just doesn’t have to be my reality.”
In 2021, Pinnock fronted the BBC Three documentary Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power, in which she expressed her struggles as the only Black member of Little Mix.
Among discussions of industry colourism (the preference for lighter skin tones) and racism from fans of the group, Pinnock opened up about insecurities she felt when not seeing people who looked like her in powerful positions in the music business.
In the Rolling Stone UK interview, published online on Thursday (31 August), Pinnock also discussed how the group’s decision to take a break was the catalyst for her wanting to perform alone.
“It wasn’t really until we started having those conversations about bringing this to an end where I was like, ‘I can do this.’ I wasn’t ready to not sing,” she explained.
“And once upon a time, my dream was to be a solo pop star. I went into something else, and I had the best time of my life, and I don’t think I could have done it any other way. But I feel like I owe this to the younger me. I owe her more.”