Keisha Buchanan opens up about racism in Life As The 'Black' Sugababe video

11 months ago 154
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Sugababes star Keisha Buchanan has released a video explaining details of the "trauma" she experienced at being portrayed as a "bully" and an "angry black woman" during her time in the pop trio.

The singer was one of the founding members of the platinum-selling, chart-topping girl group, which saw several line-up changes over the years before announcing a comeback with the original three stars - Siobhan Donaghy, Mutya Buena, and Buchanan - last year.

As Black Lives Matter demonstrations continue around the world following the death of George Floyd, Buchanan speaks about her experiences in the group in a YouTube video entitled Life As The 'Black' Sugababe - My Story.

Highlighting press reports in which she was described as a bully, she said the band - which formed in 1998 when she was still a teenager - had "fall-outs like most teenage girls" and added: "I have never bullied anyone in my life."

The way articles were worded allowed people "to get a picture in their mind of me being the angry black woman," she said.

Buchanan also spoke about being labelled "difficult" in certain situations, such as asking to check details with a lawyer when she was given contracts to sign.

"I wasn't allowed to be upset," she says. "I wasn't allowed to have an opinion."

The singer says she has had therapy "to help me to cope with some of the trauma that I've experienced" during her time in the Sugababes and the public eye.

"I used to think that racism was when someone directly looked at you and called you a racist word," she said.

"I didn't realise that there are so many different ways that a person, that people, can be racist or prejudiced."

Sugababes left to right Keisha Buchanan (16), Siobhan Donaghy (17), Mutya Buena (16)

Image: The original Sugababes line-up (L-R): Buchanan, Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena

She later concluded: "I'm not doing this video for sympathy. I'm not a victim whatsoever. But I am hurt. And I would like there to be a change in how we view others. I would like for this video to hopefully get people thinking.

"Because this is my legacy, this is my character. And it's unfair. The scrutiny, the bullying, the judgement, has actually left me... fragile. And I hate that word. I'm just going to speak my truth. But it's left me questioning my own judgement.

"And I want people to see me for me, faults and all. Shadiness and all. Bossiness and all. I want people to see me for me and then make a judgement on that, and not what they perceive me to be based upon the colour of my skin."

Buchanan ends the video by talking about the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I just wanted to clarify that Black Lives Matter is not about blacks against whites or any other race," she said.

"Black Lives Matter is purely saying that we matter too.

"Because at the moment, people scream, 'All Lives Matter', but how can all lives matter if black lives don't matter?"

The singer said she wants to feel like she can meet people "and not feel like I'm going to be judged before I walk into a room" because of negative headlines.

"I want to be able to meet new friends around the world and not tell them, 'don't Google me'," she said.

"I'm so proud to be a black woman, and Black Lives Matter."

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Buchanan is one of several stars who have spoken out about their experiences of racism in the last few days.

Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock said she has felt like she has to "work 10 times harder and longer to make my case in the group, because my talent alone isn't enough".

And Hollyoaks is investigating after actress Rachel Adedeji claimed she had experienced racism on set during her time on the soap.

In the UK, comedian Leigh Francis has apologised for "offensive" portrayals of celebrities including Craig David, Michael Jackson and Trisha Goddard on sketch show Bo' Selecta, which first aired in 2002, and comedy show Little Britain had been removed from streaming platforms over its use of blackface.

In the US, Gone With The Wind has been temporarily removed from the HBO Max streaming service, and long-running reality TV show Cops has also been pulled from its network.

Late night TV host Jimmy Fallon has also apologised for wearing blackface during a Saturday Night Live sketch 20 years ago.

Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?

Sky News will broadcast a global debate show on Tuesday night at 8pm - looking at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, and examining institutional racism and how we fix it.

If you would like to be part of our virtual audience, and have a chance of putting a question to our panel, please send your name, location and question to newsdebates@sky.uk

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