Mel B speaks out about the racism she suffered while growing up in Leeds to mark the anniversary of George Floyd's death

Leeds-born Mel B has said her mum made her dad carry her as a baby as it would mean he was less likely to be attacked by racists.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:18 pm

Mel B full name Melanie Brown, grew up in Harehills, Burley and Kirkstall before finding fame with the Spice Girls.

She has recently moved back to Leeds after leaving a relationship she claims was emotionally and physically abusive in America.

Penning a piece for the Sun ahead of the anniversary of George Floyd's death, Mel B wrote about her own experiences of racism growing up in Leeds.

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Mel B (photo: PA).

She wrote: "I’m a 45-year-old mixed-race woman from Leeds.

"My dad was from the Caribbean island of Nevis and came over to England as a boy in the wake of Windrush and met my blonde, blue-eyed, Yorkshire-born-and-bred mum.

"We grew up knowing we were different. The working men’s club down the road would never accept my dad as a member.

"When I was a baby and my parents were in town, Mum would make Dad carry me because it was less likely he’d be attacked if he had a baby in his arms."

She goes on to say that her earliest memories of school are of running home from school while other children shouted racist slurs at her.

She then goes on to talk about life after she joined the Spice Girls.

She wrote: "In meetings with lawyers, PRs, CEOs in the music industry, I never saw other brown or black faces.

"I remember taking Geri to a Blues club in Chapeltown, Leeds.

"'I’m the only white person here,' she said.

"'That’s what it feels like for me nearly all the time,' I told her."

She also said that stylists tried to get her to straighten her natural afro hair but she refused and was backed by the other Spice Girls.

She then goes on to talk about changes she is seeing within her own industry regarding representation of black and brown people.

She added: "It’s ironic to think much of this came to pass because a white policeman knelt on a black man’s neck and killed him.

"Sometimes it takes rage to get justice and rage to make a difference, but I am pleased the world my three brown girls are growing up in is — admittedly slowly — moving forward.

"And I am proud to be brown, British and part of a global entertainment industry that has for so long needed to change."

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