The 27-year-old member of the British girlband reveals she usually avoids talking about her mixed-race heritage for fears of being unpopular with the crowd.
AceShowbiz –Jade Thirlwall refused to talk about her mixed-race heritage after joining Little Mix because she feared “not being as popular” as the other members.
The 27-year-old “Wings” hitmaker’s maternal grandfather is from Yemen and her maternal grandmother is Egyptian, and the star told the “No Country For Young Women” podcast she had felt “ashamed” of her background – but now realised she had been uneducated about race issues.
“I think because I was bullied quite badly in school because of the colour of my skin and for being Arab I wasn’t very proud of who I was,” Jade admitted. “I think when I then entered the group I subconsciously didn’t want to talk about my heritage or what my background was in fear of not being as popular, which sounds awful to say but I was only 18 years old and through years of being ashamed of who I was I found it quite hard to talk about it.”
She continued, “I think it was through a lack of education as well. Even now I am constantly learning what the right things are to say and I would hate to talk about my race and my heritage and not say the right things.”
The “Black Magic” singer also detailed the abuse she suffered from other pupils at school, blaming it on “a lack of education.”
“Where I am from, if you weren’t evidently black you were literally put in a bracket of being called the p-word. When I was at school if I was ever bullied for the colour of my skin I’d get so confused as I’d be like, well I’m not from Pakistan,” she recalled. “I remember one time I got pinned down in the toilets and they put a bindi spot on my forehead, it was horrific.”
The abuse wasn’t just from school kids, however, as Jade revealed she “used to be in an amateur operatic society, (and) they would literally put white powder on my face to whiten me on stage.”
“I have constantly had this inner battle of not really knowing who I am or where I fit in or what community I fit into,” she reflected. “Some of the things I think about that I can laugh about now are just so crazy.”
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