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Alexandra Burke claims she was told to ‘bleach her skin’ after winning The X Factor

The singer won the talent show back in 2008


Alexandra Burke has claimed she was advised to “bleach her skin” after winning The X Factor.

The singer, who won the ITV show back in 2008, said she felt “it was time to speak up” amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a video shared on Instagram, Alexandra said: “The music industry is such a funny little place. I love singing, I love what I do, but if it wasn’t for the love that I have for music, I definitely wouldn’t be in this industry.”

“A few reasons are, when I first won The X Factor at 19, I got told: ‘Right, because you’re black, you are gonna have to work ten times harder than a white artist because of the colour of your skin.”


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“‘You can’t have braids, you can’t have an afro, you can’t have anything that, basically, is my identity. You have to have hair, for example, that appeals to white people, so white people can understand you better.’ I mean, I was only 19 years old.”

“There’s only so much you can understand at 19 when your life is completely changed overnight,” she said. “That was quite hard to digest.

“I got told to bleach my skin, and that was something I refused to do because it is absurd to me that someone can even remotely say to someone: ‘Bleach your skin so that you can look whiter’. Still to this moment it breaks my heart that I was told that.”

“I’m really trying my hardest to hold back tears because it’s really, heartbreaking the s**t that went on.”

After winning The X Factor in 2008, Alexandra released two albums, and branched into stage acting.

The singer eventually left her label in 2013, and became a full time stage musical star – appearing in huge productions like The Bodyguard and Sister Act The Musical.

The news comes after former X Factor contestant Misha B accused the show of behind the scenes racism. 

In a video posted on Instagram last week, Misha claimed the was painted as an “angry black girl” when she appeared on the show back in 2011.


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The singer posted a video of judges Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos harshly criticising her during the third live show, over rumours she had been “bullying” other contestants behind the scenes.

During an Instagram Live, the 28-year-old said she believes producers and judges had concocted a “bullying” storyline, and said: “They saw an opportunity to tear down a black girl that came from a broken home and worked together to assassinate my character and to sabotage my career by orchestrating lies.”

Misha said the experience left her with suicidal thoughts, and she’s since been diagnosed with PTSD.

Former X Factor judge Tulisa has since apologised for publicly accusing Misha B of bullying – but she vehemently denied her comments were racially motivated.