Alexandra Burke has revealed that she was told to bleach her skin after she won The X Factor in 2008.
The musician, 31, spoke in a candid Instagram video and said she was told she would have to work ‘ten times harder than a white artist’.
She also delved into the ‘microagressions’ she experienced from various music labels throughout her career and how she has struggled.
Alexandra explained that she was ordered to ‘smile more on Instagram because you come across as aggressive’.
The star, who was visibly shaken, explained: ‘The music industry is such a funny little place. I love signing, 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 won the X Factor I was told, ”Right, because you are black, you are going to have to work ten times harder than a white artist, because of the colour of your skin…
‘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 they can understand you better.”
‘That was so hard to digest. I was told to bleach my skin and that was something I refused to do.’
MailOnline has contacted X Factor representatives for comment.
Alexandra did not specify who gave her the instructions or made the comments, nor when they were made in the wake of her victory.
Alexandra also opened up about the abuse she received from trolls when she competed on Strictly Come Dancing and injured herself.
She said: ‘How I got through it, now I look back and I have no idea, no idea. I don’t even like thinking about that experience at all. But thankfully, my family and friends got me through it and the amazing fans that supported me.
‘So anyone out there scared to speak your truth, speak your truth, that’s all we’ve got. We have one life.’
Alexandra shared the emotional 15-minute video on Instagram and wrote: ‘Speak Up – Speak Out.
‘I felt it was time to speak up… This is a scary moment for me. I didn’t always want to speak up.. but it is the right thing to do.
‘So, here’s my truth, the positive and the emotional.
‘Side note: When I talk about ‘not seeing colour’ I’m not referring to the idea of being blind to skin colour, I’m talking about the notion within the music industry and institutionally that whiter is better.
‘Why does an industry that should be focused on vocal ability spend so much time dictating an artist’s worth on their colour?’