Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock says bandmate Jade Thirlwall has been her ‘rock’ when dealing with racism

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It’s clear for all to see that Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock and bandmate Jade Thirlwall have a one in a million friendship.

From touring the world together to making history as the first female band to win a Brit award, the duo have brought a whole new meaning to girl power, alongside Perrie Edwards and former member Jesy Nelson.

But opening up in her eye-opening BBC documentary Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power, 29-year-old Leigh-Anne reveals their bond runs very deep, as she describes Jade as her “rock” – specifically when dealing with the racism she’s endured.

During the powerful film, which airs tonight, viewers will see Leigh-Anne candidly reveal how she feels her race has defined her image in the group and her popularity with fans.

She also meets people at last summer’s Black Lives Matter marches and explores pivotal issues, such as unconscious bias and colourism.

And the star later arranges to chat to Jade so the pair can discuss how racism and the colour of their skin has impacted their lives all the way from early childhood to the present day.

Speaking about their close relationship afterwards, Leigh-Anne says: “Jade is my absolute rock and after nearly a decade together she feels more like my sister.”

Further opening up about how the band have always offered her their unwavering support, Leigh-Anne says: “I’m really lucky to have them.”

She continues: “Being able to have your best friends with you all the time means that, even if they didn’t realise what was going on with me, they were around to have a laugh with, and it definitely took my mind off how I was feeling. I’ll always be thankful to them for that.”

Going on to single out Jade, Leigh-Anne says her friendship has been invaluable. She explains: “Jade has been the person who I’ve really confided in throughout the years.”

“As she’s mixed race herself, and had her own battles with racism when she was a kid, she’s always been someone I’ve been able to turn to,” Leigh-Anne continues.

“She would listen and understand. It’s been really important to me to be able to speak to someone who gets it and reassures me that my feelings are valid.”

And friendship is a key theme running throughout the documentary, as the film is directed by Leigh-Anne’s childhood friend, Tash Gaunt.

Leigh-Anne says: “I distinctly remember going for dinner with her about four years ago and we had a really frank conversation about how I was feeling within the band.”

“At the time, I still didn’t really understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling, so I was being very open with her. We were exploring the fact that it could be something to dowith my race – and Tash is incredibly well-educated on the topic so she started giving me things to read, people to follow on Instagram.”

She continued: “And it just went from there – she makes films for a living, so it’s a perfect pairing really. I can’t think of anyone I would have rather made it with.”

Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One

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