Vegan musician Leona Lewis is opening up about a situation of racial discrimination she experienced in London.
The British singer, who has a Black father and a white mother, took to Instagram to recount the experience. It occurred when she and her father were shopping on a London high street.
“I just bought a new place. And I wanted to get some like bits and pieces for it. And we saw this cute little shop that we went into. We were looking around and there were other customers in there. I didn’t realize at the time, but all of the customers were white. Me and my dad were the only black people in there,” she explained in an IGTV video.
She said the store owner, who was white, asked Lewis and her father to put the items they were holding down. The store owner told them they weren’t allowed to touch anything.
Lewis realized she and her father were being discriminated against. “I became confrontational because obviously it sparked like this rage in me as to why we’re being singled out and targeted,” she said.
‘Don’t Stay Silent, Say Something’
After the store owner threatened to call the police, Lewis and her father left. But Lewis said the experience made her realize how important it is for people to stand up against racism.
Lewis explained: “When I see messaging of, you know, don’t stay silent; say something—say something. It’s real. You need to say something. You need to stand with us, and you need to acknowledge that it’s happening. Because when you don’t acknowledge that it’s happening, you’re diminishing the pain and you’re diminishing our humanity.”
She also urged people to spend more time learning about Black communities.
“Come to the areas where there’s predominantly black populations—ethnic minorities. Come to those areas. I dare you, come to those areas and see. You’ll see it’s underfunded. There’s a lack of resources,” she said.
“I grew up in Hackney. I grew up in a predominantly Black area. It was underfunded. This is the reality of what’s happening,” she continued. “I’m just in pain and I’m tired and I’m sick of it.”