Sugababes Keisha Buchanan on 'trauma' of being group's only black member

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·3-min read

Sugababes star Keisha Buchanan has spoken out about the “trauma” she experienced from facing “judgement” as the only black member of the girlband.

The Push The Button singer spoke out about her personal experiences of racism in a 14-minute video posted online in which she addressed longstanding rumours that she had “bullied” other members of the band.

Buchanan, 35, said: “I used to think racism was when someone directly looked at you and called you a racist word.

“I didn’t realise that there are so many different ways that a person or people can be racist or prejudice.

Read more: Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock feared she'd lose career by speaking about racism

Keisha Buchanan has spoken out about the "judgement" she faced as the only black member of the Sugababes. (Getty Images)
Keisha Buchanan has spoken out about the "judgement" she faced as the only black member of the Sugababes. (Getty Images)

“I never felt for one second that my skin was a hindrance. The Sugababes were never put together, nothing was ever pushed or forced, I never felt like I’m here because I’m a black girl.

“I never thought in a million years that by pursuing my dreams it would ultimately change who I was as a person.”

Buchanan was an original member of the Sugababes along with Mutya Buena, now 35, and Siobhan Donaghy, 35, when the girlband first formed in 1998.

Donaghy left the band in 2001 amid rumours of bullying and was replaced by Heidi Range. Buena left in 2005, to be replaced by Amelle Berrabah, and Buchanan left in 2009 to be replaced by Jade Ewan.

(left to right) Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhn Donaghy of the Sugarbabes during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. (Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images)
Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhn Donaghy were the original members of the Sugababes. (Getty Images)

Speaking about the bullying rumours, Buchanan said: “[The band] would have fallouts like most teenage girls.

Unfortunately when a member would leave it was on a salty note – that experience would then be written up in a way to make myself and Mutya look aggressive, look like bullies basically,

“I have never bullied anyone in my life and that was hard for me to say, because after a while I felt like no one would believe me.

“Because of all the scrutiny I faced, because of all the judgement I’ve faced, it’s leaked over into my personal life.

“I’ve had people who have stolen from me and when I call them out on it, they have told me that they were being bullied by me and I let them get away with it because I was so scared they would say she’s bullied me.”

Buchanan said she had been to therapy “to come with some of the trauma I experienced” while being in the band.

She added: “The scrutiny, the judgement, the bullying has actually left me fragile and I hate that word.

“It’s left me questioning my own judgement and I want people to see me for me, faults and all, shadiness and all, bossiness and all and make a judgement on that, not on what they perceive me to be based on the colour of my skin.”

Read more: Spice Girl Mel B opens up about impact of racism on her life

Buchanan, Buena and Donaghy reformed as MKS in 2012 and managed to win back the rights to the name Sugababes in 2019.

Buena’s replacement Berrabah, 36, also responded to a comment on Instagram asking if she experienced prejudice in the band.

She wrote: “Yes, but I’d say Keisha had it worse.”

She later tweeted: “Let’s not make this about the Sugababes... this is about equality and equal rights accross the world. This is a positive movement... #weareone #united #togetherinthis #endracism and #prejudice #PowerToThePeople.”