Fleur East and her husband Marcel Badiane-Robin have posed for their first ever at home photoshoot, only in HELLO!. Speaking in an exclusive interview the week they celebrated their first wedding anniversary, the couple tell of the importance of Black Lives Matter and their experiences at the London protests.
"The atmosphere was amazing. I could have cried. Everyone was there; all races, all ages. It's such a beautiful thing to see that. We don't care where you're from, we don't care the colour of your skin, we don't care what social class you belong to. It's irrelevant. I've never seen anything like it before," says Fleur, who posted a rap song about the movement on Instagram, which has attracted 2.2m views.
Fleur and her husband Marcel are celebrating their first wedding anniversary
London-born Fleur is dual heritage – her dad was white and her mum Irene hails from Ghana. "When I went into The X Factor, one thing that I really didn't want to compromise on was my hair," says Fleur, who was runner-up in the eleventh series of the show.
"That, to me, is a representation of me, my colour and my culture, and I believe that should be celebrated. When I went into the jungle a lot of people asked if I was going to braid my hair down, saying I couldn't have my Afro out in the jungle. But I wanted to have it out and wear it proudly. I've been to shows where backstage I've met young black and mixed race kids whose parents have said, 'Thank you so much Fleur, for wearing your hair proudly and for speaking about your culture and your roots. Because my child has someone to look up to.' And that is so important. I was in a group before X Factor and I was told to straighten my hair, that I wouldn't be able to sell if I had my natural hair."
Fleur says her hair is "a representation of me, my colour and my culture"
One person she credits as a role model is Mel B. "In the music industry growing up there weren't a lot of people who didn't straighten their hair. That's why I loved Mel B in the Spice Girls – she had her Afro and I remember looking at her thinking how amazing it was, and it made me love my hair."
The couple – who celebrated their first wedding anniversary by drinking champagne in a makeshift den in their living room and looking through the photo album of their magical Moroccan wedding, that was covered exclusively by HELLO! - make no secret of the fact they hope for children in their future, and "that's why having these conversations are so important," Fleur says.
"When we eventually have kids we want them to come into a world where they have equal opportunities and where they're not judged by the colour of their skin. It will be so important how we educate them – because it all starts at home."
Pick up this week's issue of HELLO! magazine for the exclusive interview and photoshoot.
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