X Factor's Misha B claims show pushed 'angry black girl narrative' on her

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Misha B in 2011Image source, Getty Images

X Factor contestant Misha B has accused the ITV show of having a "corrupted agenda" when she participated in 2011.

Speaking on Instagram, she claims the talent show "created this narrative of me being over-confident because I'm black".

The 28-year-old says her experience led to a diagnosis of PTSD after she had suicidal thoughts.

An X Factor spokesperson told Radio 1 Newsbeat: "We are currently looking into this matter".

"The welfare of our contestants is our priority and we are committed to diversity and equality," they added.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The series had Louis Walsh, Tulisa, Kelly Rowland and Gary Barlow as judges

Receiving comments from the judges after a live performance of Purple Rain on X Factor 2011, Misha was accused by Louis Walsh of bullying another contestant, while Tulisa suggested "being so feisty can come across as mean" by others.

Videos of the judges' comments have been shared on Twitter since Misha spoke about her experience on the show.

Newsbeat has contacted representatives for Misha B, Tulisa and Louis Walsh but they haven't got back to us.

Gary Barlow and Kelly Rowland - Misha's mentor - defended her at the time, while Louis apologised the next day on air for using the word "bully".

Misha says after that live show finished she began to think "of ways to end my own life" in order to "end the pain".

An X Factor spokesperson told Newsbeat they were "very concerned to hear Misha's comments regarding her experience" on the show and they'd "reached out" to her to discuss "the important issues she has raised".

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"I know that I'm not the only one who has heard those words - feisty, mean. These are common words people use to describe black women," Misha told fans.

"I was aware that they were going to throw this angry black girl narrative at me."

She describes Louis' critique as "verbal violence" when he commented "I hope you're not too overconfident", and says she's been told she's "too confident or too loud" throughout her life and is "tired of it".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Misha B made it to the semi-final of the 2011 series along with Marcus Collins, Amelia Lily and eventual winners Little Mix

Ahead of the live shows, she was told to change her stage name from Misha Bryan to Misha B - which she argues was part of the "corrupted agenda".

She says that the accusations of bullying led to her being called "Misha Bully" in the press.

In his 2018 autobiography, Gary Barlow claims producers stirred up "beef" on the show to create stories for the tabloids.

"About half-an-hour before the show goes live, the producers would come in and they'd go 'Oh my god. That Misha. She's such a bully. Can't believe it. She is such a bully. In fact, you know what? You should say it. You should say it on air. She's just bullied everyone all week,'" he wrote.

After leaving X Factor, Misha released three songs that charted in the UK Top 40.

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