EXCLUSIVE: ‘I didn’t think there was THIS much racism anymore!’ Mel B admits she was ‘shocked’ after visiting middle America to film new BBC show
The Spice Girl, 47, claimed she’d believed incidents of racism had decreased since her birth in 1975, but had her ‘outlook changed’ after meeting two sisters who had to ‘fight harder for their position’ due to their ethnicity.
In the three-part programme, the Wannabe hitmaker is joined by Ruby Wax and Emily Atack as they re-trace the footsteps of intrepid Victorian explorer, Isabella Bird, whose exploits have largely been lost to history.
EXCLUSIVE: Mel B has admitted she was left ‘shocked’ after visiting middle America to film her new BBC docuseries, Trailblazers: A Rocky Mountain Road Trip
But when the trio headed to the U.S. state of Colorado – which has a Caucasian population of 61.6%, according to a 2020 census – the Leeds-native began to ask, ‘Is there anybody brown or mixed or black in this town?’
Mel, a former resident of progressive Los Angeles, told MailOnline: ‘I think what shocked me most is that people of colour in Colorado, whether it be mixed or brown or some kind of mix of ethnicity, they kind of have it even harder.
‘We met two sisters that were the champions in lasso and told us how they had to fight harder for their position.
‘They went to an all-white school and you’d think still… yeah there are places in rural outback, say, it is just predominantly white.
Candid: The Spice Girl, 47, claimed she’d believed incidents of racism had decreased since her birth in 1975
Inspirations: Mel said she had her ‘outlook changed’ after meeting two sisters (centre-left and far-right) who had to ‘fight harder for their position’ due to their ethnicity
‘But it just, to me, I thought that there wasn’t as much racism as there was when my mum had me 47 years ago but it’s still there.
‘It’s kind of changed my outlook to always… I mean throughout the whole show I was saying, “Is there anybody brown or mixed or black in this town? Is there anybody?”
‘I always find myself looking and I think that for me, number one, I’m never going to change that but, two, it also reminded me that it’s getting more scarce.
‘It’s more hard, especially in Colorado, to find the pockets or the groups of people of colour and just to hear their stories and how well they’ve done was just brilliant.
Open: She told MailOnline: ‘What shocked me most is that people of colour in Colorado, whether it be mixed or brown or some kind of mix of ethnicity, they kind of have it even harder’
‘So, I don’t know if that changed me or not, but it definitely made it a point to myself to always ask, “So where are they then? Where are my people?”
‘In the whole mist of this cause, I’m guessing Isabella wouldn’t have stumbled across many people of color at all. From the journey that we went, we had to seek them out, but who knows?’
At a time when most explorers were men, Yorkshire-born Isabella was a trailblazer. Being prescribed ‘mountain air’ to cure her malaise, in 1873 Isabella set off on her travels across the globe to find exactly that.
Travelling alone, she crossed the lawless American Wild West, riding 800 miles on horseback through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
She befriended outlaws, climbed mountains and faced grizzly bears, in what was a restrictive era for women in Britain.
Using her original 1873 book, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, as inspiration for their own historic American adventure, Ruby, Mel and Emily paid homage to the forgotten pioneer.
They explored the people, places and curious customs of an ever-changing America, while reflecting on the changes in Western society over the last 150 years and their own experience of womanhood.
Trailblazers: A Rocky Mountain Road Trip begins on Monday November 28 at 9pm on BBC Two.
Coming soon: In the three-part programme, the hitmaker (right) is joined by Ruby Wax (centre) and Emily Atack (left) as they re-trace the footsteps of Victorian explorer, Isabella Bird