Singer Beverley Knight on her rise to fame when she 'didn't look like everyone else in the charts'

As part of our True Colours series, we looked at the challenges that still exist for ethnic minorities breaking into the world of film, television, theatre, and music.

Singer Beverley Knight from Wolverhampton burst onto the scene in the early 90s.

There was nothing like me around at the time.

Beverley Knight

She faced a 'fight' to get her 'voice heard', because, she says, she was black, female, and 'didn't look like everyone else in the charts,' at a time when the public was fixated with guitar playing boy bands.

But she went on to become one of the biggest names in entertainment, despite the challenge of getting record executives to understand her work.


Beverley has won many awards throughout her career including three MOBO awards and has been nominated for many others including the Brit Awards.

In 2005, she was was presented with an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton in recognition of her outstanding contribution to music and the local community, and in recognition of her extensive charity work.

Beverley was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to music in 2007.

Eleven years later the singer was presented with the Freedom of the City of Wolverhampton in 2018.


Beverley believes that some attitudes have 'slowly changed' - as love has grown for her style of music, and there are more black female artists on the international stage.

But she said there is still some way to go - as old stereotypes linger.

She says there's a continued perception that black female artists will create 'music which is very narrowly defined for an urban market', and even that female artists won't have written their own music.

Finally, she says she still sees,

A desire to market people who are perhaps a little lighter than I am because it's seen as being more mass accepted, so that's a struggle.

Beverley Knight

Although there are still some challenges, Beverley believes that 'slowly but surely, we are getting there'.