Mel C is reflecting on sexism in the music industry.
In a new episode of the Table Manners with Jessie Ware podcast, the singer, 46, opened up about coming up in the entertainment business performing with the Spice Girls. Mel C, born Melanie Chisholm and also known as Sporty Spice, said they faced hurdles early in their career with executives underestimating their appeal.
"We started talking about girl power because we experienced sexism in the industry," she said. "Because we were just five girls, we wanted to be famous, we wanted to be pop stars, and quite quickly we were being told, 'Yeah, girl bands don't sell records, you can't be on the cover of magazines because — girls buy records by boys.' And we were like, 'Seriously?' Don't say that to the Spice Girls, that's like red rag to a bull."
"We had a really important point to prove, which was great because it put a fire in our belly," added Chisholm. "… It became more than 'girl power.' It became 'people power'; it became about equality."
The star also said that her and her fellow Spice Girls — which was also comprised of Victoria Beckham, Mel B, Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell — didn't experience sexual harassment because men "were petrified by us."
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"It's funny, because I get asked about the Me Too movement a lot and that within the music industry and if I've ever experienced anything, and I was like, are you kidding me? No one would come near the Spice Girls because they were petrified by us," said Chisholm.
"I think often with these situations there can be vulnerable people that are targeted, aren't there?" she added. "Which, of course, there are some vulnerable people in Spice Girls, but because you knew if you mess with one of them, you would have to deal with the other four, so we always had backup."
Although Beckham, 46, sat out the recent reunion tour for the band, she is reportedly set to star in an upcoming Spice Girls movie. Following their 1997 cult hit Spice World, all five members will team up for an animated film, The Hollywood Reporter reported last summer.
Details about the film’s plot are scarce, but THR said the movie would include new songs as well as '90s classics fans will instantly recognize. Paramount Animation President Mireille Soria insisted at the time to THR that all five of the group’s members are “very involved.”
That’s just one of the ways the Spice Girls are always working to keep the band’s brand alive. “We’re constantly discussing different ways in which we can do that,” Chisholm told Billboard at the time. “The legacy is important, and of course, we’d like that to live on.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.
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