Rochelle Humes has spoken out about claims she replaced Candice Brathwaite as the host of a documentary on Black women and childbirth.
The singer and TV presenter recently announced she would be hosting the show for Channel 4, to bring awareness to the fact that four times as many Black women in the UK die during pregnancy and childbirth than white women.
This prompted claims that blogger, writer and Lorraine fashion and beauty presenter Brathwaite had been due to present the documentary – only to be replaced by Humes.
The 31-year-old This Morning host and for singer with The Saturdays posted on her Instagram stories: "Hey gang. The situation around the documentary playing out online is complex and I know that my response won't satisfy everyone.
"That being said, I am going to speak to the facts and what I know to be true. Firstly, recognise that I am contributing to a conversation that many black women have been central to and fighting for a long time.
"When taking on this project, it was necessary to the producers and I, that the voices of the people who've been directly affected are centred in the storytelling.
"It's important to me personally and everyone involved in this documentary that this ongoing issue is brought to the widest possible audience.
"I want to utilise my platform to add further reach and visibility to this ongoing issue, with the sole intention of creating broader awareness to affect change.
"I was offered the role as host last year, to go on an exploratory journey through the lends of the audience to ask the question why.
"To tackle any issue on a national scale, it involves a community of people pulling together to advocate and rally for change as ultimately we all share the same goal.
"This is bigger than me and not about me, I'm just bringing this topic to a wider audience and championing the incredible women that haven't yet had their voices heard.
"I want to honour the brave people who have opened up and shared their journeys, in the hope that, collectively, we can understand, learn from, and end these needless deaths."
Humes – who is mother to seven-year-old daughter Alai-Mai, three-year-old Valentina and three-month-old son Blake with TV presenter and JLS singer husband Marvin Humes – announced on Instagram she would be presenting the documentary for Channel 4 at the weekend.
This prompted Brathwaite to respond that “up until six weeks ago I thought I was going to present that documentary.”
The 32-year-old I Am Not Your Baby Mother author – who has two children – has previously spoken how she almost died after giving birth to her six-year-old daughter Esme, when infected puss sent her into septic shock.
Brathwaite has now said in a statement on Instagram: "The producer of the show that Rochelle Humes is to present has called me asking me to clarify that I was never in the running to present that particular documentary.
“So for the record - I was contacted in March 2020 by a different production company about developing a similar documentary and had been speaking with them throughout 2020 - our last zoom call being on December 1st 2020.
“I've been advised that the show with Rochelle was also being developed at the same time I was engaged in discussions and was obviously commissioned.'
“The producer said that fortunately for him his show was simply acquired first and these things happen in television.
“I was also told that I would never have been a front runner for this particular documentary as they prefer their subjects to be removed from the situation so that the element of discovery about an issue is genuine but that there would perhaps be room for another documentary of the same nature after this one has aired.
“They had asked me to contribute my expertise but I declined as I don't want my trauma to be mined for a show where I have no control of the narrative.
“My agent had asked a few weeks ago if there was a possibility I could co-present alongside Rochelle and was told there was not.
“At the end of the day I cannot overstate enough how important it is for this issue to be spoken about until we are able to save more black women.
“On a personal note I've learned a lot and I'm thinking carefully about my future in TV on the whole. Thank you guys so much.”
The Grazia contributing editor said earlier this month on social media: “More than once in the last six months, I have lost out on a job to a lighter skinned black woman.”
Channel 4 said in a statement: “It is completely untrue that Rochelle Humes replaced Candice Brathwaite on this film. Rochelle was the only presenter attached to the project. Candice was approached to be interviewed but declined.”
Watch: Rochelle Humes opened up about racial abuse in a Channel 4 documentary last year