The remaining Little Mix members – Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards – have publicly addressed the controversy over former member Jesy Nelson’s black-fishing controversy.
For those who may not know, Nelson was accused of black-fishing (adapting certain elements of black culture and aesthetics to his personal advancement) when the music video for his first solo single, was released, “Boyz”. The charges stemmed from complaints about her tanned skin and overly rimmed lips, according to Vulture. The post also noted that she sings in what could be considered a Blaccent on the track.
Thirlwall took the initiative to briefly discuss the situation in a recent interview with The telegraph.
“Capitalizing on aspects of blackness without having to endure the day-to-day realities of the black experience is problematic and harmful for people of color,” Thirlwall explained. She added that Little Mix did not tolerate such behavior in any way.
“We don’t want to talk about the video or be critical, but one thing we will clarify regarding the Blackfishing situation is that Jesy was approached by the group in a very friendly and educational manner,” she said. According to the group, this discussion took place before Nelson parted ways with Little Mix in December 2020.
For his part, Nelson addressed the accusations in an interview with Vulture. The newly solo singer claimed that the Blackfishing allegations arose after she left the group.
“I love black culture. I love black music. That’s all I know, that’s what I grew up on,” she told the publication. “I am very aware that I am a white British woman; I never said I was not.”
Nelson added that she didn’t feel like she had changed the way she dressed and was genuine in her craft. In a statement sent to Vulture by her team, she admitted to having been “initially shocked” by the accusations.
While this marks the first time Little Mix has addressed the Nelson controversy in an interview, The telegraph noted that leaked messages between Pinnock and a friend included accusations that Nelson was moonlighting.
Nicki Minaj, who features on Nelson’s debut single, was embroiled in controversy during a live broadcast with her collaborator in October. The rapper defended Nelson and criticized Pinnock’s alleged lyrics during the event. “It screams insecurity,” she said, according to HEY.
Nelson, meanwhile, has apparently confirmed that Pinnock brought up the topic of black-fishing with her after filming the Little Mix music video in 2020 for “Sweet Melody.”
“It’s just difficult for me because I’ve been in a band with two women of color for nine years and it never came up to me until the last clip I did with them,” a- she said during the live broadcast. “She [Pinnock] texted me and said, ‘Jesy, I just want to make sure you know …’ “