Jesy Nelson has responded to criticism that she was ‘Blackfishing’ in her latest music video.
The former Little Mix star has vehemently denied that she changed her appearance to appear Black or racially ambiguous in the music for the video for Boyz, and insisted she merely “loves Black culture’.
The accusations come after her former bandmate, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, is alleged to have accused Jesy of blocking herself and the rest of Little mIx on social media.
Here’s what Jesy Nelson said and what ‘Blackfishing’ means.
What is ‘Blackfishing’?
The term ‘Blackfishing’ was coined by journalist Wanna Thompson after she saw a Twitter discussion on the topic of white women cosplaying as black women.
The word refers to someone who uses hairstyling and makeup products to create and enhance certain features to make it appear as if they have black heritage or are racially ambiguous.
‘Blackfishing’ is an issue because it allows a person to pick and choose the “cool” parts of being black, without facing any of the discrimination that black people do.
Thompson said: “Black is cool, unless you’re actually black.”
‘Blackfishing’ was also described by writer Stephanie Yeboah as “a type of blackface”, in an interview with the Independent.
Johanna Yaovi, the founder of the Curl Talk Project, told The Guardian: “It’s about picking and choosing common black traits and characteristics for one’s benefit, while we continue to face discrimination on a day to day basis.
“As black women, we are constantly fighting for clear, authentic representation and diversity and then have to face individuals who do blackfishing, individuals who therefore look ambiguous enough for brands to use them as emblems for diversity.”
What has Jesy Nelson said?
Former Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson has said she never intended to cause offence after being accused of “blackfishing” in the video for her debut solo track, ‘Boyz’.
During an Instagram Live stream with rapper Nicki Minaj, who features on the track, Nelson said she had been to Antigua in the weeks before the music video shoot and that explained dher darker skin tone.
Nelson said: “I personally want to say that my intention was never, ever to offend people of colour with this video and my song because like I said, growing up as a young girl, this is the music that I listened to.
“These are the videos that I watched and thought were the best. For me personally, ’90s/2000 hip hop, R&B music was the best era of music.
“I just wanted to celebrate that. I just wanted to celebrate that era of music because it is what I love.”
She added: “My intention was never, ever, ever want to offend anyone and genuinely it actually does really hurt me that I may have offended people and actually, like, hurt people’s feelings just by genuinely celebrating something that I love.”
Nelson recently confirmed she no longer speaks to her ex-bandmates Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.