Updated: October 13th, 2021
Amid her solo debut and blackfishing accusations, it seems like things have turned sour between Jesy Nelson and her former Little Mix bandmates, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards, and Jade Thirlwall.
Jesy announced that she was leaving Little Mix in December 2020, after almost 10 years with the group, citing mental health reasons. In May 2021, she opened up to Cosmopolitan UK for the first time since her exit, explaining her struggle with self-confidence, body image, and comparison.
Jesy and the remaining trio seemed to remain on good terms following Jesy’s exit, with the girls saying they were “fully supportive of Jesy” when the split was announced.
Just last week, in a video for Glamour Magazine UK, Jesy opened up about missing the girls. “It’s always gonna feel weird for me not speaking to the girls,” she said. “Because obviously, we were in a band together for ten years— we’re like sisters, they’re like my right arm”.
Accusations of blackfishing
Things seem to have taken a turn at the release of the music video for Jesy’s solo debut, Boyz.
Featuring Nicki Minaj, the music video made clear references to Black American R&B and rap culture through the wardrobe, hair and makeup, and overall style of the video. This has led to intensifying accusations of blackfishing, which Jesy has been accused of in the past.
In an interview with The Guardian in August 2021, Jesy said she was “bewildered” at the past accusations. She said that she “would never want to offend anyone” and “wasn’t aware that’s how people felt”.
More recently, Jesy was asked to respond to accusations of blackfishing in an interview with Vulture, where she defended her personal style, saying, “If you look at me on X Factor with my big curly hair, I was wearing trainers and combats — that’s who I am as an artist and as Jesy”.
“I’m very aware that I’m a white British woman; I’ve never said that I wasn’t,” she stated.
Jesy’s publicist later sent Vulture a statement on behalf of Jesy saying, “I take all those comments made seriously. I would never intentionally do anything to make myself look racially ambiguous, so that’s why I was initially shocked that the term was directed at me”.
Drama with her former bandmates
Following the blackfishing accusations, fans noticed that all three of the remaining Little Mix members had unfollowed Jesy.
A few hours later, a screenshot of an Instagram DM conversation between former bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock and influencer No Hun revealed that Jesy had actually blocked all the girls.
According to these DMs, Jesy has “cut off” her former bandmates, with Leigh-Anne even calling Jesy a “horrible person”.
It has not been confirmed whether these DMs are legitimate, however on October 12th, a friend of Leigh-Anne’s took to Instagram stories, slamming Jesy’s new music video for “perpetuating” harmful stereotypes of Black men and revealing that Little Mix allegedly tried to educate Jesy about blackfishing for “two years”.
One day later, the singer jumped on an Instagram live-stream with Nicki Minaj and addressed the accusations of blackfishing. The 30-year-old said that she had been in Antiga the weeks prior to shooting the music video for Boyz, which explains her darker skin tone.
“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,” Jesy said.
“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,” she continued, “I just wanted to celebrate that. I just wanted to celebrate that era of music because it is what I love.”
Jesy 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.”
There is no indication that Jesy has blocked or unblocked her former band members at the time of indication.