Jesy Nelson is being called out for ‘blackfishing’
Accusations have surged again after the release of Boyz, her debut single and video
Jesy Nelson is trending on Twitter again after the release of her debut single Boyz and its music video leading people to again accuse Nelson of blackfishing.
In May, tweets began gaining traction from people who were only just learning that Jesy Nelson is a white woman. Her appearance on social media had caused confusion – she often appears much darker in skin tone than she used to when she first hit the public eye.
The term ‘blackfishing’ is used when white people have altered their appearance to the extent where they look racially ambiguous. Whilst most of us in the UK have always known Jesy Nelson as a white woman due to following her journey from when she was on The X Factor, wider audiences who have come to know Little Mix years later have perceived Jesy as mixed race due to how much her appearance has changed.
Jesy Nelson, interviewed on Daybreak after Little Mix won The X Factor in 2011:
Jesy Nelson posting on Instagram in 2021:
Following the amount of tweets of people saying they didn’t know Jesy Nelson wasn’t a woman of colour, a Buzzfeed contributor put together a now deleted long read detailing the problematic nature of Jesy’s changing appearance, with a lot of picture receipts of her changing features over the years.
Producer and singer MNEK, who’s worked with Little Mix on a lot of their biggest hits including Wasabi and Sweet Melody, posted an Instagram story featuring the song Black or White by Michael Jackson that fans were quick to assume was aimed at Jesy.
“I think white people who blackfish and either don’t realise it or just blissfully ignore it are kinda dangerous,” he said. “It’s like hello, the tan, the surgery, the braids/wig and lip filler? You’re white.”
If this wasn’t evidence enough for MNEK apparently calling out Jesy, he tweeted back in April “the single version of Confetti is the TRUTH tea, hunty.” The new single version of Confetti, featuring US rapper Saweetie, is Little Mix’s first release as a three following Jesy’s departure in December 2020.
The Buzzfeed community post also highlighted how Jesy Nelson has often appeared darker in skin tone to former bandmates Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall – who are both mixed race women of colour.
The discussion surrounding the blackfishing allegations came off the back of Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s documentary Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop and Power that aired on BBC One in May.
In the documentary, Leigh-Anne detailed how she often felt like the least liked band member – with one scene showing fans say their favourite member of Little Mix and not one of them saying Leigh-Anne and another scene where a black music exec told her she needed to be prepared to work “twice as hard” due to the racism ingrained into the music industry. Jesy never commented on the documentary or supported it publicly, despite having her own Bafta winning documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out, back in 2019.
Jesy Nelson is yet to comment on the recent allegations of blackfishing, but has been reached out to for comment by The Tab.
Recommended stories by this writer:
• ‘It took me a while to get angry’: What drag kings thought of Little Mix’s Confetti video
• There’s been 31 Little Mix music videos, but which one is officially the best?