Volunteer Label writer, Shirlyn Ng, explain what the drama is happening between Jesy Nelson and her former group, Little Mix.
Jesy Nelson, a former member of the girl group Little Mix has released her debut single with rapper Nicki Minaj “Boyz”. The music video is almost at 10 million views since its release 10 days ago on October 8, 2021.
However, she was pulled off cloud nine as criticisms and controversies started piling up about her “blackfishing” in the music video. Blackfishing is a term given when a non-black person obtains black features through plastic surgery, hairstyles or fake tan. Nelson is a white, British woman; but in the music video she had extremely tanned skin and big curly hair which directed audiences’ attention to her previous blackfishing scandals.
Blackfishing has been frowned upon in the entertainment industry because it is spreading black culture to people who want to mimic it. Many social media influencers and celebrities have previously been called out for using too much fake tan and plastic surgery, for example Iggy Azalea in her recent release “Iam The Stripclub”, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian with their dark tans. However, it has been noted that black trends become more popular when white people get involved. It is an issue because as Wanna Thompson, a journalist who coined the term “blackfishing”, said, it is unfair for people “to participate in it [black culture] without wanting the full experience of blackness and the systemic discrimination that comes with it.”
Nelson said in an Instagram livestream, “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.”
In an interview with Glamour Magazine UK, Nelson talked about how she was mentally healthier since leaving Little Mix because she gained a lot of confidence without constantly comparing herself to the other girls, and how she finally has the freedom to express herself truly, maybe alluding to her desire to make music that’s more RnB and hip hop style.
It should be noted that this is not the first time Nelson has been accused of blackfishing. When she was still in Little Mix, she would often appear darker than the two other mixed race women of colour in the band. This time, her music was full of language used normally by black people, raising many eyebrows. Jason Okundaye tweeted, “Jesy singing she likes them so hood, so good, so damn taboo” where does this bangers and mash English girl think she knows hood mandem from???”
Twitter Link: Here
Although criticisms are harsh, it is essential that she acknowledges her mistake and apologises for offending people of colour, which she did half-heartedly in the Instagram livestream, saying that her “intention was never, ever to offend people of colour with this video”. She does not seem to understand the implications of her actions.
While blackfishing is a controversial and ongoing topic in the media industry, it must be said that there are some pros to further spreading of black culture. With its acceptance in mainstream media, it’s safe to say future generations of black children will be able to fully embrace their culture without feeling ostracise
Edited by Entertainment Editor, Uchenna Omo-Bamawo
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