Jesy Nelson Has Been Accused Of Cultural Appropriation And Blackfishing On Her Debut Single

Of course, you can critique someones actions without being cruel - trolling is never the answer when it comes to holding someone accountable.

Jesy Nelson

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

This morning, Jesy Nelson released her first single since leaving Little Mix in December last year. Posting the music video on YouTube, ‘Boyz’ featuring Nicki Minaj is already number one on the Trending page with over 1.4million views.

Watching the video, which samples P Diddy’s Bad Boy For Life, influences from Black hip-hop culture are littered throughout. Jesy sings about liking ‘bad boys’, with lyrics such as ‘I like the tattoos and them gold teeth / Tough to make me feel like I'm a baddie.’

Now, many are attempting to hold her accountable for cultural appropriation and Blackfishing noting that her forced accent and darkened skin. In fact, the reaction has caused 'Blackfishing meaning' to trend on Google, as well as searches into Jesy's background including 'Jesy Nelson where is she from', 'Jesy Nelson before fame' and 'Jesy Nelson old pictures'.

Jesy Nelson is from Romford, born to mother Janice White and father John Nelson.

What is Blackfishing?

Blackfishing is defined as when someones changes their appearance in order to appear Black and/or biracial, particularly through tanning their skin, appropriating hairstyles rooted in Black culture and altering their facial features.

Jesy has been accused of Blackfishing on numerous occasions. In an interview with The Guardian in August this year, she responded to criticism for the first time, stating ‘I would never want to offend anyone, and that was really upsetting. I wasn’t aware that’s how people felt.’

The publication noted that she appeared ‘bewildered by the allegation’, which only led to further scepticism given how open she’s been about her awareness of public criticism. But it’s that awareness that often calls for a need for empathy. In 2019, the singer opened up about experiencing suicidal ideation and attempting to end her life due experiencing online abuse.

Of course, whether someone has experienced mental illness or not, it always serves to be kind when addressing the harm they might be doing to others. You can hold someone accountable without trolling them, critique without being cruel, which is what many are attempting to do in their efforts to educate Jesy on the damage done by cultural appropriation.

Ultimately, listening and acting on the way her fans and communities are harmed by such actions is vital.

Read More:

Why Did Jesy Nelson Leave Little Mix?

Jesy Nelson Has Revealed She Doesn't Speak To Little Mix Anymore

Rita Ora Is Being Accused Of Blackfishing

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