Jesy Nelson responds to blackfish allegations after releasing debut solo single Boyz

Jesy Nelson has addressed allegations of blackfish after the release of her debut solo single.

The former small mix star has previously accused of cultural appropriation dating back to 2018, featuring some of her more recent social media posts and photo shoots Facing Social Media Criticism for Alleged Blackfishing.

Blackfishing refers to when non-black people change their appearance or “take on a trait associated with the phenotype of a black person” for profit or commercial gain.

During an interview with Vulture published on Friday after Boyz – Jesy’s first single since leaving Little Mix – debuted, the top singer was asked for her opinion on the controversy.

She said: “The whole time I was in Little Mix, I didn’t get any of that. And then I came out [the band] and people suddenly said it.

“I wasn’t on social media around that time, so I left my team [deal with it]because I had just left.

“But I mean, I like black culture. I like black music. That’s all I know; it’s what I grew up with. I am well aware that I am a white British woman; I never said I wasn’t.”

When asked if she felt she had “changed the way she behaves or dresses,” Jesy replied, “Not at all. I’m just 100 percent myself.

“If you look at me on X Factor with my big curly hair, I was wearing sneakers and fighting – that’s who I am as an artist and as Jesy. Now that I’m out of Little Mix, I’m who I am again.

“Like I said, I never want to be an artist who is told what to wear or what music to make. I want to be authentic and true to myself, and if people don’t like that, don’t be my fan. Don’t be part of my journey.”

Vulture claimed that Jesy subsequently “canceled two scheduled follow-up calls to discuss Blackfishing and identity in more detail”.

Her publicist provided a statement from Jesy on the subject, which read: “I take all those comments seriously. I would never intentionally do anything to make myself appear racially ambiguous, so that’s why I was initially shocked that the term was directed against me.”

Jesy told it before the guard on the matter over the summer: “I would never want to offend anyone, and [being accused of Blackfishing] was really disturbing. I didn’t know people felt that way.”

In December 2020, Jesy announced that she would be leaving Little Mix after nine years with the X Factor winning group, telling fans at the time that being part of the band affected her mental health.

Her decision to defend solo in a recent interview on Fearne Cotton’s podcastshe insisted, “I think a lot of people have misunderstood what I meant in my statement…I never said in my statement, ‘I’m from the music industry, I’m not going to make music anymore…’

“I said, ‘I’m just going to start a new chapter in my life, I just want to make myself happy. I don’t know what that will be, but I have to take care of myself now, make me feel better again’. ”

Jesy also insisted earlier this week that while she no longer has contact with her former bandmates, she “still loves them” and considers them “sisters”.

“I can’t explain it, it’s like there has to be a distance,” she said Glamor magazine. “We were so close that you can’t do in between, there has to be space.”

“Hopefully we can all get together again in the future. I love them. They are my sisters in many ways, but for now we are not talking to each other.”

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