Jesy Nelson Accused of ‘Blackfishing’ During Music Video with Nicki Minaj

Jill O'Rourke
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Jesy Nelson and Nicki MinajJesy Nelson/YouTube

Former Little Mix star Jesy Nelson is receiving quite a bit of criticism for her new music video with Nicki Minaj. The video is for Nelson’s debut solo single, “Boyz.” It also features a cameo from Diddy.


Nelson’s appearance in the video is being called out for “Blackfishing,” as critics are accusing her of trying to look racially ambiguous as a white woman. The singer has since responded to the criticism.

Jesy Nelson Accused of ‘Blackfishing’ in New Music Video

Nelson was previously a member of the girl group Little Mix, who won The X Factor in 2011. She left the group in December of last year for mental health reasons, and she’s recently embarked on a solo career. Jesy released her debut single “Boyz” earlier this month, after signing with Polydor Records.

With the release of the “Boyz” video, some social media users have accused Nelson of “Blackfishing.” According to Newsweek, the term was popularized following a 2018 Twitter thread from Wanna Thompson about white women who alter their appearance to make themselves look Black or mixed race.


As Zeze Millz wrote on Twitter in response to the video, “Just trying to figure how and why they both look the same complexion? Like? And I’m even more annoyed that Diddy co-signed this.”

In August, Nelson seemed surprised by similar accusations, telling the Guardian, “I would never want to offend anyone, and that was really upsetting. I wasn’t aware that’s how people felt.” 

SEE ALSO: AFTER LEAVING LITTLE MIX, JESY NELSON REMOVES THIS FROM HER INSTAGRAM


Nelson, Minaj Respond to Blackfishing Controversy

In a recent interview, Nelson further addressed the Blackfishing scandal, saying, “I love Black culture. I love Black music. That’s all I know; it’s what I grew up on. I’m very aware that I’m a white British woman; I’ve never said that I wasn’t.”

Nelson and Minaj also participated in an Instagram Live in which they talked about the issue. Nelson didn’t seem to recognize the problem, saying the video is a tribute to “nineties, 2000s hip-hop and R&B,” adding that she got a tan while in Antigua before the video shoot.

“It actually does really hurt me that I may have offended people and hurt people’s feelings by genuinely celebrating something that I love,” Nelson shared.

Meanwhile, Minaj defended Nelson, saying, “As long as you’re not hurting anybody or speaking negatively about anyone’s race or culture, you should be able to enjoy your body, your make-up, how you want to.”

Notably, Nelson’s Little Mix group mates reportedly unfollowed her on Instagram over the weekend, possibly in response to the controversy.

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