Little Mix are addressing the accusations that former group mate Jesy Nelson was blackfishing.
Nelson was accused of doing so in her recently released music video “Boyz” with Nicki Minaj, with some suggesting she used makeup to darken her skin to look Black even though she is not.
Little Mix members Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock told the Telegraph‘s Stella magazine that they actually addressed this with Nelson before her exit in Dec. 2020.
“We’ve dealt with it in the best way that we know how, and got each other through it,” Thirlwall said. “We don’t want to talk about the video, or be critical, but one thing we will clarify regarding the blackfishing situation is that Jesy was approached by the band in a very friendly, educational manner.”
Thirlwall added that they aren’t going to “dwell” on Nelson but did say blackfishing was “problematic.”
“Capitalizing on aspects of blackness without having to endure the daily realities of the Black experience is problematic and harmful to people of colour,” she added. “We think it’s absolutely not okay to use harmful stereotypes. There’s so much to say on that subject that it’s hard to sum up in a sound bite.”
Leaked messages between Pinnock and a friend saw Pinnock allegedly calling Nelson out after the release of “Boyz”. Minaj then weighed in and said Little Mix were “jealous, miserable clowns.”
“I take all those comments made seriously,” Nelson told Vulture in a statement. “I would never intentionally do anything to make myself look racially ambiguous, so that’s why I was initially shocked that the term was directed at me.”
Adding that she never received blackfishing backlash while a part of Little Mix.
“If you look at me on ‘X-Factor’ with my big curly hair, I was wearing trainers and combats — that’s who I am as an artist and as Jesy,” Nelson said.