Jesy Nelson responds to Blackfishing accusations

by 24USATVOct. 12, 2021, 4 a.m. 21
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(CNN) Jesy Nelson is addressing accusations of Blackfishing and cultural appropriation leveled against her following the release of her new music video on Friday.

The former Little Mix member faced a barrage of criticism on social media over the weekend, with many commentators accusing her of intentionally changing her style in a bid to appear racially ambiguous in "Boyz," a collaboration with rapper Nicki Minaj

Social commentator Zeze Millz tweeted: "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."

Journalist Shakeena Johnson wrote: "It's the fact that jesy nelson is cosplaying as a black woman singing about wanting a hood bad boy... sis is in FULL COSPLAY lol."

In an interview with Vulture magazine 's Douglas Greenwood, published Friday, Nelson said she was "just 100 percent being myself," adding that she loved Black culture and Black music.

"Boyz" is her solo debut since signing with Polydor in May.

"I would never want to offend anyone, and that was really upsetting," she told the publication at the time, adding: "I wasn't aware that's how people felt."

Asked by Greenwood whether, on reflection, she now understood the points being made, Nelson said: "The whole time I was in Little Mix I never got any of that. And then I came out of (the band) and people all of a sudden were saying it."

She continued: "I wasn't on social media around that time, so I let my team (deal with it) because that was when I'd just left. But I mean, like, 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."

Asked about claims she previously blocked people on Instagram who accused her of Blackfishing, she replied: "I don't know about that. Maybe it was my team."

An editor's note in the Vulture article states that Nelson's publicist later confirmed that her management had deleted some comments and blocked users on Instagram.

Vulture reported that Nelson later told the publication via email: "I take all those comments made seriously. 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."

CNN has contacted Nelson's representatives for further comment.

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