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Is Jesy Nelson ‘Blackfishing’?

Jesy Nelson has recently released her new debut single “BOYZ” featuring Nicki Minaj and Diddy, after her recent break up from known band ‘Little Mix’. The song is an upbeat, RnB track with the classic sample of ‘Bad Boy for Life’ by P.Diddy. It depicts her ‘fascination’ with bad boys and has had a lot of controversy, to say the least, regarding accusations of ‘Blackfishing’.

‘Blackfishing’ is a term used to accuse someone of pretending to be black by using make-up, hair styles, attire and even surgery to drastically change their appearance. But the question is, is Jesy actually blackfishing?

There is a vast amount of white models, influencers and celebrities being racially ambiguous in today's society in terms of their physical appearances. Fake tan is getting darker, lips are getting bigger, hair is getting curlier and bigger and body parts are getting more plump. These women are racially ambiguous; you cannot tell they are clearly no black.

Influencers have taken to social media to share their many thoughts and opinions on Jesy’s new video, mainly discussing the similarities in Nicki Minaj and Jesy’s complexion, despite being a white woman and Nicki being a black woman.

Many have claimed that as a white woman, she is profiting of black culture where so many black females struggle to do so.

Case in hand, within the entertainment industry, where Rita Ora has been accused of ‘Blackfishing’. Fans have always assumed Rita Ora is of a mixed background, however back in August 2020, a tweet surfaced calling attention to her Albanian parentage who are fully white. Rita has been accused of cultural appropriation on numerous occasions with regards to her physical appearance; a darker complexion (darker tan) and traditionally black hairstyles.

Some would spin the above and say an argument could be made here: Is it truly fair for black women to then portray “white” features” such as wearing straight weave, wigs and bleaching their skin, when their non black counterpart is being accused of ‘Blackfishing’? This is just one example of some of the debates that have been circling the internet

Jesy has stated “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”. I guess you can say she’s self aware and knows the issues surrounding her new vibe. However should there really be a whole problem and debate over it or is it just bullying? There are plenty of white people who grew up on black culture surrounded by black people so why all the hate for someone showing the world her love and appreciation for it. Is it petty critics or has she taken a step too far in her appearance? Her love of black culture can be seen as being positive however if she has never used her platform to speak up for the injustices the black community face on a day to day basis is she just cherry picking‘ the best bits’ to catapult her solo career?

No one can deny the song is a banger, reaching no.1 both in the UK and US. Let’s hope she can clear a few things up before her next single drops!

Author: Mica Reid


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