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Little Mix address Jesy Nelson Blackfishing controversy

"Capitalising on aspects of Blackness without having to endure the daily realities of the Black experience is problematic and harmful"

By Hollie Geraghty

Little Mix surrounded by flowers
Little Mix said they have "so much to celebrate as a three”. (Photo: Little Mix Instagram).

Little Mix have spoken out for the first time since controversy surrounded former bandmate Jesy Nelson following Blackfishing claims.

Nelson was accused of Blackfishing in her debut solo single ‘Boyz’ which was followed by rumours of an alleged feud with her former bandmates when track collaborator Nicki Minaj accused Leigh-Anne Pinnock of being “jealous” of the newly solo artist. 

Minaj’s comments were made on an Instagram Live with Nelson in which the US rapper addressed the “leaked DMs” allegedly sent from Pinnock which referenced Blackfishing and described Nelson as a “horrible person”.

Now in a new interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Little Mix said they “don’t really want to dwell” on the alleged falling out “because we have so much to celebrate as a three”.

They were also asked about the Blackfishing controversy, confirming that they had spoken with Nelson about it before she left the band.

“Capitalising on aspects of Blackness without having to endure the daily realities of the Black experience is problematic and harmful to people of colour,” Pinnock said.

“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 soundbite.”

Thirlwall added: “We don’t really want to dwell, because we have so much to celebrate as a three.

“We’ve dealt with it in the best way that we know how, and got each other through it.”

She added: “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 group in a very friendly, educational manner.”

Last week Nelson confirmed that she no longer speaks to her former bandmates. Appearing on the Graham Norton show on Friday (October 29), she was asked about her departure from the band after nine years together.

“We’re not talking any more. It is sad but honestly there is no bad blood from my side, and I still love them to pieces and genuinely wish them all the best,” she said.

She added: “I loved my time with them, and we’ve got the most incredible memories together, but it’s just one of those things which needs to take time, so who knows.”

At the beginning of this month, Nelson also responded to Blackfishing allegations that were made before her single release by The Guardian in August.

Asked in an interview with Vulture if she understood the allegations that were made, she 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.” 

“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.”