Updated: October 14, 2021 1:08:52 pm
English singer and former Little Mix star Jesy Nelson has been facing criticism for ‘blackfishing’, following the video release of her debut single Boyz.
‘Blackfishing’ refers to the act where one pretends to be black or mixed-race, for profit, commercial gain or to raise their profile, according to inews.co.uk. ‘Blackfishing’ can be done in various ways — by altering one’s appearance by appropriating black people’s style, from hair to makeup. It is considered highly offensive to the community.
‘Blackfishing’ reportedly became a buzzword around 2018 when Twitterati posted before-and-after pictures of white models wearing dark makeup and traditionally black hairstyles.
In her latest video, Nelson is tanned and her hair is styled with wigs and braids. She wears basketball shorts and gold teeth.
Don’t call things out when they benefit your personal vendetta to ppl. Call them out immediately once you see it chile. Don’t wait a decade after you’ve made millions with the person 🤣 #BoyzOutNow https://t.co/SeXUPFxMyp
— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) October 11, 2021
However, rap sensation Nicki Minaj, who also appears in Nelson’s latest video, recently defended the singer against claims of ‘blackfishing’. “Y’all gotta stop,” she mentioned on Instagram.
In an Instagram live, Nelson also talked about how she was in a “group with two women of colour for nine years”, referring to her music group, and yet the subject was never brought up earlier.
“There’s a lot of women out here in the United States that tan, get bigger lips. I wear straight blonde hair when I want to,” Nicki Minaj added, as quoted by BBC.
Nelson added, “My intention is never to offend people of colour with this video and my song.”
This is not the first time that a celebrity has been criticised for ‘blackfishing’. In January this year, Kim Kardashian received flak on social media after tweeting a video in which her hand appeared to be of a lighter colour tone than the rest of the body. While some criticised her for ‘blackfishing’, others believed she was in denial of her actual skin tone.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 13, 2021
In 2020, singer and songwriter Rita Ora, who has often talked about her Albanian heritage, was accused of ‘blackfishing’ for wearing her hair in braids and an Affro.
In the same year, Selena Gomez also received criticism for darkening her skin for a magazine shoot. She also sported long braids.
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