Jesy Nelson said she never wanted to hurt anyone after being accused of blackfishing in her debut solo music video, “Boyz” featuring Nicki Minaj.
“I personally want to say that my intention was never, ever to offend people of color with this video and my song because like I said, growing up as a young girl, this is the music that I listened to,” Nelson, 30, told Minaj, 38, during an Instagram Live on Monday.
“These are the videos that I watched and thought were the best,” she continued. “For me personally, ’90s R&B were the best years in music. I just wanted to celebrate that.”
Nelson, who sensationally quit Little Mix in December 2020 to pursue a solo career, added that she feels awful that viewers reacted poorly to the song, which includes lyrics like, “So hood, so good, so damn taboo” with “tattoos and them gold teeth.”
“My intention was never, ever, ever want to offend anyone, and genuinely it actually does really hurt me that may have offended people and actually, like, hurt people’s feelings just by genuinely celebrating something that I love,” she added.
She also stressed that she did not darken her skin or curl her hair to look black, describing herself as all natural.
“I’m just really lucky as a white girl that when I’m in the sun, I tan so dark. Like, so many people have said to me before, like Leigh-Anne [Pinnock] in the group, has said, ‘You sure you’re, like, not mixed race? Because you’ve gotten darker than me in the sun. That’s crazy,’” Nelson asserted, referring to her former bandmate.
“I wanted to come on this live today as well and show everyone my hair is naturally curly. I’ve always had curly hair. I got it from my dad.”
She continued, “I genuinely didn’t think I was doing anything wrong because I’ve got naturally curly hair.”
Nelson’s former Little Mix bandmates Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall all unfollowed the “Boyz” singer on social media following the blackfishing scandal.
Minaj slammed her collaborator’s onetime friends on Tuesday, saying, “Let her enjoy this time. If you was in this group and haven’t talked about this s—t for 10 years … if you want a solo career, baby girl, just say that. … If that’s how you felt, why were you kiki’ing with her and being in videos with her for 10 years?”
Nelson quit Little Mix after singing in the pop girl group for a decade, saying at the time that her involvement with them had taken a toll on her mental health.