In December 2020, Jesy left the group in pursuit of her solo career. Since then she’s been pushing her career as a solo artist. Unfortunately, people are paying much more attention to recent allegations rather than her music. The discussion of her “culture vulture” behavior has been a continuous one as ‘Little Mix’s style evolved. Jesy’s white British identity gives insight to why people were upset at her use of “artistic expression”.
On occasion Jesy is seen wearing grills on her teeth, oversized clothing, colorful wigs, etc. Not to mention, there is a clear difference in skin tone compared to when Nelson first joined ‘Little Mix’ to now.
Recently, rapper Nicki Minaj collaborated on a song with Jesy called ‘Boyz’. In this music video Jesy is seen wearing oversized jewelry, hair accessories, hair scarves, oversized clothes and timberland boots. Which is typically associated with Black culture. Black artists and black people created this style of fashion and are almost never credited for it.
‘Boyz’ ft. Nicki Minaj is an adaptation of P. Diddy’s ‘Bad Boy For Life’ single in 2001.
But what doesn’t sit right with a few Little Mix members and fans is the slow changing of skin color, to seem more “exotic” looking. These aspects about the music industry are problematic because artist of color who identify and showcase their identity aren’t embraced the same way. They are dismissed as “over the top”, “ghetto”, or ignored as a whole. While artist like Jesy are embraced and celebrated for it.
Hoop earrings, exotic looking nails, Timberland boots, and colorful wigs go deeper than video shoots. There’s a historical pattern of Black people and people of color being robbed of their culture, while other races are able to capitalize from it. Nicki Minaj openly defended Jesy against ‘Little Mix’ member Leigh-Anne Pinnock for accusing Jesy of “Blackfishing”. Which surprised many fans as this is a tactic white artists use to appeal to the “urban” audience. Leigh-Anne Pinnock, who identifies as African-Caribbean, expressed her frustration over her experience with Jesy in the group. She witnessed different variations of her culture appropriating behavior and in opposition of this, she spoke out publicly.