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Jesy Nelson has responded to accusations of 'blackfishing' in her Boyz music video.
After releasing her first single, Boyz, last week - nearly a year after exiting Little Mix due to mental health concerns - Nelson, 30, is responding to accusations that she appropriated Black culture in the music video.
During an Instagram Live with Nicki Minaj, who features on the track, the singer said, "I personally want to say that my intention was never ever to offend people of colour with this video and my song because, like I said, growing up as a young girl, this is the music that I listened to. These are the videos that I watched and thought were the best. For me personally, '90s R&B were the best years in music. I just wanted to celebrate that. I just want to celebrate that era of music (that) I love."
Social media users accused the songstress of darkening her skin colour and changing her hair for the video to present as racially ambiguous, a claim which Nelson has denied.
"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 got darker than me in the sun. That's crazy,'" she continued, noting that she wanted to appear on Instagram Live to show her natural hair, which she said she got from her father.
The former girl band member was also asked about the accusations during an interview with Vulture, and she claimed she never received similar comments when she was still a member of Little Mix. Nelson said that she wants to be "authentic and true" to her sense of style, and if people do not like it then "don't be my fan, don't be a part of my journey."
Later, Nelson said in a statement to the publication, "I take all those comments made seriously. I would never intentionally do anything to make myself look racially ambiguous, so that's why I was initially shocked that the term was directed at me."