In December 2020, Jesy Nelson announced she was leaving Little Mix, citing mental health reasons. In an interview with the Cosmopolitan UK, the singer got candid about leaving the group, where she revealed that she felt ‘miserable’ when in the group.
She quoted, "I constantly compared myself to the others. Of course, a lot of that was in my head, but a lot of it was past trauma. Even recently, I was still getting compared to them. It’s horrible when you already don’t like something about yourself to then have thousands of people point it out. Now I feel like me. When I look back [at my time] in the band, I genuinely wasn’t me. I can’t believe how miserable I was. I didn’t know that I could be this happy. ".
The singer added, "Since I’ve left, I feel free. I don’t wake up with anxiety, thinking, ‘I’ve got to do a music video today, I need to starve myself.’ Or, ‘I need to go on an extreme diet, so I can look like the other three.’ That was consuming me."
The former Little Mix member’s debut single, 'Boyz', featuring Nicki Minaj, was released on October 8th, 2021. The song is partly inspired by the dissolution of her most recent relationship with actor Sean Sagar. The song and especially Jesy received a lot of backlash from the audience.
As the audience and some publications pointed out, Jesy arguably performs with a ‘Blaccent’ during some songs. Jesy was accused of ‘Black fishing’, a term that refers to someone who changes their appearance to look like a black person or someone racially ambiguous.
A social media user, ZeZe Millz, tweeted, "Just trying to figure out how and why they both look the same complexion? such as? And I'm even more annoyed that Diddy co-signed this." Journalist Shakeena Johnson wrote: "It's the fact that Jesy Nelson is cos playing as a black woman and singing about wanting a hood bad boy... sis is in FULL COSPLAY, lol."
The 30-year-old singer denied all the claims and mentioned that she merely ‘loves black culture. The singer said during an interview, "If you look at me on X-Factor with my big curly hair, I was wearing trainers and combats — that's who I am as an artist and as Jesy. Now I'm out of Little Mix, I've gone back to being who I am. Like I said, I don't ever want to be an artist who's being told what to wear or what music to make. I want to be authentic and true to myself, and if people don't like that, don't be my fan. Don't be a part of my journey."
During a candid interview with Vulture, Jesy told in a statement that she would never intentionally do anything to make herself look racially ambiguous, so that’s why she was shocked that the term "black fishing" was directed at her. On Monday, Jesy and Nicki Minaj sat down during an Instagram live, where Nicki mentioned that DMs about the entire ‘black fishing drama’ was allegedly sent from Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s account.
According to sources, the alleged screenshots from an Instagram account (NoHun) surfaced over the weekend that showcased the Little Mix member Leigh-Anne Pinnock, who raised her concerns about her former bandmate’s presentation. The DMs also mentioned that she ‘blocked us', referring to her and the other two members, Jade and Perrie.
Nicki Minaj defended Jesy by stating, "Take those text messages and shove them up to your f—ing ass." Let her enjoy this time. If you were in this group and haven't talked about this s— for 10 years, If you want a solo career as a 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."
Little Mix members have not addressed Jesy Nelson’s debut song, but they all unfollowed her on Instagram over the weekend. Talking about her relationship with the former band members, Jesy mentioned to Glamour UK in an interview, "We've sent a few texts, but that's it. I can't explain it, but it's like there has to be this distance. We were so close, so you can't do in-between, there has to be space and, hopefully, at some point in the future, we can all come back together. "
Jesy was also asked if she got a chance to see Perrie Edwards and Leigh Anne-Pinnock’s babies, which she said she had not. Jesy Nelson has been vocal about her struggle with the group and how ‘awful’ she felt while being in the band, but since her exit from the group, she has been embracing everything she did not like about herself to the fullest and feels that she is in a happy place.
"I feel in control of my life, I don't have that constant anxiety, the feeling I might be letting someone down or voicing an opinion that won't fit with the others," she added. "It's so completely liberating, and that has been massive for my state of mind." When Jesy removed the pictures she had with the group from her Instagram to start clean, she was not appreciated for that move, but she explained that the move helped her feel ‘like a weight had been lifted. "I hated looking at those old pictures when I was unhappy or just looking awful," she said. They've gone. That Jesy has gone. "
Jesy was asked during the interview whether she would still be in the group if it wasn’t the pandemic? To which she answered yes. She continued, "I wouldn’t have had time to realize that being myself and doing things that make me happy was what I genuinely wanted to do. I just kept going and going. But that’s what was making me so depressed". That is when she decided to leave and give herself some time to wear off the negativity she had been carrying for almost ten years now.
She was asked if she had decided to pursue a solo career during her interview, to which she replied that she had never considered it but that she was not feeling well, and then one of her friends invited her to come to the studio and try to write songs for other artists.
They tried to keep her mind off of what was going on, so she began making songs for herself, she explained. Jesy Nelson says she hopes to reunite with her former bandmates one day, but in the meanwhile, she will be the best version of herself and embrace herself in the way she feels secure and joyful.