Little Mix and Jesy Nelson have dominated headlines in recent weeks.
Following her departure from the band in December, Jesy launched her solo music career last week, releasing her debut single ‘Boyz’ featuring Nicki Minaj on Friday, October 8.
The music video for the track sparked serious backlash, with many accusing Jesy of “blackfishing”.
Amid the drama, a message allegedly sent by Leigh-Anne Pinnock was leaked, in which she accused Jesy of blocking her, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall on social media.
We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the ongoing drama, looking back to the formation of Little Mix in 2011 and the lead up to Jesy’s decision to quit the group last year.
Take a look:
Back To The Beginning
In 2011, Perrie, Leigh-Anne, Jade and Jesy all auditioned for the X Factor UK as solo artists.
The singers failed to make it past the first round of the bootcamp part of the show individually, but later were asked to come back to form a four-piece girl group called Rhythmix.
During the live shows, it was announced that the band would change their name following a dispute with a Brighton-based children’s music charity that was also called Rhythmix.
On October 28, 2011, it was announced that the group’s new name would be Little Mix.
On December 11, 2011 Little Mix were crowned the winners of The X Factor, making history as the first time group to ever win the UK version of the show.
Their winner’s single was a cover of Damien Rice’s song ‘Cannonball’, which topped the UK Singles Chart that year and made the Christmas number one spot on the Irish Singles Chart.
They released their debut album ‘DNA’ the following year, releasing ‘Wings’ as the first single from the album.
Perrie, Leigh-Anne, Jade and Jesy went on to release five more albums together – ‘Salute’, ‘Get Weird’, ‘Glory Days’, ‘LM5’ and ‘Confetti’.
‘Odd One Out’ Documentary
In 2019, Jesy Nelson’s BBC documentary ‘Odd One Out’ aired.
In the film, the singer opened up about the relentless online bullying she faced while in Little Mix, and how she was often referred to as “the fat one” in the band by trolls.
The 30-year-old revealed that she attempted to take her own life as a result of the constant trolling, but was saved by her then-boyfriend.
Jesy’s bandmates featured in the documentary, and revealed how difficult it was to see Jesy go through such a hard time.
Jade said: “We just had to watch this amazing, funny girl become a bit like a broken doll. It was horrible.”
“I remember feeling really angry. I wanted to just find every single person that had ever said anything horrible to her, look them in the eye and say, ‘Look what you’ve done to this girl.'”
Jesy won a National Television Award for her powerful documentary, and broke down in tears as she accepted the award.
In her speech, she said: “This is so overwhelming, I’m such a baby. I want to start by thanking the BBC for being the most incredible team to work with.”
“I want to thank my dearest friend Adam [Goodall] for being the most incredible director, alongside with Rich[ard Cook], the producer. I want to thank every single person that was in the documentary for being so brave and courageous to tell their own story to the world.”
“I want to thank my mum for being the most inspirational, strongest woman in my life. I want to thank Chris [Hughes], my [now ex] boyfriend, for just bringing me up every day and making me feel confident.”
“And last but not least, I want to thank every single person that voted. You have no idea how much this means to me, to us. I don’t think we’ve ever expected for this to have such an impact.”
“I’m just so so grateful that such a negative experience in my life turned into such a positive one, and that’s all thanks to you guys. Thank you so much.”
Sweet Melody Music Video
Little Mix released the track ‘Sweet Melody’ in October last year and after months in lockdown, they reunited to film the music video.
This was the last music video the band filmed as a foursome.
Earlier this year, Jesy told Cosmopolitan that she had a panic attack while filming the music video and that ultimately, the shoot was the “breaking point” for her.
She said: “We’d been in lockdown, and [that had been] the first time I could have a break and be at home around people that I love. It was the happiest I’d ever felt, and I didn’t realize that until I went back to work.”
“I immediately became a different person. I had anxiety. Whenever we had a music video, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to try and lose weight.”
“I have a fear of looking back on the camera. If I don’t like what I see, I find it so hard to be in front of the camera and feel amazing and perform.”
After going on an “extreme diet” in the lead-up to the music video, Jesy revealed she had a panic attack on the day of the shoot.
“On the day of the ‘Sweet Melody’ video I had a panic attack on set because I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I found it so hard to just be happy and enjoy myself. I looked at the other three and they were having the time of their life,” she recalled.
“I get so jealous, because I want to feel like that and enjoy it, because music is my passion. To have this dream and not be enjoying it because of what I look like, I knew wasn’t normal.”
Jesy revealed she was missing from a scene in the music video because that was when she “broke down”.
“I was like, ‘I just want to go home.’ I was sobbing in the dressing room. Someone really close to me said, ‘This has got to stop. You can’t keep doing this to yourself. You’re going to end up where you were before.’”
Jesy admitted she entered “a really dark time after the music video”, and was advised by her mother to put her mental health first.
“For me, that was the pinnacle point. I was like, ‘I need to start taking care of myself now, because this isn’t healthy.’ It wasn’t nice for the other three to be around someone who didn’t want to be there. So I took a break.”
“For so long I worried about other people and letting people down. The only person I should have been trying to make happy was myself and I wasn’t doing that.”
“I needed to do it for my mental health because I know I would have ended up back where I was five years ago, and that’s scary…”
Jesy Quits The Band
On December 14, 2020, Jesy announced she was leaving Little Mix.
Sharing the news in a social media statement, the singer wrote: “To all my Mixers. The past nine years in Little Mix has been the most incredible time of my life. We have achieved things I never thought possible. From winning our first Brit Award to our sold out shows at the O2.”
“Making friends and fans all over the world I can’t thank you all enough from the bottom of my heart for making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. You have always been there to support and encourage me and I will never ever forget it.”
“The truth is recently being in the band has really token a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard,” she admitted.
“There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking core of ourselves rather than focusing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin that process.”
“So after much consideration and with a heavy heart, I’m announcing I’m leaving Little Mix. I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy.”
“I’m ready to embark on a new chapter in my life – I’m not sure what its going to look like right now, but I hope you’ll still be there to support me. I want to say thank you to everyone involved in our journey. All the hard work and dedication that went into making us a success.”
“To every single fan who came to see us in concert, who listened to our songs and sung their hearts out, sent me messages and supported me along the way I want you to know I love you all so much and I could never have done this without you and I appreciate it endlessly.”
“Most of all I want to say thank you to Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne for creating some of the most amazing memories i’ll never forget. I hope that you’ll continue to fulfil all of your dreams and keep on making music that people love. Love Jesy x”
Perrie, Leigh-Anne and Jade then released a statement that read: “After an amazing 9 years together Jesy has made the decision to leave Little Mix. This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy.”
“We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being. We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the 3 of us are not ready for it to be over.”
“We know that Jesy leaving the group is going to be really upsetting news for our fans. We love you guys so much and are so grateful for your loyalty and continued support of all of us. We’re looking forward to seeing so many of you on tour. Love always, Jade, Perrie and Leigh-Anne xxx”
Prior to quitting the band, Jesy announced she was taking an “extended break” from Little Mix for private medical reasons.
She had pulled out of a number of appearances in the lead up to her break – including the final of the band’s talent show Little Mix: The Search, and hosting the MTV EMAs.
Jesy later announced she was launching her own solo music career, while Perrie, Jade and Leigh-Anne continued in Little Mix as a trio.
Earlier this month, Jesy admitted she hadn’t spoken to her former bandmates since she left the band.
Speaking to Glamour magazine, the 30-year-old confessed: “I haven’t spoken to the girls.”
“It is weird because for so many years we were as close as sisters, together every hour of the day for weeks, sharing beds, laughing, crying just 24/7 the four of us together and then… Nothing.”
“We’ve sent a few texts, but that’s it. I can’t explain it, 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.”
“Hopefully, at some point in the future, we can all come back together. I love them. They are my sisters in so many ways, but for the time being we just don’t talk,” she added.
Speaking on a recent episode of Fearne Cotton’s podcast Happy Place podcast, Jesy admitted she felt “miserable” and “trapped” in the group, and said being compared to her bandmates “every single day” was “draining”.
The ‘Boyz’ Music Video Drama
On October 8, Jesy’s highly anticipated debut single ‘Boyz’ was released.
The 30-year-old collaborated with Nicki Minaj on the track, which heavily samples P Diddy’s 2001 song Bad Boy For Life.
Jesy came under fire for the music video, with many accusing her of altering her appearance to seem Black or racially ambiguous – otherwise known as “blackfishing”.
Jesy addressed the blackfishing claims during a recent interview with Vulture, saying: “The whole time I was in Little Mix I never got any of that. And then I came out of [the band] and people all of a sudden were saying it.”
“I wasn’t on social media around that time, so I let my team [deal with it], because that was when I’d just left.”
“But I mean, like, I love Black culture. I love Black music. That’s all I know; it’s what I grew up on. I’m very aware that I’m a white British woman; I’ve never said that I wasn’t.”
In a separate statement addressing the accusations, Jesy added: “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.”
Amid the controversy, messages between Instagram user @nohun_ and Leigh-Anne Pinnock were leaked.
According to screenshots posted online, Leigh-Anne allegedly asked NoHun to make a video about Jesy “being a black fish”.
The alleged messages from Leigh-Anne also accused Jesy of blocking her and her Little Mix bandmates, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, on social media, and added: “Horrible person.”
Goss.ie has reached out to Leigh-Anne’s reps for a comment regarding these alleged messages.
Nicki Minaj, who collaborated with Jesy on Boyz, weighed in on the drama in an Instagram Live on Monday.
The rapper said: “Sweetheart, take them text messages and shove it up your f***ing ass, because when you do clown shit I got to treat you and talk to you like you a clown.”
“If you was in this woman’s group and you ain’t talk about this s**t for 10 years, and as soon as you see she got a video coming out with Nicki Minaj and Puffy, now you sending text messages and all this shit…”
View this post on Instagram
“Print those text messages out, bust your ass open and shove them up your motherf***ing ass.”
“Stop trying to hurt people and kill people’s lives and careers, this is the way people feed their families. Stop – if you want a solo career, baby girl, just say that.”
The rapper continued: “You can go out and put your own music. We’re gonna support you and love you. That’s it. You don’t have to attack someone else. If that’s how you felt, why were you kiki’ing with her and being in the videos with her for 10 years?”
“Now, all of a sudden she’s not in a video with you, you have some negative, evil thing to do and say? Stop.”
“Only jealous people do things like this. It makes you a big jealous bozo. I love you guys but please don’t do this. Let these people be miserable all by themselves.”
Jesy, who was also on the Instagram Live, didn’t say anything during Nicki’s rant, but occasionally laughed at some of her comments.
Nicki then took to Twitter to slam Leigh-Anne even further, writing: “JeLeigh btchs actin real messy…”
“If you know someone has been suicidal from bullying in the past, why try to get a bunch of ppl to bully them again about smthng else, on an even bigger scale? Shame on you— that’s rlly sad. You don’t know what ppl can deal with.”
As Little Mix fans showed their support for Leigh-Anne following Nicki’s rant, her mum also took to Twitter and wrote: “#WeLoveYouLeigh thank you everyone.”
Leigh-Anne, Perrie and Jade are releasing a Little Mix greatest hits album entitled ‘Between Us’ on November 12. It will be their first album as a trio.
#WeLoveYouLeigh 🖤🖤🖤🖤 thank you everyone 😘😘
— Debbie Pinnock (@PinnockD) October 12, 2021