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22nd Feb 2018

A scene by scene analysis of the time Jesy from Little Mix tried to do a Jamaican accent


Ciara Knight

The single greatest online moment of the 21st century.

Everyone remembers where they were the first time they watched Jesy Nelson making a balls of the Jamaican accent.

I was at a friend’s house. We were watching Vine compilations and I spit full fat Coca-Cola all over her phone cover. It wiped clean off, thankfully.

This cultural milestone is a part of us all now. We can separate our lives into two parts: The time before we saw Jesy Nelson’s Jamaican accent attempt, and the time after.

Please reacquaint yourself:

Now let’s do a scene by scene analysis of this perfect sequence of events.

Act I, Scene I – Intrigue

Jesy picks up the card with great excitement. She is having a wonderful time. ‘Taking part in internet videos to promote your band is fun’, she thinks to herself. ‘Nothing can possibly go wrong in this situation’, she muses. Jesy is with her bandmates in a safe environment. She doubts many people will even watch this video once it’s uploaded, which is just as well because she’s not too keen on her ring choices. She was worried there might be too many on her right hand and not enough on the left. Regardless, she’s having a nice time. Things are going well.


Act I, Scene II – Realisation

Jesy visibly swallows as she reads the word ‘Jamaican’. It has long been known among her friends and family that Jesy simply cannot do a Jamaican accent. Her accent abilities are usually pretty good, but that Caribbean island lilt has always been a tricky one for her to mimic. Impressively, Jesy composes herself as it begins to sink in that she is living her worst nightmare in this very moment. There are cameras everywhere, she cannot escape. Jesy must face her greatest fear and have it recorded for all to see.


Act II, Scene I – Panic

Jesy scrambles for a quick exit. There’s none. She’s trapped. We’re treated to a wider camera angle to show how the other girls are reacting. Perrie (second from the right) leans away from Jesy, almost as if she knows that something unsightly is coming. Jesy raises a finger to steady herself. If she’s going to do this, it needs to be as inoffensive as possible. Damage control is in motion. Jesy is panicking. She knows that what’s following won’t be pretty, but she’s been placed in an impossible situation. She must persevere.


Act II, Scene II – False Start

Jesy inhales right before she’s about to say something, but she bottles it. Instead, she just sighs. Could this be the moment that would’ve avoided such a fiasco? Was Jesy about to jump into a Cool Runnings monologue? Perhaps the one about a lucky egg? We’re never going to find out because Jesy Nelson of Little Mix bottled it. Her sigh is a dead giveaway that Jesy shunned whatever the initial idea was. She probably regrets that to this very day, but she shouldn’t. What came next was spectacular and we can never repay her for the joy that she has brought so many of us as a result.


Act III, Scene I – Balegdah

It happens. It finally happens. Jesy Nelson from Little Mix says ‘Balegdah’. Bah-leg-dah. Baledgah. Not only does she deliver a nonsense word in an unidentified accent, she also pulls a hysterical face while doing so. The word alone would’ve been enough. ‘Balegdah’ is sufficient to gain meme status. But Jesy ‘No Nonsense’ Nelson doesn’t do things by halves. She also gave us an other-worldly facial expression to top things off. The gift doesn’t cease to give. We are spoiled beyond belief by Jesy Nelson. Thank you, Jesy.


Act III, Scene II – The Aftermath

Perrie has enough tact to laugh precisely the right amount. She gives a quick lol to acknowledge how hysterical Jesy’s attempt at a Jamaican accent was, but she doesn’t embarrass her. This is a beautiful demonstration of girl code. But also, if you’ll cast your mind back to Act II, Scene I, Perrie leaned away from Jesy before she launched into her Jamaican impression. Did she know what was coming? Whether she’s heard it before or had a premonition, we need to entertain the fact that Perrie Edwards of Little Mix might be a psychic. Girl band members can have psychic powers, just like you and I.


Act III, Scene III – Commitment

Those that learned of ‘Balegdah’ through Vine will be unaware that there’s actually a lot more going on than in the six seconds you’ve previously seen up until now. After Jesy delivers her brand new word, Perrie asks “Is that the accent?”, to which Jesy interrupts “Leigh-Anne has just come back from the island” in a fairly decent Jamaican accent. So impressive that Leigh-Anne shouts “Jamaica!” in support and everyone has a good laugh about it. Jesy likely believes that ‘Balegdah’ will be forgotten because she’s just delivered a pretty impressive sequence of words in a Jamaican accent. Oh Jesy! How foolish of you.


Act IV, Final Scene – Affirmation

Perrie, who’s played a big part in this story up until now, gets the final say. She turns to Jesy after her ‘Balegdah’ outburst and says with the utmost sincerity “That was really good”. Was it, Perrie? On the whole? Even the part where Jesy rolled her eyes right back into her head and coined the term ‘Balegdah’? Was that ‘really good’? This statement turns the whole thing into a tale of friendship. Despite Jesy poorly gauging her ability to do a Jamaican accent and running with it, Perrie still encourages her friend. She laughs the right amount so as not to patronise or upset her, then provides blinding support afterwards. These girls are what friendship in 2018 looks like. They are an inspiration. The are iconic. They are Balegdah.



Images via YouTube