The story behind Nelly's band-aid: Why did he wear a plaster?

The story behind Nelly's band-aid: Why did he wear a plaster?

Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., is an American rapper, singer-songwriter and entrepreneur. He is best known for hit tracks such as Hot In Herre and Dilemma. The hip-hop star has won various accolades throughout his career, including nine Billboard Music Awards. But besides his illustrious career, Iral’s nostalgic music videos feature him wearing a plaster on his left cheek. So, what was the mystery behind Nelly's band-aid?

Nelly's band-aid
Nelly at the 8th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in 2002 (L). The rapper at a Nike store in 2003 (R). Photo: Maury Phillips, Stringer via Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC


Cornell’s fashion sense has always been loud. Whether it is a gigantic bling hanging from his neck or an oddly placed plaster on his cheek, the rapper has never been shy of capturing the attention of his fans.

However, Nelly’s signature face band-aid has always been subject to public scrutiny, and many theories have arisen about why he wore it for over a decade. Here are all the rumours debunked.

Read also

Who are DMX's kids? Meet the American rapper's children

Nelly's profile summary

Full nameCornell Iral Haynes Jr.
Famous asNelly
Date of birth2 November 1974
Age49 years old (2023)
Zodiac signScorpio
Birthplace Austin, Texas, USA
Ethnicity African-American
Alma materUniversity City High School
Height5’8’’ (173 cm)
Weight83 kg (183 lbs)
Hair colourBlack
Eye colourDark brown
Marital statusIn a relationship
Children4 (2 biological, 2 adopted)
ParentsCornell Haynes and Rhonda Mack
ProfessionRapper, singer-songwriter, actor, entrepreneur
Years active1993-present
Net worth $70 million
Social mediaInstagramFacebookX (Twitter)

How old is Nelly?

Nelly (aged 49 as of 2024) was born on 2 November 1974 in Austin, Texas, USA. He is the only son of Cornell Haynes and Rhonda Mack. Haynes served in the Air Force for much of Iral’s childhood.

Nelly's facts
Nelly at the YWCA-GLA Phenomenal Women Award celebration in 2022. Photo: Paul Archuleta
Source: Original

After his parents divorced when he was seven, Nelly relocated with his mother from St. Louis, Missouri, to University City.

Read also

Blueface's net worth today: A breakdown of the rapper's fortune

Nelly's band-aid story

The hip-hop star gained mainstream recognition in the early 2000s thanks to his musical prowess and charismatic personality.

His fans, however, became intrigued about his personal life after he started wearing a small band-aid on his face. This plaster soon became synonymous with Nelly’s image.

Why did Nelly wear a plaster on his face?

Nelly has never confirmed the reason behind his face plaster. In interviews, he has always been somewhat elusive about the band-aid’s meaning, and it seems he intentionally maintained an air of mystery around it.

Nonetheless, this has not stopped his fans from coming up with different explanations and theories to address this issue.

Nelly attending the 2nd Annual BET Awards Radio & Talent Gift Room at The Kodak Theatre in 2002
Nelly at the 2nd Annual BET Awards Radio & Talent Gift Room at The Kodak Theatre in 2002. Photo: Malcolm Ali
Source: UGC

Capital XTRA reports that the renowned singer wore the band-aid to cover up a basketball injury. However, he allegedly wore it even after the wound healed in honour of City Spud, an ex-St. Lunatics member, with whom he collaborated on the song Ride Wit Me.

Read also

Blippi's net worth: How rich is Stevin John in 2024?

According to LADbible, Nelly once revealed that City Spud, who was serving a 10-year sentence for robbery at the time, was innocent. He stated:

I know when he sees me on TV wearing this band-aid, he knows I am wearing it for him.

Various sources, however, report that the band-aid was just a fashion statement the star adopted to distinguish him as a brand. Ultimately, the exact reason why the businessman wore a plaster on his face remains unknown.

Why did Nelly stop wearing his face band-aid?

After City Spud’s release from prison in 2008, Nelly’s face band-aid became less prominent in his image. As of 2024, the rapper no longer sports the plaster on his cheek.

Nelly’s career

Iral made his career debut in 1993 as part of the hip-hop group St. Lunatics. Six years later, he signed with Universal Records as a solo artist.

Read also

Jelly Roll’s kids: What you need to know about Bailee and Noah

Nelly during the 2002 Z100's Jingle Ball Show (L). The rapper attending The 2nd Annual BET Awards in 2002 (R)
Nelly during the 2002 Z100's Jingle Ball Show (L). The rapper at The 2nd Annual BET Awards in 2002 (R). Photo: Gregg DeGuire, KMazur via Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC

His debut album, Country Grammar, charted in the top ten list of the Billboard Hot 100 and received diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In 2014, the star was ranked America’s fourth-best-selling hip-hop artist by RIAA, with 21 million albums sold in the USA. Here are some of his studio albums:

  • Country Grammar (2000)
  • Nellyville (2002)
  • Sweat (2004)
  • Suit (2004)
  • Brass Knuckles (2008)
  • 5.0 (2010)
  • M.0 (2013)
  • Heartland (2021)

In 2023, the singer partnered with HarbourView Equity Partners, who purchased a selection of his recorded assets, including Dilemma and Ride Wit Me.

He reportedly sold 50% of his catalogue for $50 million. Per Variety, the star did this to tap into new generations and broaden his audience reach.

As artists, we put our heart and soul into each track, and there comes a time when you consider preserving that artistry. My music is my legacy, and I want it to last beyond me, continuing to make my existing fans happy while reaching new generations and audiences. I am excited to partner with HarbourView to create opportunities for the discovery of my music decades from now.

Read also

Tom Cruise’s teeth: How he went from dull to dazzling?

Nelly during I Love R&B Mondays at Greenhaus ATL
The hip-hop star during I Love R&B Mondays at Greenhaus ATL in 2023. Photo: Prince Williams
Source: UGC


Nelly began acting in 2001, starring in the film Snipes. He has been featured in several TV series and films, as highlighted below:

Film/TV showYear
The Longest Yard2005
CSI: NY2008-2009
Reach Me2014
The Platinum Life2017
Dancing with the Stars2020

What is Nelly’s net worth?

Celebrity Net Worth estimates Iral’s net worth to be $70 million. He has amassed this wealth from his successful career in the entertainment industry and various business ventures.

Nelly’s band-aid has been an integral part of his image. Many fans knew him because of the plaster on his cheek. Even though various speculations and theories exist about why the rapper kept it on his face for this long, he has never officially confirmed any claims.

READ ALSO: SZA before surgery: How the singer transformed her body and face

Read also

Susan Boyle’s net worth, career and how she spends her millions recently published lesser-known facts about SZA's plastic surgery speculations. Did she go under the knife to achieve her current looks?

SZA is an American singer-songwriter best known for the hits Good Days and Tread Carefully. Comparisons of her then and now photos have attracted controversy online, with fans speculating that she had undergone surgery.

Source: Briefly News

Ruth Gitonga avatar

Ruth Gitonga (Lifestyle writer) Ruth Gitonga has a background experience in Mass Communication for over six years. She graduated from the University of Nairobi with a degree in Mass Communication in December 2014. In 2023, Ruth finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. She has worked for for five years now. She specializes in topics like lifestyle, entertainment, travel, technology, and sports. Email: