I respect Nicki Minaj. She has steadily carried HipHop on her back for over six years and continues to make history as a female lyricist. My fixation with Onika goes back to the days when the motif of her hair resembled curly fries and every girl on Facebook coined the last name Minaj. So when a beef erupted between the queen MC and pop princess Taylor Swift, I was at the forefront of the #teamnicki squad, ready to bust guns at anyone who would dare speak ill of the Queen. Then I realized that not only was Nicki wrong, but the only award she should have been nominated for was ‘Donkey of The Day’ by radio personality Charlemagne the god.
Minaj was flabbergasted after learning Taylor’s video for ‘Bad Blood’ was nominated for Video of the Year, but her video for ‘Anaconda’ was not. Nicki, Nicki, Nicki…I don’t mean to stop you, but ‘Bad Blood’ was a better video than ‘Anaconda’. The visual for ‘Bad Blood’ was action packed and reeked of girl power. The cameos featured a host of A-list actresses like Zendaya Coleman , Lena Dunaham, and Mariska Hargitay. On the other hand, the premise behind Anaconda was big booties twerking—a narrative that is overdone and has become synonymous with rap videos.
As far as numbers are concerned, ‘Bad Blood’ dethroned ‘Anaconda’ by having the most views on Vevo in 24hrs.
During her Twitter rhetoric, the head Barb made a pointed remark saying: “I’m not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it.” The “Beez in the Trap” rapper has won the BET award for Best Female in Hip Hop five years in a row. BET has been a beacon in showcasing Black talent. Meanwhile, MTV is a network notorious for capitalizing on Black art, but often forgetting to acknowledge its impact on pop culture. I’m perplexed as to why artists still urn for MTV accolades. They were once the standard in music videos but now their programming has been reduced to Teen Mom and Sixteen and Pregnant reruns.
“If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year” says Minaj. To add insult to injury, Beyoncè WAS nominated for Best Video of The Year for the “711” visual, a video shot using solely an iPhone 6. Beyoncè has been representing for the curvy girls since before it was a fad. Minaj, on the other hand, has that very slim frame she spoke out against. So I can’t help but wonder about her thoughts regarding girls like Kelly Mayhew and a slew of others who have fallen to their demise at the hands of doctors after trying to achieve a curvalicious figure and a plumbed derrière—a shape that even Nicki couldn’t even achieve naturally.
Recently, Nick was featured on Good Morning America. When asked about her Twitter quarrel, Nick coyly made funny faces and redirected the focus to a conversation she had with Swift in which Swift apologized for missing Nicki’s “bigger picture” .
In contrast, it was Nicki who missed the bigger picture. Now, I don’t expect Nick Nak to save the world or become a crime stopping Shero, but she projected her frustration in the wrong direction. Black people face discrimination not only in music but every day and if someone is gong to speak out against it I need their voice to be strong and confident. Making animated faces like Nicki did won’t cut it. Systematic racism, appropriation and racial biases are all relevant to the spat, but Onika failed to chime in on any of those issues.
Nicki Minaj is a phenomenal entertainer and extremely intelligent, but it worries me that the only time she pulls the race card is for self-gain. I would rather she simply rap and dance for me, and not speak out like an activist who utilizes Black Twitter. During her interview I was rooting for her to utilize her black girl magic for good and say something or anything that would resonate with America, but she dropped the ball like a hot potato. As I watched Nicki pop and gyrate in front of hundreds of screaming tweens and teens, I was frustrated and heartbroken. I instantly thought of a quote I heard by the late Great Nina Simone. Now while we all can’t be as free and fearless and as Aunty Nina her words from that clip made chills run up my spine. It was as if she was speaking to our generation specifically when she said “How can you be an artist and not reflect the times”?