Nicki Minaj heightens racial animus

It would be a mistake to underestimate the influence that entertainers are capable of in shaping the public’s attitude towards political issues, and in the national dialogue on such issues.  Amidst the current atmosphere of heightened racial hypersensitivity, it would seem unimaginable for an entertainer to recklessly use his or her notoriety to further racial animus.  Nicki Minaj, however, who is arguably the most famous female rapper today, had no qualms making unsubstantiated claims of racially motivated discrimination against her, because she didn’t receive an award to which she believed she was entitled. 

MTV’s annual Video Music Awards (or the VMA’s) are notorious for their unscripted controversies.  They cater primarily to a teenage and young adult audience.  The VMA’s held in August this year were the “most tweeted about non-Super Bowl event” with a record of 21.4 million tweets that occurred only throughout the broadcast.  When the award nominations were announced by MTV earlier in July, Nicki Minaj was infuriated to have found that her song “Anaconda” had not been nominated in the most prestigious “Video of the Year” award category.  This song was nominated, however, in four other categories and she received an award in one of them. 

According to her Twitter tirade, she believed that she had been excluded from the nomination because of racial bias against her and, because the music community rewarded only “other” (read: “white”), “slim bodied women.” The only other woman who received a nomination for the coveted Video of the Year award category was Taylor Swift.  Swift, understandably, felt vilified by her colleague and personal friend, and questioned Minaj’s motivations.  Minaj was reproachful and reprimanded Swift for “making it about her,” and ignoring the “bigger issue” of racism at play here.  Minaj was applauded for her rude behavior and divisive language by the social media and the far left. 

Very few, notably Piers Morgan, addressed her infantile hysterics in the media.  By and large, the liberal media had picked a side.  It had decided that Minaj’s claim was justified, and her anger, righteous.  A combination of her ugly diatribe and its legitimization by the liberal media was enough to spark an angry debate about race among the millennials.  In her perverse tantrum, Minaj ignited more racial animosity in this especially perilous hour.  Predictably, the liberal media was flooded with articles and op-eds with accusations of discrimination, unfairness, and ill-will.  At the VMA’s itself, Minaj referred to another white artist, Miley Cyrus, as a “b**ch” in her acceptance speech.  Cyrus was at the receiving end this time for having suggested in an interview that Minaj’s outcry against racism was barely-veiled jealousy for not having received a ‘Video of the Year’ nomination.  But once again, public sympathies were unabashedly with Minaj. 

It is unnecessary to point out how many black women (and men) are established and irreplaceable icons in the music industry.  They, including Minaj, claim both financial rewards and global recognition from their pursuits.  Minaj has had a reputation for her unpleasant demeanor, even before her music career started to gain momentum.  As a celebrity, she has been in several altercations with various other entertainers.  Prior to the VMA debacle, she was just another pampered celebrity that a tabloid news consumer would read about in passing.  By inserting herself into the race baiting agenda, however, Minaj has adopted a uniquely destructive role. 

The liberal media has often condemned the “fetishization and brutalization” of black women and reprimanded the public portrayal of the angry black woman stereotype.  It is quite difficult to accept that anyone who has seen the Anaconda music video, any of her other provocative performances, or her vulgar wax statue at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas, has not been outraged that she purports to speak for all black women.  The “Anaconda” video is a meant to shock.  It has scantily clad women performing erotic dance moves to obscene, misogynistic lyrics about using drugs, promiscuity and “f**king them skinny b*****s”.  Her foul language and distasteful performances have absolutely no constructive effect on either a conversation about race, racial discrimination or ‘black feminism’.  If anything, Minaj has only further perpetuated the angry black woman stereotype. 

As an artist catering to an audience of mainly teenagers, and as a powerful black female voice, Minaj’s words and actions are politically significant.  Had Minaj indeed been concerned with the well-being and the uplifting of the black community, her words and actions would evidence it.  Her access to an audience so young puts her in a unique position to shape young minds.  She could be promoting positive values and healthy self-esteem to young women, or she could be encouraging academic, artistic pursuits, or excellence.  Minaj instead chooses to tell them to “f**k them skinny b*****s” and do drugs “in the club.”  She is no role model, nor is she an activist for black women or women in general.  Behind the mask of social activism lies only a heedless narcissist who is too emotionally immature to accept defeat.