Nicki Minaj: The Flyest Feminist

By Guest Contributor April Gregory, cross-posted from STATIC

“You Could Be the King But Watch the Queen Conquer:”
Nicki Minaj as a Model of Empowerment for Female and/or Queer Y
outh

“In between the beats, booty shaking, and hedonistic abandon, I have to wonder if there isn’t something inherently unfeminist in supporting a music that repeatedly reduces me to tits and ass and encourages pimping on the regular.” Such is the dilemma of hip hop feminist Joan Morgan, author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost.  Like Morgan, I consider myself to be a fairly ardent feminist.  I also consider myself to be a fairly ardent hip hop fan.  It’s no secret that these two identities, as Morgan points out, are frequently in conflict with one another.

So imagine my utter bewilderment when, in 2009, I heard a woman spitting lyrics as crude and grimy as those coming out of the mouths of male rappers.  Nicki Minaj had flown into my hip hop radar with her mixtape “Beam Me Up, Scotty.”  Its cover art, which features Nicki and her bountiful curves in a skintight, barely there Wonder Woman outfit, was in itself enough to make the feminist in me have a stroke.  Her rhymes provoked equal alarm.  How could I, as a feminist, respect or support a woman who spit quasi-pornographic lines like “Bitches can’t find their man ‘cause I ride it good” (“Itty Bitty Piggy”) and “Maybe it’s time to put this pussy on your sideburns” (“BedRock”) while prancing around in outrageously stripper-esque garb?

To be blunt, Nicki Minaj frightened me.  Her abrasive, slightly schizophrenic tone and unabashed use of misogynistic diction made me uncomfortable.  I could not accept her brazen female sexuality as anything more than a ploy to obtain male attention and furthermore, I felt a little violated by the ease with which she could talk about her body and her sexual exploits.  As an ally of the queer community, I was likewise bothered by Nicki’s claim to be bisexual, which I perceived to be an exploitation of queer identity for the purpose of appealing to heterosexual male fantasies of lesbian and bisexual women.  And, above all, I was horrified by the fact that young girls were idolizing Nicki, especially the fourteen- and fifteen-year-old girls from East Palo Alto that I mentored through a college access program.

Then, on Aug. 27, 2010, my relationship with Nicki Minaj was changed forever.  Kanye West had released “Monster” featuring Nicki, Rick Ross, and Jay-Z on his Twitter page. After a few listens, I was forced to join those who “unanimously decided she had the best verse” on the track. I was particularly struck by the final lines of Nicki’s verse:

Pink wig, thick ass, give ‘em whiplash
I think big, get cash, make ‘em blink fast
Now look at what you just saw
This is what you live for
[Screams] I’m a muthaf-ckin monster!

She beats the boys at their own game through a verse that goes, to borrow a phrase, hard as a motherfucker. In the process, Nicki also affirms herself, from her unique sense of style to her entrepreneurial aspirations. Her assertion that “This is what you live for” situates Nicki in a position of power, wherein listeners beg for the sustenance her rhymes provide.

It is this same notion of power – as well as empowerment – that catalyzed my reevaluation of Nicki Minaj. I began to question the social constructions of womanhood as well as the hegemony within certain tracks of feminist thought that caused my discomfort with Nicki. What’s more, I realized that I wasn’t cool with Nicki speaking so openly about her body and sexuality not because it constituted a violation of my feminism, but because the norms of our patriarchal society dictate that women ought not to openly express their sexuality – and I had internalized those norms. Why shouldn’t I be okay with Nicki’s language? The way she dresses? The ideologies she espouses? Considering these questions and others has brought me to the conclusion that ultimately, no one is forcing Nicki Minaj to dress and act like a coquettish Barbie. Everything she does is of her own volition, and she is not submissive to patriarchy. Rather, Nicki takes patriarchal notions of femininity and womanhood, reclaims them, and makes them work for her. In doing so, she reverses the paradigm of female inferiority and submissiveness and creates a model of empowerment for those who look up to her.

As is the case with all hip hop artists, Nicki’s core fan base is comprised of youth. While I was once appalled by the idea that young people could be looking up to Nicki as a role model, my newfound respect for her has given me a different perspective. Nicki Minaj’s massive success and popularity presents us with a unique opportunity to rework our definition of a role model toward one that isn’t focused on what adults deem worthy of admiration, but rather is geared toward finding positivity and worth in what youth are drawn to. In other words, we ought to work toward meeting and validating youth where they are instead of sermonizing about where they ought to be.

Here are 6 reasons why Nicki Minaj provides a space for youth, specifically young women and queer youth, to feel represented in the overwhelmingly sexist and homophobic domain of hip hop:

1) “I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing it for them:”
She’s a role model.

Declared by some to be “the most interesting, relevant female rapper in the last ten to fifteen years,” Nicki Minaj has achieved an astronomical level of fame. Last October, Nicki was on seven different singles in the Hot 100 at one time. But as a female artist in a male-dominated industry, Nicki remains acutely aware of the expectations that come with defying the odds. In the MTV-produced documentary My Time Now, which was filmed before the release of Pink Friday, Nicki emphasizes the pressure she feels as a result of her success:

“I don’t have anything else to fall back on. […] I’ve been told forever that you’re not gonna sell. No one’s gonna get you. Don’t sound too smart. You can only be a part of a crew. And I just know there are so many women who get told these things every day. I used to think this was all about me. But I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing it for them.”

By relating her personal struggle with transcending sexist attitudes to that of young women who are limited by and underestimated because of their gender, Nicki positions herself as a representative of these young women in the male-dominated hip hop world. “Why isn’t there a female rapper turned mogul?” she asks. Dissatisfied with the status quo and determined to prove all the haters wrong, Nicki declares, “I want to be the first woman to do it, and I will be.” Given the lack of female competition in the current hip hop climate, it appears that Nicki’s confidence is not at all unjustified. As she declares on “Itty Bitty Piggy,” “I’m the baddest in the school, the baddest in the game; excuse me honey, but nobody’s in my lane.”

2) “It’s Barbie, bitch:”
She challenges Eurocentric beauty standards.

“I got a lot to say about Miss Barbie,” declares Alexis, a fifteen-year-old from East Palo Alto, when I ask her what she thinks of Nicki Minaj. I’ve known Alexis for almost two years now, long enough to know that she loves hip hop and doesn’t love “fake” people, especially not fake girls. So it came as no surprise to me that Miss Alexis has some issues with Miss Barbie. “Everything about her is fake,” Alexis continues. “I mean, her personality is cool, but then again, she’s phony. She thinks she’s all that, she’s self-centered. She’s just so fake! Fake hair, fake boobs, fake butt. I mean, how she be callin’ herself Barbie, it’s like, sorry, you’re not a Barbie, no one in this world is a Barbie!” Alexis raises a valid point: if Nicki is really all about female empowerment, then why is she performing an identity that has been oppressing women, especially women of color, for decades?

However, where Alexis and others may see fakeness, I see a clever subversion of Eurocentric standards of beauty. Adopting a Barbie persona is not a new phenomenon among female MCs (see Lil Kim’s “How Many Licks”), but the way in which Nicki has so thoroughly crafted her Barbie image is unprecedented. Nicki doesn’t just act like a Barbie in her performances and in her songs – she also claims to be Barbie through one of her many alter egos. The Barbie motif is carried through every aspect of her performance identity: the cover art for the aptly named Pink Friday features an armless Nicki staring quizzically at the camera, with her digitally altered, plastic-looking legs sprawling before her.

Yet there are key differences between the blonde, vacuous, dysmorphic Barbie I played with as a little girl and Minaj. In terms of physical appearance, her body itself is far from Barbie-like – Nicki proudly describes herself as “thick,” an attribute that Eurocentric standards of beauty deem undesirable. In addition, the fact that Nicki is a black woman also stands in opposition to Barbie’s Anglo features that essentially define white beauty ideals. Furthermore, Nicki’s “bad bitch” attitude is directly opposed to the notions of passivity and powerlessness represented by the one-dimensional, Ken-dependent Barbie. Nicki’s overall self-presentation it thus nowhere near that of the traditional Barbie archetype.

It is this incongruence between Nicki’s Barbie and the Barbie I played with as a child that results in a subversion of Eurocentric standards of beauty. Nicki reinterprets and reclaims Barbie, and in doing so, empowers young women who, like Alexis, know that “no one in this world is a Barbie.” In other words, Nicki provides an alternative mode of being Barbie, one in which female deference and Eurocentric standards of beauty are firmly rejected. “It’s Barbie, bitch, you can join the wave.” (“Roger That”)

3) “Roman! You’ve gone mad, mad, I tell you, mad!”:
She empowers queer youth.

The foil to Nicki’s Barbie is Roman Zolanski, an alter ego that, though less frequently channeled than Barbie, has become an infamous trademark of Nicki’s unconventional, almost schizophrenic rapping style. According to Nicki, “Roman is a crazy boy who lives in me. He says the things that I don’t want to say …  People have conjured him up, now he won’t leave.” Because Nicki defers to a male alter ego in order to say the things she feels she cannot, it may appear that Roman is a recursive figure. His function – granting Nicki the ability to make some rather fiery statements – could be interpreted as recreating patriarchal norms of female submission to and dependence on male power.

“Roman’s Revenge,” which is arguably one of Nicki’s most confrontational and hostile songs, is a prime example of the way Nicki uses Roman to say things she would not ordinarily. However, Nicki revealed in an interview on Lopez Tonight that Roman is “a gay boy,” which greatly complicates the purpose he serves. I argue that Nicki’s dependence on an imagined queer youth to “say what [she] can’t say” empowers actual queer youth and places them in a position of authority. Given the marginalized status of LGBT youth in society, Nicki’s use of a young homosexual alter ego as a vehicle for honest expression serves a counterhegemonic purpose. Nicki, through Roman, reverses the traditional power structure in which heterosexual norms prevail. Consequently, she challenges heteronormativity by portraying queer youth as authoritative rather than marginal and provides a model of empowerment for these youth.

4) “I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin:”
She promotes gender equality.

As illustrated by her Barbie and Roman alter egos, Minaj’s hip hop persona takes on both female and male characteristics. One of Nicki’s most common lyrical tropes is ascribing masculine identities to herself in favor of traditionally female characteristics. Consequently, she challenges hegemonic notions of gender and power by endowing herself with the privilege that men are granted by virtue of being male in a patriarchal society.

However, Nicki didn’t always subscribe to the feminist agenda she currently maintains. Nicki, who was discovered by Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter, used to present herself as “Nicki Lewinsky” to Wayne’s “President Carter.” She has since largely abandoned that persona and today positions herself as an equal to the male artists who dominate hip hop. In reference to the line “I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin” from “Roman’s Revenge,” she told Rolling Stone,

“I have the same power as these boys…I have the same magic carpet. There’s nothing different between me and them except they have a twig and berries, and I don’t. I no longer feel lesser than; I don’t want my girls to feel that way. I want them to feel that, even if you have a nine-to-five, if you grow up to be vice president of the company, you should earn the same thing the male vice president earned. You should demand the same thing.”

Again, Nicki connects her own sense of female power to her young female audience and consequently creates a model of empowerment for them. It is thus evident that Nicki’s navigation of both male and female spaces is, at least in part, meant to encourage young women who might otherwise feel marginalized by their gender to “demand the same thing” as their male counterparts. Given the massive popularity of Nicki Minaj amongst a diverse array of hip hop fans, her feminist agenda has the potential to permanently alter the male-dominated fabric of hip hop and create a new space where women are perceived as equals rather than objects.

5) “I never let a D-boy boink for free:”
She’s sex-positive.

The models of empowerment Minaj creates for young women and queer youth come together in the way she portrays her sexuality. While her provocative rhymes and less than modest manner of dress could be interpreted as an appeal to the sexual desires of heterosexual men, a closer look at her lyrics reveals that Nicki is in total control of her sexuality and never surrenders her sexual agency. For one, Nicki’s more recent lyrical content is fairly ambivalent toward sex. On “Monster” Nicki recognizes that her sex appeal causes men to be “so one track-minded,” but in reality, she “don’t give an F-U-C-K” about them.

When Nicki does decide to talk sex, she does so in a way that never places her a subordinate position. She’ll “never let a D-boy boink for free,” and when she does “boink,” it is her partner who will be left at Nicki’s beckon call: “He say, ‘Nicki don’t stop, you the bestest!’ / And I just be comin’ off the top, asbestos.” In this way, Nicki further expands her model of empowerment into the realm of sexuality by asserting that women have as much, if not more, sexual power than men.

Furthermore, while Nicki does not openly identify as queer, her lyrics indicate a sense of the fluidity of sexual orientation, which can be viewed as contributing to her empowerment of queer youth. For instance, in “Monster” Nicki coyly propositions Kanye and his former girlfriend, Amber Rose: “Besides ‘Ye, they can’t stand besides me / I think me, you, and Am should ménage (Minaj) Friday.” In Usher’s “Lil Freak,” Nicki devotes an entire verse to her fluid sexuality:

Excuse me little mama but you could say I’m on duty
I’m lookin’ for a cutie, a real big ol’ ghetto booty
I really like your kitty cat and if you let me touch her
I know you’re not a bluffer, I’ll take you to go see Usher
I keep a couple hoes, like Santa I keep a vixen
Got that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Dixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen
I’m hotter than a hundred degrees
A lot of bread, no sesame seeds
If I’m in your city I’m signin’ them tiggobitties
I’m plottin’ on how I can take Cassie away from Diddy
Girls wanna ménage (Minaj)
Yeah they wetter than rainin’
Usher, boost me in – everybody loves Raymond!

The fact that Nicki even acknowledges homosexuality in her rhymes is a source of empowerment for queer youth given the overwhelmingly homophobic discourse in hip hop. While some may argue that Nicki’s references to sexual encounters with women are merely an appeal to heterosexual male fantasies – especially within the context of a ménage e trois – it is important to keep in mind that, as is the case with her references to heterosexual encounters, Nicki maintains agency and control. She does not express her desire for women at the behest of or in order to please men. Nicki therefore challenges both the conventions of heteronormativity, by engaging a fluid sense of sexuality, and patriarchy, by portraying herself as sexually dominant. As a result, she promotes a view of sexuality that empowers queer and/or female youth through its endorsement of what patriarchal, hegemonic notions of sexuality deem marginal or deviant.

6) “I’m a bad bitch:”
She “flips the script” on sexist language.

Like all rap artists, Minaj is not without (abundant) contradiction. One of the most difficult to reconcile aspects of her hip hop persona is her use of misogynist language. Nicki frequently refers to herself as “a bad bitch” and even goes so far as to call herself a “cunt” in “Roman’s Revenge” – the very same song in which she spits that dope line of female empowerment, “I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin.”

Nicki is in the business of reclamation, and accordingly, she is reclaiming “bitch.” In My Time Now, Nicki expresses her dissatisfaction with the current state of the word. “When I am assertive, I’m a bitch,” Nicki observes. “When a man is assertive, he’s a boss. He’s bossed up. No negative connotation behind ‘bossed up’ but lots of negative connotation behind being a bitch.” Nicki seeks to shift that negative connotation to positive by using “bitch” in empowering contexts and reclaiming it as the female equivalent of the male “boss.” Hence, when Nicki chants “I’m a bad bitch, I’m a I’m a bad bitch” at the end of “Itty Bitty Piggy,” she is reaffirming her power and prowess as a female MC and subverting established, misogynistic notions of the term “bitch.”

Through her reclamation of misogynistic language, Nicki encourages young women to “flip the script” on such language, take ownership of it, and reverse its oppressive connotations. While we might not want to encourage girls to refer themselves as bitches on the regular, the idea of depriving sexist language of its power is valuable regardless of what a young woman wants to call herself.

“Excuse me, honey, but nobody’s in my lane:”
Some Final Thoughts

It’s easy to, as I once did, dismiss Nicki as “fake” and antifeminist or to view her eccentricities as ploys for fame and attention. But in doing so, we alienate the youth who love her, especially those who are arguably the most marginalized in hip hop – female and queer youth. Consequently, failing to see past a one-dimensional characterization of Nicki Minaj is counterproductive to the broader task of making hip hop a safer space for the queer community and women. The reality is that there is no one like Nicki in mainstream hip hop right now, and therefore there are no other voices of female and queer empowerment quite like hers on the airwaves. Let’s challenge ourselves to embrace the bedazzled corsets and bright pink lipstick and consider how Miss Barbie is redefining the female MC in new and empowering ways.

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  • Blacktraveler

    I think that some of these ideas of subtle feminist symbolism through NM’s alter egos can definitely have some merit to them. However, if this is all 100%  true, than I think NM should own it so that she wont be misleading her fans into thinking that looking like Barbie is something desirable, or that you should say you are bisexual to be in line with something seen as a “trend”. The author, and most people that have studied gender dynamics at the college level get it, but the tons of fans out there that do not understand, or have studied sociology/gender studies/etc. unfortunately are not getting this “true” message. 

  • http://blackonpurpose.blogspot.com/ gryph

    i don’t think that feminism has a monopoly on women’s `subversion’. so i don’t think nicki’s a ‘feminist’ because some of her positions might overlap with the views that some feminists might have. she to my knowledge never claimed feminism. and not all feminists are into queerness or sex-positivity for that matter. yet, nicki is subversive in some very potent ways, but – like most card-carrying feminists – is careful to leave space for security and self-advancement in a world ‘run by men’. 
    she’s show that pound for pound she’s ‘good enough’.  as great as those the lytes, lauryn’s and latifah’s were, they didn’t have legions of male emcees copying them stylistically. xerox. and nicki i think is the only female emcee to completely out-class two of the games’ best rappers – jay-z and kanye – on a major record.  
    let’s go back to that world run by men. this is not to deny male hegemony or its evils. yet, some of nicki’s antics beg the question: why is it that women – who buy a disproportionate amount of the ‘cds’ – didn’t support their sister when she was a relatively plain, ’round the way girl who just happened to be a solid emcee? where was all the concern and support then? most hardly cared at all. so what’s she supposed to do with that lack of support? she went to the madonna/rihanna/gaga/spears script. and, by being so obviously affected – and inflated – mocks that script, even as she profits from it. can’t wrong. how many ‘feminists’ have done better?at some point, someone will appreciate that pop artists court-controversy or otherwise button-push BECAUSE it gets them noticed.  it also gets them free publicity as ‘social commentators’ critique them ad nausem. all the while, there’s the next nicki minaj sitting somewhere in obscurity-ville deciding what direction she wants to take her career in. might you find her and devote as much attention to her as you do your fussing over what nicki minaj is or isnt doing? that’s not how the script typically plays out.  what’s also funny about this is despite the hand-wringing and hyper-analysis, so much is missed or read solely through available tropes. i didn’t watch the grammy’s. but when i heard that nicki went as inexplicably angry gay boy roman – who’s appropriated the name of a pedophile film-maker-  who had the pope as ‘his’ date, i’m thinking that there something very powerful there is something about the cyclical and institutional nature of sexual abuse.  in bashing and questioning nicki minaj, i’ve yet to see anyone talk about that fair reading; how we as an audience, might convince a notable talent that her real self and skills will be appreciated or that other female rap artists will be noticed and supported by other women.  it is no wonder then that so many of them fall to a sort of two-faced defeatism.  it’s just hip-hop. 

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NDBT3DPOYVCFUBXBQGAGZOJTF4 Brittany

    Nicki Minaj is BISEXUAL. She is not an interloper in the queer community, she is a part of it. I am so sick of bisexual women, both celebrities like Minaj and Lady Gaga (among dozens of others) as well as ordinary bi women, getting dismissed as fake or not legitimately LGBT or just putting on a show for men. I know in Minaj’s case she’s used the kind of oblique language* that neither confirms or denies it, which just allows people to project onto her whatever makes them feel more comfortable. But feeling like you’re not allowed to claim the label bi even when it describes your desires, or that you’re not bi enough because you haven’t had sex with enough women, always standing in the doorway of the closet and deflecting when asked about your neither-here-nor-there sexual orientation fluidity…that’s like the quintessential bisexual experience. Me and every other bi woman I know has felt that way, and that struggle never ends. People always want to say you’re straight and faking, or lesbian and faking, based on who you are or aren’t with at the time. A lot of times you just don’t want to talk about it so you give non-answers and let people assume what they will. I imagine the pressure is even worse if you’re a celebrity and especially a rapper.

    (See here: 
    http://www.details.com/celebrities-entertainment/music-and-books/201005/hip-hop-artist-nicki-minaj and here 
    http://theybf.com/2010/09/20/nicki-minaj-talks-bisexuality-celibacy-laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank-with-complex-mag for example.)

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinaManch Christina Fonthes

    I totally retract the comment I made earlier. After spending time with my 10 yr old, dark-skinned sister I simply can’t “rate” Niki. I do not want my sister having that as a role model. Queer empowerment, really not sure about that she doesn’t even identify as LGBT , at least not in the public. Feminist, we cannot reclaim Barbie as she is not ours to reclaim (just like with the N word). Her body is curvy, but so what? She is shaped like a ‘normal’ woman, or what society says a woman she be shaped like. She has nothing to say, her lyrics are empty, yes she can rhyme but what is she actually saying? Nothing, so what message is passing on? Seriously this has made me realise anyone can formulate an essay and back it up with evidence to prove their point but it is important to remain critical. I totally respect the amount of time and research that into this essay BUT if you had a queer daughter/sister would you point them to Niki Minaj? Seriously? Also I read the comments that Lil Wayne made about dark skinned girls http://theurbandaily.com/Rumors/shamika-sanders/lil-wayne-disrespects-woman/ IF Niki Minaj is a part of that then she is promoting that view. My sister and I have different fathers so I am a lot lighter; i remember her telling me at about 5 years old that she wishes she was light like me, till this day I still have no words to pass onto her. The last thing we need is Niki painting the image of success as light skinned with a straight nose and big booty. Thank you for comment Diamonddame, I will be investing in some Queen Latifah and DC.

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  • Sulagna

    This is…hard. I don’t think I can declare Nicki as feminist, even though I want to. And I wonder why I want to? It’s because she’s this great fountain of female bravado that can be really lacking in the public pop culture sphere. I say this as someone who doesn’t listen to music very much, and prefers the beat over the lyrics half the time, but who does listen to a lot of different music. 

    I like music with a good beat…and egotistic lyrics. Like, the ones which you sing to yourself and rock out to and play when you’re working out or just plain working hard. And I really like it when it’s a woman. I think I like it more, to be honest — I’m not sure why, but I do. 

    Florence + the Machine, Girls Aloud, Santigold, Robyn, Pink, Kate Nash, Adele — they all have a good amount of “I’m great, you not so much,” “I have badass curves / pink hair / weird-itude and you don’t,” and “Shut up, dummy,” and “I know what I want, exactly what I want (just like that),” and “But — HAH! — you can’t give it to me.”

    Nicki has that too. Even if she can be problematic, and worrying in how she flip-flops in her image — hooray for the menage Minaj, but no to the faux bisexuality — she has that fierceness which is so, so addicting as a young woman. 

    And all the women I mentioned can have some problems in their music, though in varying degrees. Certainly Florence, as mentioned on this blog; the Girls Aloud…eh, they do a lot of covers; Robyn’s girlfriend hate; Pink’s “Stupid Girls,” Kate Nash’s alcoholic references, Adele’s love/hate, revenge/take me back themes — but I like it. Sometimes I know something is problematic, but in music, it works because the emotion is there, even if the sense isn’t. 

    So while Nicki Minaj has yet to earn the title of feminist — I think listening to her, with the knowledge of WHAT you’re listening to — can be a feminist act in a sense.

  • Gem


    Maybe, god forbid, we should allow their to be space for black women in popular culture who do not exist solely to hoist the struggles of the black community onto their backs. There’s  space for both recognizing how problematic something is and recognizing the meaning it has for people.”

    absolutely this!! well said!!

  • Sschneider1

     Well, you are right as to saying there should also be a space for Black women within the Hip Hop industry who do not have the ‘burden’ to engage in uplift politics combined with music. I agree. However, don’t nobody call Nicki Minaj a (Black) feminist then. Cuz she is not, and obviously doesn’t choose to be one. But then she doesn’t deserve to be described in terms of an empowered feminist subverting existing dominant racial and gender hierarchies. Cuz that’s def not on her agenda

  • Anonymous

    I’m 33 years old. I was around when rap first hit the scene. My family had the 8 tracks and 12 inch vinyl of original arist who gave birth to Rap/ Hip Hop. So that ish you young people have conveniently slapped the label ‘rap’ or ‘hip hop’  on now days can’t hold a candle to the master-pieces of yester-year. Now, that I’ve got that out the way. 

    I’ve served my country honorably for 10 years in the U.S. Navy; and I’ve have had to represent black women in some of the most farthest reaches of the world, carrying myself with class, dignity and respect; while still finding that happy medium between classy and sexy, vs. sexy and trashy. And I feel that this is a medium that many young women of today have failed to achieve; because many young women (mainly African American young women) are under the false impression that in order to ‘make it’ in the industry, she must provide the visual ‘girlfriend exprience’ to the world, in order to be taken seriously. Nicki, Lil Kim, Foxy, Trina, Kerry Hilson, and Adina Howard to name a few are a prime example of the double-conciousness that black people (black women) suffer from when dealing with main stream media the exploitation of hyper-sexuality and black women. When our women ‘make it’ big, we come out the gate looking like sluts, hoe’s, and prostitutes; rapping about juggling ‘nut sacks’ and riding a D!ck in exchange for financial gain. But when white women break into the main stream is all white lilies, long flowing locks, acoustic guitars with the girl next door image. 

    We’re the only ethnicity of people in the media who’ve yet to understand that the images we see or ourselves in the media are being perpetrated by the fact that we’ve yet to see ourselves any different. We’ve allowed the record labels and media moguls to tell us what being ‘black’ is, and in most cases that means projecting the negative stereotypes of what we see in our community (slutty women, gansta “thugs” who’re in most cases down low, drug dealers, pimps, and hoes). 

    To me personally, as someone who has as deep appreciation for ‘old sckool’ Hip Hop and R&B when I think of women who represented all women, I think of Queen Latifia, My Lyte, Monie Love, Yo Yo, SWV, BrownStone, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Roxanne, the late Whitney Houston, Pati Labelle and Anita Baker; even Da Brat to some extremes. Because we’ve never seen these women use sex as a means of becoming recognized while giving int0 the negative projection of their feminine assets. These are dignified women who where recognized for their lyrics, talent, and business smarts, not their ass and tits. 

    This is not including the female rap/hip hop artist who never crossed over to main stream due to a lack of recognition and/or financial support.  There’s a rapper named Chyna who’s sick with her lyrics! And if she’d ever had the chance to go head on with Nicki, I assure you, Nicki would blink her eye’s rapidly, sit her tired ass down and shut the hell up. 

    A lot of young women of today aren’t aware of the real talent we as creative people have, because they’re too busy trying to fit the model that’s been casted of black women by society (fat ass, long weaves, fake nails, extended eyelashes and loads of make up). And our black men don’t make it any better, because they join in with the exploitation as a means of boosting their record sales. We’ve replaced the auction blocks of slavery with the CD’s on the shelves of Wal Mart. 

    There ‘s a plethora of young, inspiring, talented female rap artist (undiscovered) who’d blow anything Nicki has ever done out the water. You guys only hype her up because she’s all most f you know when it comes to women in the industry. And coming from someone who’s been around for a hot minute (DJ’s part time) and has been to parts of the world that most of you only see on T.V.; rapid eye blinking, ass-out costumes, and calling other black women nappy headed does not constitute talent! Much less a representation of feminist empowerment and black femininity. And as a black woman in the industry, it sure in the hell doesn’t speak for me!! 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/2T6UT6PBZVP6BW273MJBKUQS6E Lakisha

      Preach!!!

  • Alex

     I think a deep analysis of her lyrics is neccessary to get to exactly what Nikki Minaj says in her lyrics.

    Some people have done that, such as with this Youtube video about her lyrics:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-wDFM5I2Y4&feature=youtu.be

  • esa

    I love lots of people who are reactionary, regressive ideologues. I appreciate messages that call me out for falling into pathological discourse. I am flawed, damaged, hurt. When I see that in others, I move towards it, even though it only serves to reinforce my pain.

    I do not think that my attraction is a bad thing, but I also do not try to justify it either. I accept myself as I am, with all the inherent contradictions that come with life experience.

    Here’s the thing, for me, anyway. Is feminism open to accepting the ways in which we self sabotage ? Does feminism allow us to feel an intense attraction to the things that hurt us? Or does feminism demand that we fill the archetype of the Perfectly Liberated Woman (and if so, what is that, who defines it, and who controls it) ?

    I don’t like Nikki. I don’t hate her either. She has turned herself into a product, self exploitation at its finest. Same for Gaga. I see no difference between them. What they reveal is the way in which the dominant narrative is so slippery, it’s can be turned into anything we want it to mean.

    But .. what it really means will be revealed by the new generation of boys and girls growing up with this image, the ways in which they take her as a reflection of Self and of Women. In the interim, I continue to question, does feminism allow us to love what is distorted in ourselves ..

    • Anonymous

      But we’re already seeing that! We’re seeing the young women walk around with pink wigs, rapper her lyrics and pretty much assuming that modeling themselves after Nicki will get them a record deal of will assist them with finding love from a future mate. Trust me, as I DJ I see it all. And nothing about this woman represents positivity. 

      • Anonymous

        The emulation can be a disturbing sight. For instance, I have a friend I’ve known since I was a baby. I could remember what she looked like back in middle school. Beautiful brown skinned girl with some thickness. Fast forward about nine years and she’s wearing a blonde weave, blue contacts and weighs about 110 pounds at 5’4″/5’5″. Those changes did not occur within a vacuum and although she can do whatever she wants with her body I don’t think she would have made those changes if our society wasn’t the way it is.

  • Ouijella

    While reading this article I thought of Audre Lorde’s essay The Master’s Tools. I understand what Nicki what like to see happen as a result of her music, And I get that some feminist do want to make her a hero but the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Nicki continued use of misogynistic words and images only serves to reinforce what she is hoping to challenge and break down. I’d like to see her create her own language; come up with some other “tools” to dismantle the master’s house.

  • http://twitter.com/sistrenista ShauneeV

    It’s interesting to me that when there are ACTUAL feminist/womanist-identified women doing the work of challenging patriarchal structures, there’s still this need to ascribe feminist identity to celebrity women who at times may use feminist language as a commodity.  As a student of feminist history and a casual observer of the nicki minaj phenomenon, I think her rise and her image have more to do with their capitalism/patriarchal supported vision of black femininity/sexuality, rather than any kind of subversive plot on her part.

  • http://twitter.com/SonofBaldwin Son of Baldwin

    The author loses me at observation #2.
    For me, it’s an unbelievable stretch of the imagination to think that
    Nicki Minaj is actually subverting Eurocentric standards of beauty given
    the fact that she a. wears blond, straight-haired wigs; b. wears blue
    contact lenses; c. is skin lightened in every appearance; d. puts on a
    fake Anglo accent; and e. uses a pedophile rapist white man as the
    inspiration for her popular alias.
    From my view, Nicki Minaj is, in fact, attempting to erase whatever
    Afrocentric attributes and features she has (at least, those that could
    be erased without surgery) and replace them with Eurocentric ones. And
    if history is any indication, surgery is inevitable. Although,
    none of this really changes the fact that Nicki Minaj can be viewed as a
    feminist figure. Feminism, after all, has always done a marvelous job
    of erasing black women.
     

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SDK3JSHW4YABXPZLBIUNREJ4FM Dr. Boogie

    I’m not buying it and will be breaking the down the gaps in this argument soon. We’ve been here before and her name was Lil’ Kim. A common error in non-ethnographic assessments of an artist is often confusing marking and promotion with actual agency and empowerment. Chilling….until the next episode….

  • Bmichelle Inc

    What a sorry day in hip hop and feminism. In actuality all the things that Nicki was praised for in this article Lil’ Kim already did. Lil Kim challenged gender roles at a time when hip hop only sexually objectified women for the pleasure of men. Lil Kim a girl from Queens, said that sex was a pleasure for her, and reversed that role of power from a man to a woman. Furthermore, I find it disgusting that a woman like Nicki would take Lil’ Kim’s formula then as soon as she gets popular, use her popularity to tear Kim down. Kim wasn’t even rapping at the time of the attack.. But Patriarchy loves to see women divided and fighting. It takes the attention off of equality for women.

  • DorianGray

    Absolutely, positively brilliant!

  • Medusa

    I have to say I’m on the “Nicki Minaj is not a feminist” train. Most of the points that you highlight to demonstrate her completely invalid to me.  When you state “t I wasn’t cool with Nicki speaking so openly
    about her body and sexuality not because it constituted a violation of
    my feminism, but because the norms of our patriarchal society dictate
    that women ought not to openly express their sexuality – and I had
    internalized those norms. Why shouldn’t I be okay with Nicki’s language?
    The way she dresses?”

    Here’s the thing, the way she dresseds *does* fit patriarchal norms. The way she openly expresses her sexuality *does* fit what people already believe about black women. And although you seem to think she is subverting the white and patriarchal beauty hegemony by saying she is Barbie (when she isn’t white), not unlike Lady Gaga, she is still fitting (at least some) of these norms, and not subverting them in my opinion. It is only a certain type of woman who can subvert these norms. What I’m trying to say is that both of these women fit these norms, their fit some kind of ideal, the flowing straight hair, the blondness, the scant dressing… none of these are subversion. These are submission.

    Also, what everyone else said about her apparent hatred of black femaleness.

  • Anonymous

    I think that Nicki Minaj’s verse on “Monster” is brilliant, and I appreciate that she seems to have no qualms about expressing herself sexually. This particular piece is also well written and carefully argued.  But I don’t really care for most of Nicki’s own music. I also don’t think that she’s really breaking any new artistic ground, and she comes across as a weirder version of Lil Kim. And as other commenters have argued, her sexual image (especially her bisexuality) seems like it’s tailor-made to fit a heterosexual male fantasy of female sexual expression.

  • Yuyu

    [Hook]You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (x3)You a stupid hoe, (yeah) you a, you a stupid hoeYou a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)(stupid, stupid)
    Yes, that’s feminism :/

  • Anonymous

    I respect the points put forth in this essay. And as a man at least somewhat schooled in all kinds of power differentials, I certainly know it is inappropriate for me to use what would amount to my my male privilege in this discourse as a way to attempt to discredit the views expressed in the essay. What I feel comfortable doing however,  is simply putting forth my *opinion* about the whole concept of “reclaiming” oppressive language, in general. I do not believe that which was never ours to begin with and that clearly has its roots in the oppression of us and/or people like us or who look like us can effectively truly be “reclaimed.”  At least I have never witnessed this successfully being accomplished in the 52 years I have been alive, despite all the valiant efforts and muscular claims to the opposite. This is chiefly because while some are going about declaring the reclamation of words like queer, nigger and various misogyny based words, others continue to use the same words with their original oppressive energy and power fully in tact , effectively nullifying or at least putting forth a formidable challenge to the whole “reclaiming” argument, IMO.

  • JKS42

    Seems to me like Chrissy M. Etienne hit the proverbial nail on the head: Feminist women feel guilty for liking Nicki Minaj, so they bend through all sorts of ideological and intellectual loops to justify singing along with her. I think it’s a huge stretch to call her work feminist, even if she is all about woman power.

     Maybe part of the issue is conflicting feminist goals. If Minaj truly wants to be the first female mogul, she has to gain money and popularity. The easiest way for a woman to do that in today’s world is to use outrageous sex appeal, which to me, is not feminist. Being perfectly in line with feminist ideology probably wouldn’t get her too far.

    Also, I totally agree with Lakisha about her reinforcement of eurocentric standards. The ONLY standard she flouts is being stick-thin, but really, curves (in all the “right” places) are totally acceptable these days, so it’s not like that’s subversive. 

    • Anonymous

       I think Latoya talked about this issue in a past post. Essentially we as feminist, anti-racist individuals enjoy some patriarchal and otherwise problematic material. But that doesn’t excuse the problematic nature of those things which we sometimes find pleasure in. But yeah, there’s no need to falsely label things feminist or progressive when those things are not that in the least.

      I might like the beats and rhythm of some of Nicki’s music but I most certainly will not defend her colorist, racist and misogynistic ass lyrics. I call it as I see it.

      • Anonymous

         That I did.

        I liked April’s argument because of her change in thought process – I don’t agree with all her points, but we also got a lot of pushback to Menda’s piece last year, that argued she was full of feminist contradictions.

        I think that a large part of the problem is trying to tag pop stars with the feminist label.  They may or may not identify and they will frequently contradict whatever you are trying to say based on their whims.  I don’t think Nicki Minaj spends any of her time during her day thinking about if what she’s doing is good for women.   She’s gotta get paid and stay popular.  (Though, to be fair, I hear a lot about her beef with some women artists like Lil’ Kim & Lil’ Mama, and none about her friendships with other women artists, like Trina.)

        In general, my own analysis has moved away from trying to definitively label things/people feminist, but rather look at where they are in context.  If I can ever find the time to finish that post on The People I’ve Slept With,  I’ll expand on this idea.

        But I also think one of the other commenters has the right idea – artists perform and people read into that image what they want to see.  I recall quite a bit of back and forth on Britney Spears in the 90s as t whether she was a tool of the patriarchy or if she was part of subversive, “fun feminist” culture.  It didn’t ultimately matter – as soon as Britney stopped being marketable, the analysis around her came to a halt. (I’d be personally interested in hearing BritBrit’s view on feminism after her widely publicized breakdown, becoming older, being ridiculed for excess weight in her comeback performance and losing control of her finances.) 

        What we choose to see is going to differ.  I’m not going to look at Nicki the way a 17 year old would – I don’t have the same needs for a heroine figure, and the women I idolized then (Scary Spice, TLC, Queen Latifah, Gwen Stefani, even Eve & Trina to some extent) were part of a different era, with a lot more female voices on air.  So while I may not be checking for Nicki, it’s clear that she’s become some kind of beacon to a younger generation, possibly because of the environment she inhabits.

        • JKS42

          I really appreciated the conclusion of your article. I hope I’m not putting words in your mouth, but what I read into that is the importance of meeting people where they are. It doesn’t help anything to yell at teens about how awful their music is. But to engage on their level and have a discussion about the pros and cons of their idols’ messages – that would be awesome. 

        • Renina Cortez

           I have been thinking of writing about both Nicki and Lady Gaga in the context of WHO actually get’s labeled as feminists within pop culture in 2012, who does the naming, and also looking at the possibility and limits of labeling any woman as a feminist who makes her money within pop culture at this particular stage of Capitalism. Shout out to Viola Davis.
          With that being said there is certainly a distinction between a finding spaces of resistance within a woman’s bodies of work, given that the basic definition of feminism that I use with my students is hooks’ “ending the oppression sexist oppression” in which ways does Nicki  or Gaga accomplish or fail to accomplish that.

          Lastly, perhaps we need to start having a conversation about the difference between women being equal to men, and women being FREE.

      • Anonymous

         That I did.

        I liked April’s argument because of her change in thought process – I don’t agree with all her points, but we also got a lot of pushback to Menda’s piece last year, that argued she was full of feminist contradictions.

        I think that a large part of the problem is trying to tag pop stars with the feminist label.  They may or may not identify and they will frequently contradict whatever you are trying to say based on their whims.  I don’t think Nicki Minaj spends any of her time during her day thinking about if what she’s doing is good for women.   She’s gotta get paid and stay popular.  (Though, to be fair, I hear a lot about her beef with some women artists like Lil’ Kim & Lil’ Mama, and none about her friendships with other women artists, like Trina.)

        In general, my own analysis has moved away from trying to definitively label things/people feminist, but rather look at where they are in context.  If I can ever find the time to finish that post on The People I’ve Slept With,  I’ll expand on this idea.

        But I also think one of the other commenters has the right idea – artists perform and people read into that image what they want to see.  I recall quite a bit of back and forth on Britney Spears in the 90s as t whether she was a tool of the patriarchy or if she was part of subversive, “fun feminist” culture.  It didn’t ultimately matter – as soon as Britney stopped being marketable, the analysis around her came to a halt. (I’d be personally interested in hearing BritBrit’s view on feminism after her widely publicized breakdown, becoming older, being ridiculed for excess weight in her comeback performance and losing control of her finances.) 

        What we choose to see is going to differ.  I’m not going to look at Nicki the way a 17 year old would – I don’t have the same needs for a heroine figure, and the women I idolized then (Scary Spice, TLC, Queen Latifah, Gwen Stefani, even Eve & Trina to some extent) were part of a different era, with a lot more female voices on air.  So while I may not be checking for Nicki, it’s clear that she’s become some kind of beacon to a younger generation, possibly because of the environment she inhabits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erikakharada Erika Harada

    I don’t care for Nicki Minaj’s music, or her persona, at all. No shade to those who enjoy her, though…

    I think it’s kind of unwarranted to make her up to be some sort of feminist or progressive icon, really. She’s straight (as she’s mentioned in interviews) and her image and performances are for shock value — something that has started to get tedious ever since Lady Gaga donned a meat dress.
    I also haven’t quite forgiven her for all her Orientalist bullshit (http://www.racialicious.com/2010/11/01/the-orientalism-of-nicki-minaj/) either, so.

  • Keke

    Um…yeah.  I just can’t today.  Can’t.  I grew up in the days when MC Lyte rocked the mic, and Queen Latifah was singing about “U.N.I.T.Y.” so I’m sorry, I can’t look at Nicki Minaj as a symbol of female empowerment.  I was blown when she called out women who had kinky hair.  Where some female rappers have chosen to give voice to political, feminist or racial issues, she avoids them altogether.  I can’t relate to any of the lyrics she spits.  Everyone is allowed to like whoever they choose to musically, but no one can convince me that she is really making feminism chic in the industry.  I enjoy dressing up, but I also understand the cultural constraints that dressing up as woman represents.  She is not challenging this, she is enforcing it.  As far as the “Barbie,” trend, I gave up on Barbies when I realized that none of them looked like any woman I knew and loved.    

  • Rosasparks

    I am the daughter of a schizophrenic. It is not appropriate to consistently use the word, which Nicki does as well, to describe her style. Being stylistically diverse and constantly-changing is one thing, but unless those who use the word as a descriptor of her style know something I don’t, she isn’t schizophrenic and it does a great disservice to strip the importance of the meaning of the word, as it relates to mental illness, when using it to label her work.

  • Kreepyk

    So, “Roman Zolanski” seems like a pretty transparent reference to Roman Polanski.

    You know, the guy who raped a little girl. SUPER feminist!

    • Alexa

      “Yes, my name is Roman, last name is Zolanski/But no relation to Roman Polanski” – from “Stupid Hoe”

  • Chrissy M. Etienne

    Thanks for helping me feel less guilty about love of Nicki!

  • Chrissy M. Etienne

    Thanks for helping me feel less guilty about love of Nicki!

  • Chrissy M. Etienne

    Thanks for helping me feel less guilty about love of Nicki!

    • http://www.facebook.com/erikakharada Erika Harada

      Why do you need to feel guilty about liking her? If you are a fan of an artist, acknowledge that they have flaws…and move on. It’s not like you know them personally.

  • Chrissy M. Etienne

    Thanks for helping me feel less guilty about love of Nicki!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2T6UT6PBZVP6BW273MJBKUQS6E Lakisha

    I just had had to make a comment. This woman
    is no feminist hero. In fact she spreads her bigotry by calling it art.

    She does not challenge eurocentric standards. She
    reinforces them. She wears a blond wig, blue contacts and  has had plastic surgery. Have you guys seen
    the old Youtube videos before the “enhancements?”

    Not
    only that, she went totally Don Imus on Black women. On
    her song”Did it on Em’” she said, “these
    Lil Nappy Headed Hoes Need A Perminator.”On “Stupid Hoe” which is repeated by
    millions daily and has millions of hits on Youtube she said “yall nappy headed hos but my kitchen good” meaning
    she has and is elevating euro textured tresses over afrotextured tresses.

    Regarding
    her sexuality, she pretended to be bisexual to promote her album. When questioned
    about her supposed bisexuality she denied it. I have nothing against the
    expression of sexuality. In fact it is beautiful. However, when I see her
    bigotry go mainstream for instance she was on the Ellen Show gallivanting with
    kids who know her songs word for word “Beam me up Scotty” there is that is a
    problem. If she wants to be known as a female dog, so be it. I would rather be
    a queen.

    If
    a white male had said half the things she said we all would be protesting and
    demanding that he would get fired. In fact there would be articles written by the same folks who call Miss Minaj a feminist. But because this bigotry comes from a so
    called empowered, hip, cool, artsy, brown internalized bigot it seems to be ok
    with others. She is not a role model or feminist icon. She is no different from
    Lil Wayne or any other rapper who has stated his preference for light skin. She
    is no different from her male colleagues because she shares the same
    misogynistic perspective. She is just another rapper with brown skin who
    happens to have a vagina that is doing what most rappers do. She is making
    money by trashing women who bore her, the Black woman. And people wonder why I
    am a Womanist. Too each their own.
    I just had had to make a comment. This woman
    is no feminist hero. In fact she spreads her bigotry by calling it art.

    She does not challenge eurocentric standards. She
    reinforces them. She wears a blond wig, blue contacts and  has had plastic surgery. Have you guys seen
    the old Youtube videos before the “enhancements?”

    Not
    only that, she went totally Don Imus on Black women. On
    her song”Did it on Em’” she said, “these
    Lil Nappy Headed Hoes Need A Perminator.”On “Stupid Hoe” which is repeated by
    millions daily and has millions of hits on Youtube she said “yall nappy headed hos but my kitchen good” meaning
    she has and is elevating euro textured tresses over afrotextured tresses.

    Regarding
    her sexuality, she pretended to be bisexual to promote her album. When questioned
    about her supposed bisexuality she denied it. I have nothing against the
    expression of sexuality. In fact it is beautiful. However, when I see her
    bigotry go mainstream for instance she was on the Ellen Show gallivanting with
    kids who know her songs word for word “Beam me up Scotty” there is that is a
    problem. If she wants to be known as a female dog, so be it. I would rather be
    a queen.

    If
    a white male had said half the things she said we all would be protesting and
    demanding that he would get fired. In fact there would be articles written by the same folks who call Miss Minaj a feminist. But because this bigotry comes from a so
    called empowered, hip, cool, artsy, brown internalized bigot it seems to be ok
    with others. She is not a role model or feminist icon. She is no different from
    Lil Wayne or any other rapper who has stated his preference for light skin. She
    is no different from her male colleagues because she shares the same
    misogynistic perspective. She is just another rapper with brown skin who
    happens to have a vagina that is doing what most rappers do. She is making
    money by trashing women who bore her, the Black woman. And people wonder why I
    am a Womanist. Too each their own.

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

       I agree with every word you said, Lakisha! Well said.

      • Jason

         Ditto. Well said.

    • michele

       thx Lakisha, you give me faith.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/2T6UT6PBZVP6BW273MJBKUQS6E Lakisha

        Thanks all.

    • Devona

      Wow, Lakisha. I was going to make a comment but you took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Alex

       I agree with you Lakisha.

      I was disturbed by her flaunting images of pedophilia at the Grammy Awards. (There were kneeling praying altar boys on the stage with dancing women’s crotches in their face.)

      (I quickly turned the channel because I felt assaulted by what I was seeing. It made me think about adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse by religious leaders. )

      My 16 year old god-daughter was so frightened by what she saw of Nikki’s performance after the Whitney tribute that she was screaming and crying and had to be consoled by her mother and myself.

       She decided she is no longer into Nikki Minaj’s music and was unsettled by what she saw. She used the word evil to describe what she saw and she used to be a Nikki Minaj fan.

      Nikki Minaj doesn’t even own her own image. The entertainment industry heads own Nikki Minaj. I don’t see a free and empowered woman, but a woman thats owned by the Hollywood machine.

    • Keith

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, in fact I have tried on this very site and got blasted for it by a few misguided posters.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinaManch Christina Fonthes

    This article has just made my day! I agree with everything you say. My partner and I (both WOC and queer) constantly try and theorize Nicki, we came to the conclusion that she does not represent women and that her whole persona and ’wackniness’ comes from her creative team. We believe that as a woman of colour in the mainstream she is being exploited and actually has no control. Your article has just proved why this “theory” is wrong. As women we are taught to hate other woman and be suspicious of anything that is different. I think it’s important to understand where this comes from;  the fact that neither me nor my partner support and respect her as a WOC in a an extremely male  dominated, homophobic and misogynist industry is very telling of the misogyny and that is inherent in us. Thank you for sharing this amazing article.

  • Logophila

    *beck* and call, not beckon call. Other than that, damn yeah. She confused the hell out of me too when I first encountered her, but I’m a believer now.

  • itsdebatable

    Hmm, you have an interesting perspective on Minaj. And while I disagree with many of your insights, I have to admit that I haven’t put much thought into her music and stamp on the culture. I personally don’t find her as incredible lyricist that she is made out to be, mediocre at best. I think I can’t come around to her for the same reason that I am not a fan of Lady Gaga (yes, I know of the “rivalry” between the two, but I think that is just hype), and its because to me its just spectacle. I don’t find much of substance in the music she makes, which is fine, seeing as I like a whole lot of empty, poppy music. But for me, I am not entertained and I have a hard time seeing her appeal, though I’ve tried.
    The biggest point I would disagree with is that she is turning anything on its head though, she is doing what the most mainstream and famous female rappers have done for ages- rapping about her sexual prowess.