I pitched this in January, finally had it cleared in late February, turned it in early March, and found out yesterday (mid-April, my birthday) that it wasn’t running. I’ll likely explain later but in sum: I like this article, it should’ve ran. I knew Nicki would be a focal point of discussion several months ago, it’s unfortunate things didn’t pan out as planned. But somebody’s reading this, darn it.
Check it out below, please leave your thoughts.
Oh, and if you’re tired me talking about Nicki, fret not: You’re not obligated to read it.
Continue on to the piece below:
“What’s So Bad About Nicki Minaj?”
In terms of pop cultural relevance, female rappers have gone the way of a Furby doll.
In fairness, there have been some that have enjoyed success but it’s been several years since any new female emcee has reached a level of popularity to rival that of Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, or Salt ‘n Pepa.
That is, until 25-year-old Nicki Minaj, née Onika Maraj, managed to use YouTube, mixtapes, and a Barbie-based imaged to build a following so large that she’s now on the tip of everyone’s tongue – all before the release of a debut album.
She’s only now premiering her first solo video, yet her image has everyone talking, only the sentiments conveyed about it vary.
The rift stems in disagreement over how Minaj has molded herself and those who draw inspiration from it.
Nicki Minaj refers to her fans as “Harajuki Barbies.” The term is a mesh of references to the Harajuki culture in Japan and the classic American staple, the Barbie doll.
Like Minaj herself, fans play dress up, wear pink hair and make up, and call each other a bunch of silly names and terms not even a fan-made “Nictionary” can help me understand completely.
But what I do know is that an increasing number of young people take to it – so much that the adoration is visible both online and in person. Indeed, many fans of Minaj emulate her style of dress, her hair, her mannerisms, and yes, her ever-fluid accent.
The copycatting has led to discussions about the marketing savvy of Nicki Minaj, and in some cases the ridiculing of those falling victim to it.
When asked about the movement she’s started in a past interview, Nicki quipped: “My movement right now is based on all of the girls in the world – no matter what their race or age is – coming together and having fun.”
She sounds like the Cyndi Lauper of rap, yet to some she’s nothing more than another blond hair, blue eyed envying black woman using sex to sell herself and damaging impressionable youth in the process.
Apparently Nicki yields more leverage than a grade school teacher or college professor – making your little sister, niece, daughter, and possibly your male cousin dumber with every new bar.
On the site, “The Fresh Express,” one writer denounced the rapper saying: “Nicki Minaj has turned a legion of black women, both young and old, into babbling, fake British accent using, gregarious weave wearing, teenage mutant Barbie wannabes.”
Her far less popular contemporaries have also taken issue with her shtick.
When asked about Minaj, Chicago rapper Kid Sister told an interviewer, “My thing is do people take her seriously?” This from a person whose introduction to hip-hop was a single that included the line, “got her toe nails done and her fingernails matching” in the hook.
Rapper Lil’ Mama claimed Minaj’s imagery was “disrespectful” for black women. If there’s one thing Lil’ Mama knows about, it’s respect. Just ask Jay-Z.
And a Baltimore rapper by the name of Keys recently fired verbal gunshots – literally – in Nicki Minaj’s direction. With her disses honing in a hooder than thou narrative, it’s easy to leave her and her grips on the project stoop she filmed her tirade on.
Those hypocritical comments aside, I can understand why some people might not be entertained by a theatrical student’s contrived silliness. However, why does silly, extra, and sexual automatically equate stupid, sophomoric, and distasteful?
Although Nicki first made waves for a pictorial tribute to Lil’ Kim’s infamous promotional poster for Hardcore, she’s relatively toned her imagery down, noting, “The sexual and sexy stuff is really not who I am. I think all girls can take a sexy picture.”
Even if she hadn’t toned it down did enjoying Madonna or Janet make any of you a whore? Likewise, was Delores Tucker right about Tupac Shakur?
As for her Barbie Doll fueled fantasy, it seems more so a commodity to sell records versus Lil Kim-like dreams of making Mattel her mommy.
The lines of entertainment and reality have always been blurred, and the inconvenient truth is most people – particularly young people – tend to imitate someone at one period or another.
Currently, many are emulating an artist in on her on jokes who likes to exude femininity not exhibited by her predecessors, and oh yes, happens to like sex sometimes.
Are they influenced? Yes. Should they be? Debatable. Will it last forever? Ask your red glove and dookie braids.