Should We Boycott Nicki Minaj?
There is a video floating around the internet of a man calling for a boycott of Nicki Minaj, mainly because of her alleged disparaging lyrics and the potential effect it may have on Black women and girls.
According to this nameless guy, who posted this seven minute compilation video of various Minaj lyrics combined with his own commentary, Minaj should be boycotted because of the anti-black woman themes present in her music. Minaj calls Black women banana-eating chimpanzees and “nappy-headed hos,” which he equates to the racist rhetoric of Don Imus and the ease of mainstream society to treat black features as unattractive. The nameless petitioner says that the point of the boycott is to “teach our sisters, our mothers, our girlfriends, our daughters, what have you, to love themselves.”
I can certainly understand and appreciate the sentiment of this video. I’ve been pretty much boycotting Minaj since she first hit the scene. Not so much for her questionable libretto but because I have been unable to grasp how she went from hood chick, spitting straight up street lyricism to raunchy Lil’ Kim knockoff to Lady Gaga protege in the matter of one album. Seriously, either she has perfected the crossover in ways that M.C. Hammer could only dream or she is one hell of an actress and someone needs to get her an Oscar.
My personalized annoyance at her music aside, I do get and appreciate the point the brother was making in the video. Personally I don’t like the whole Barbie doll persona nor the hyper-sexualized representations in her music, especially since her entire Barbie doll aesthetic, with its bright color and whimsical styling, is only attractive to young impressionable girls, who are trying to make sense of their budding bodies and minds. Not to mention being in the company of Scaffbreezy aka Safaree, her little side kick/hype man/possible boyfriend, who has a song out called KKK (I Don’t Like N****s).
It could be the one-day-mother in me but the whole vibe around those two performers reeks of all the things I want to keep away from children. But while Minaj’s lyricism and overall persona is questionable and worthy of further scrutiny, I want to know where was this concerned brother with the YouTube video for the last 20 years or so when the fellas were smearing black women and girls in their songs?
You know the rappers like Lil Wayne, who says in that Drake collab, “Beautiful Black woman I bet that [insert b word here] look better red.” And rappers like Slim Thug, who once spoke about his admiration for the white side of his biracial girlfriend. And rappers like Eminem, who prior to signing on to Aftermath records, freestyled about his hatred of Black women. There isn’t enough space in this column to point out examples of ways in which countless rappers professed their love for light-skin and “exotic” women while making disparaging remarks about dark skinned or women with African features.
In essence, self-hate, misogyny and colorism have long been given the welcome mat in the hip-hop community and in that sense, Minaj is not original to the oppressive themes that are part of our popular music. So how can we lay this primarily at the feet of Minaj? Is it because she is a woman?