It doesn’t matter what profession you take on to pay the bills, no one enjoys being overlooked. Just ask Nicki Minaj. The hip hop/pop star used her social media platforms to create much needed conversation regarding race, gender and recognition.
The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards will air on August 30 and are greatly celebrated among industry talent. Sure everyone would love to win a Grammy to showcase on their shelves, but they’ll also make room for a Moon Man and other accolades. Nicki along with other notable artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are up for multiple awards this year — and while you might think calling attention to a snub is being greedy, you first need to look at the writing on the wall.
“When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination,” Minaj tweeted. “If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year,” she adds.”
While some might argue a music video that shows booties shaking and raising dumbbells isn’t worthy of a Best Choreography nomination, you have to remember those days of “and one, and two” videos with a kick ball change and pirouette are gone.
I think most of us however are very surprised Nicki did not receive a nomination for Video of the Year considering “Anaconda” was literally a big a$$ success. Not only was the single from her third studio album, The Pinkprint extremely popular on the Billboard charts but, at the time, broke a record for the most views in 24 hours (close to 20 million). This in turn sparked tons of photo and video parodies — including funny gal and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to getting in on the action. It doesn’t matter if you think the video was good or not, there’s no denying the impact it had on pop culture.
Nicki’s statement that “black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it” rings true in so many industries. Just look what happened to Ava DuVernay who was snubbed from the Best Director category at this year’s Academy Awards. She recently told attendees of a media conference “you gotta follow the white guys” when talking about how to navigate the professional world. “Too often, we live within their games, so why would you not study what works?”
As much as we should be happy to see women as a whole make progress, the sad fact remains that Black women continuously get left behind. Yes, the average woman earns 78 cents to the man’s dollar. But guess what. Black women only make 64 cents to that same dollar. Sure Nicki Minaj and others in the music biz have little to complain about when it comes to earning a coin, but that is their corporate realm — and sometimes you need to call a party foul.
Now who knows the real reason why Nicki was left out of the Video of the Year category. You might think it’s no big deal considering there are other representatives of color like Bey and Kendrick to make up for her absence. You might think nothing’s wrong considering Beyoncé and Nicki are both in the Best Female Video category. Heck, you might not even give a darn about the award show.
It might be easy to sweep the idea of Black women getting overlooked on a professional level under the because we have ladies like Shonda Rhimes , Oprah and Beyoncé in the game. If you’re cool with just one or two in a sea of talent getting the spotlight, that’s your personal conviction. Personally I think only one of five black CEOs of a Fortune 500 company being a woman shows we have a problem.
While I use examples from the entertainment industry, there are bigger disparities among other industries that are a reminder there needs to be greater progress. A study in the Law & Society Review revealed Black women are not only undervalued and paid less, but also less likely to gain a job interview or offer compared to others.
The talent is there and working hard, but don’t always get the break or the recognition they deserve.