Nicki Minaj has made news yet again, this time for unabashedly speaking her mind all while making a great point. A New York Times Magazine profile published this week allowed Minaj to step up to the plate to defend herself against microaggressions being lobbed her way for situations way out of her control. Minaj’s response is making waves, and I look at it as one of the few instances where keeping it real goes right in Hollywood.
The profile was very well done for the most part. Writer Vanessa Grigoriadis managed to get into the psyche of the musician, letting readers in on what it’s like to be a major crossover pop star in the digital era.
And then it all unraveled at the end.
In the latter part of the interview, Grigoriadis questions Minaj about her sticky positioning in the middle of two major feuds (between Birdman and Lil Wayne as well as Drake and Meek Mill). After asking Minaj how she feels about the disputes (which Minaj says she wishes would end already), the writer goes in for the sucker punch:
“Is there a part of you that thrives on drama, or is it no, just pain and unpleasantness—”
Pause. There was a literal pause. And in that silence, the writer should’ve clutched her pearls and fled the room, but the foolish can often be brave.
“That’s disrespectful. Why would a grown-ass woman thrive off drama?” Nicki clapped back.
The writer realized her error and immediately tried to apologize to Minaj, who was not trying to hear that noise.
‘‘What do the four men you just named have to do with me thriving off drama? Why would you even say that? That’s so peculiar. Four grown-ass men are having issues between themselves, and you’re asking me do I thrive off drama?”
Minaj is right. She has remained Switzerland as heck in both tense situations. Her man has been the butt of hundreds of memes and a slew of diss tracks. And her name has been brought up in the feud between the man who gave her a chance and the one behind the label that pushed her to the top. And yet, she has been silent about the whole thing. A muteness that would make Charlie Chaplin proud.
So, why was she being thrown into the mix as a someone thriving off of the melee? A Helen of Troy. A puppetmaster. Did I mention that Minaj wasn’t having any of that noise?
‘‘That’s the typical thing that women do. What did you putting me down right there do for you?’ Women blame women for things that have nothing to do with them. I really want to know why — as a matter of fact, I don’t. Can we move on, do you have anything else to ask? To put down a woman for something that men do, as if they’re children and I’m responsible, has nothing to do with you asking stupid questions, because you know that’s not just a stupid question. That’s a premeditated thing you just did.’’
She chucked up the deuces on the writer and the interview and left me wanting to give her a round of applause for her response. Why are women so quick to blame other women for everything?
It’s a systemic effect of patriarchy. Men are let off the hook for “being men” while women are taught to be wary of other women. A man cheats, and some women quickly place the blame on the woman he cheated with because “he’s just a man and that’s what they do.” If we could truly start holding men accountable for their actions, we could threaten the patriarchy, and we could strengthen our womanhood.
There is a list of microaggressions that are sent in a woman’s direction when it’s time for blame to be placed. We are often unable to speak for ourselves without being deemed “emotional,” “dramatic,” or “all over the place.” So to see a woman journalist use these same tactics against a successful and self-assured woman is disheartening. To see her downplay Minaj’s achievements and standing by relegating her to a cast member or accessory in the soap operas of her counterparts (and boyfriend) is also discouraging. Screw talking about drama. Misogyny is out here thriving on these streets.
Meek Mill and Drake are “grown-ass men” and Nicki Minaj is caught on the sidelines. She has to watch her long-time friend and coworker publicly humiliate her man while using her success as the biggest punchline to threaten Mill’s manhood (i.e., “Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?”). There could be no way Minaj thrived off of that. It’s never fun to be caught in the middle, millionaire pop star or not.
Furthermore, the idea that she is in any way responsible for the actions of this group of feuding men is pure lunacy. I’m sure if Minaj could control them, she would shut this whole farce down so they could get back to making music and holding a controlling interest in pop and hip-hop. Hopefully, the reporter learned a lesson from her ridiculous line of questioning, and readers, thanks to Minaj, were able to spotlight misogyny as it rears its head, even in women.