Nicki Minaj’s BET Acceptance Speech Was the Epitome of Hypocrisy
I’m not a Nicki Minaj fan. That is well-documented. While I understand her sex positive image and her brand, I also find her incredibly damaging to black women and girls. And I may never forgive her for performing at an event specifically for young black girls with a dildo. So, it should come as no surprise that I wasn’t impressed with her BET Awards acceptance speech this past Sunday which allegedly threw shade at white Hip Hop hopeful Iggy Azalea for her apparent lack of “authenticity.” Funny how Minaj can demand authenticity of Azalea but was perfectly fine cooning on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show last year for her “Extreme Home Twerk Out” spoof which literally gave millions of white people an invitation to laugh at (not with) Minaj for her oversized, costume-y derriere. Hypocrisy much?
Yes, in the satirical video made by Ellen Degeneres‘ production team, Miss Authenticity herself posed as the “Paid Celebrity Endorsement” and let all the white people who want her “hour glass figure” in on her “big ass secret.” See what they did there?
I’m not quite sure how parading around on a show specifically targeted at upper- and middle-class white women posing as the jester and “butt” of the joke is authentic (see what I did there?). Sadly, it wasn’t even funny. Well, unless you think that black women’s bodies are funny. I find it odd that Minaj thought this PR move was a positive one to make. Even more confusing though is how this display aligns with her now infamous acceptance speech at the recent BET Awards.
While accepting her fifth consecutive Best Female Hip Hop Artist (which is well-deserved honestly), Minaj threw shade at the monumental whackness that is Iggy Azalea.
What bothered me about this speech was a) Minaj claims to represent women and b) she hopes and prays that “BET continues to honor authenticity.” Mkay Nicki. Let’s not try to pretend that writing lyrics is the only precursor for authentic living.
Let’s be real here. Yes, Iggy Azalea is to Hip Hop what Miley Cyrus is to twerking. Iggy is attempting to “columbus” (yes that’s a verb) hip hop music like that one time when a Kardashian redefined cornrows. That’s mainstream white people stuff. They can say Azalea is the new face of Hip Hop. We know better.
Oh, and the wannabe responded. But, I digress.
I have a major issue with folks in the limelight who believe they can commit transgressions against their own – already marginalized – social groups but cry fowl when the majority does the same thing. It was Audre Lorde who told us that the master’s tools won’t bring down the master’s house. I’m guessing the master’s imps probably won’t either.
Nicki Minaj allows herself to embody all of the most tasteless, cringe-worthy, vile aspects of the stereotypical Jezebel, Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman aka Hottentot Venus. She makes a living being the freak show that regular old gals like myself rage against on a daily basis. She makes life incredibly difficult for lesser known black women whose physical features reflect their African roots and whose curves have been handed down generation after generation. For women like us – with little name recognition and personal agency – Nicki Minaj is a problem. bell hooks might even call her a terrorist. And she wouldn’t be completely wrong. But, is that so different from what Iggy is doing? I’m struggling to see a difference here. Oh. Wait. She’s white and inauthentic.
To put it plainly, Minaj seems to think only black women should have the right to degrade black women in public. I can’t argue with her there. But using it as a business model? Isn’t that just inherently wrong?
I am not for Iggy Azalea. At all. But I certainly am not going to let Minaj off the hook for her continued assault on black womanhood.
So, yes, while there are some definite positives about Minaj’s presence in the industry and her unapologetic sexuality, there are some very clear and present dangers to the contradictory tones she sets for those outside of the community gazing on with judgmental eyes.White folks looking in don’t see Minaj as a pioneer of the female identity in Hip Hop. They see a clown. Not only that, they see their own expectation. Of course they can’t take black women seriously, one of our “pioneers” who claims to represent us isn’t doing anything important, worthy, or lasting. Right?
For me, Minaj should do less to criticize others and spend more time reflecting on how damaging her image is to black women and girls. From what I can tell, she ain’t really checkin’ for us. What does that mean? It means that she isn’t really concerned about our humanity unless it affects her ends. I am sure whites are Minaj’s primary source of income. And, from that clip on the Ellen Degeneres show, she and Iggy Azalea should be much cozier bedfellows.
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