Nicki Minaj’s BET Acceptance Speech Was the Epitome of Hypocrisy

Nicki-Minaj-VavaVoom-900-600I’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.

iggy-azalea-the-new-classic-tracklistLet’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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Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.

7 Responses

  1. Macy Harrell says:

    “Minaj threw shade at the monumental whackness that is Iggy Azalea.” lmaooooo

  2. Kristine McGarrah says:

    I don’t agree with Iggy being a wanna be or inauthentic I believe she has her own style and who are we to determine what she can or cant be. A lot of people gravitate towards hip hop culture it is not exclusive to black people. We cant strive for equality if we continue to judge and bash people for wanting to be a part of what is obviously popular culture. If anything we should be proud that people want to be a part of it and bring their own uniqueness to it which helps it evolve. Iggy is not appropriating black culture b/c she makes it clear she is an Australian who has an an appreciation for hiphop music and i see nothing wrong with it. As far as Nicki she’s talented but she clearly has no respect for herself, she doesn’t value her body, she’s not a good example for young girls and I thought her comments were very shady considering shes not in the studio with these other female artists so how could she possibly know who does or does not write their own lyrics.

  3. Lexxs says:

    There is no faster path to wealth and fame for a Black person than to criticise, mock or degrade other Blacks. White folks love it, almost as much as slavery movies, and cannot get enough of it.

  4. Jaster says:

    Very well said! 100% Agree.

  5. Jaster says:

    I don’t know about the first part, but the second part in not true. At least for this white person.

    I don’t like anyone degrading anyone and I only like movies if they are good!

  6. Lexxs says:

    Good for you. There are a few ( very few) decent people like you.

  7. Okay says:

    How is she authentic and has her own style when she raps in the style of a southern black woman? She’s neither southern nor black. She’s Australian. Wouldn’t authenticity mean rapping with her native accent?