On this Black History Month, We Will Not Run from the Truth: Nicki Minaj Moves like a Meglomaniac…

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Let me be candid in that I actively root against Nicki Minaj’s success. The only way a Black man like me — the child of a femme-C, a former fan of her works, one of the many who accepted ridicule for speaking her name in conversation with the top 5 rappers of our generation — could possibly do so is by looking at the darkest truth of this rap-pop icon, she is obsessed with her own power.

I don’t mean she pursues power for the sake of having some for the sake of good— in which, I’d support her whole sale. Rather, like Cersei Lannister, pillaging and brutalizing all in front of her, attacking any vulnerability of another’s humanity and weaponizing acts of charity to deflect accusation and criticism, Nicki Minaj has power simply for the sake of destroying those whom disfavor her. She’s the child-king, or “Queen”, on the throne beheading her educators for demanding better work.

Meglomania is defined quite definitively as obsession with the exercise of power, especially in the domination of others. Now, let’s discuss Nicki Minaj.

Earlier last year, Nicki Minaj saw to it the systemic destruction of a young Wanna for simply suggesting a better quality of music. Wanna, a music writer and critique, was well within her rights to voice such a simple observation. Music, as an artform, exists for criticism. It must be juxtaposed, and responded to for the craftsman to agree or disagree and move forward in their craft with this experience reaffirming the intent of the creator, whether positive or negative. However, what is not invited is the solicitation of a mob to threaten, haunt and harm. In on swoop, Nicki Minaj weaponized her fan-base to attack this woman after persuading the enterprise in-charge of her internship to fire her for “breaches of contract”.

This example was terrible in of itself. However, it is a far cry from the worst transgressions across the board. There is a recurring pattern of Nicki Minaj bashing and destroying women she perceives as weaker than her — an action that is a far cry from the feminism the Stupid Hoe rapper has transformed into a branding talisman, all without actually realizing a crucial element of feminism is the empowerment of fellow women, and not only the ones who kiss your ring finger.

Should we expect much more from the rapper whose greatest childhood story was attacking another girl in the middle of a sleepover? The answer is hell yes.

The problem with Nicki Minaj isn’t in anger or wrath in itself. Outrage is a formative response to the world rejecting the reality carefully plotted based on your observations of social presences. What is a problem is the fact Nicki Minaj doesn’t just go for realigning her reality with her observations — Ms. Minaj runs nose first into sapping the power from others.

She takes the power from her increasingly fans, of whom she is entitled to the support and championship no matter if their actions can and would result in the chillingly abrupt demise of their future.

She takes the power from her peers, as she rants on social media against the very women she refers to as sister — She takes the guise of the same women who refused to share the crown of female rap with her, and then deepens the divide within the genre.

She takes power from a lack of accountability. For when you can date a sex offender, and hop onto a platform to call the girl not only approving of her sexual abuse at her young age, but call her mother’s ethics into question, and still have a career, there is no accountability.

If it was up to me, after that? Nicki Minaj wouldn’t have a career. She wouldn’t be welcome on any streaming service. And sure, I’d have gone after everyone else who equally deserves this, but I’m talking about Nicki Minaj right now — the woman I can’t hear the voice of without remembering her habit of championing pedophiles and sex offenders: Tekashi 69, her current beau, and, particularly, her Brother. I cut her slack for her brother (the messiness of family and mothers), but three is a damn pattern.

Yet, at the same time, Nicki Minaj has somehow tried to play both the villain and the victim in more than one account. Victim during the previous NYFW where suddenly a Black woman cares what a room full of white men think of her and the lack of decorum present, when your entire platform is built on the streets and its energy. Victim when you lose out on an award, or chart-topping accolade that, in reality, shouldn’t count because you conveniently refuse to acknowledge the ways your same chart stats reveal you to underperform in all conservative estimations of your performance.

Villain in…well, we all should know the reasons Onika Maraj has been in the news, and it’s not because Queen Radio is winning a Pulitzer, a Grammy win or because Billboard peeped a #1 Album.

The last year alone has seen Nicki Minaj destroy no less than five of the Black woman she pro-ports to champion, all while complaining of misogynoiry inherent within the industry surrounding her.

Age, or intent means less to her than the power to attack someone, anyone who disfavors her. Frankly, I even remember Nicki performing this bit of power flexing during the Pulse tragedy where she showed just how little she cares for even her most loyal fans criticizing her more problematic decision making skills. She doesn’t lob this energy at anyone on her level; and while it isn’t any Black woman’s prerogative to do so,she doesn’t take the lengths to uplift or endorse. She just dedicates herself to crushing any caterpillar that chomps at her garden — taking great pleasure in skinning it and propping its carcass onto sharpened tree branches.

We suspected there was a reason no other high-tier female rapper messes with her, yet shows such love and generosity to newer girls who show up on to the scene. We blamed them for the behavior, attributing a lack of respect to a sense of jealousy. What we didn’t consider was that if you walk into a party and everyone there don’t fuck with you, perhaps its something that you did.

True, there are plenty of situations where Nicki did nothing wrong. Most recently, that BET social media jab comes to mind. However, putting a Black girl at risk? Mocking her to several million followers? Giving your fan base permission to harm this person for doing what is effectively her job and is (actually) encouraged to do by the brand?

Let’s play a game.

(TW: Suicide, Murder)

Imagine if this person committed suicide. Imagine if Wannasworld had. Or, let’s go further. Imagine if one of your fans — who have a history of fighting battles for you, throwing hands in the streets and more in your name — found these Black girls addresses and harmed them out of some sick fascination to your every word and will.

Months ago, Nicki Minaj bucked at her “sis” Ariana Grande for undermining mental health and attracting negative, harmful attention at Pete Davidson. Citing the risk of self-harm and a bunch of other odd things. Yet, here we see Nicki Minaj completely shucking that precedence as her rabid collective of teenagers are gearing up to mercilessly taunt this girl into a headspace no one should have in their psychic station.

If we ignore the laws that were instated due to the rampant cases of cyberbullying and suicide in the mid-2000s, RICO states you can be charged too. I mean, what is celebrity other than a brand or enterprise conveniently circulating around an entity? Celebrities are nothing but a widely regarded, glorified freelancer who has grown entitled to their fanbase, their image and the power thrust in everyone hearing of your brand and inexplicably feeling good things though your every action points to the contrary.

Maybe things would be different if you were capable of exhibiting guilt for any of this. But you don’t.

You just release a mediocre remix, or do a half-assed job at scholarship without understanding exactly how academics work or do a string of weird Queen radio shows that fail to meet even the subpar criteria of a podcast, and then let the masses keke while the people you’ve decimated are left to meet with law enforcement to protect themselves from DOX attacks and other bits of cyber terrorism brought on by your fans in their service to your name and whims.

We expected much more of Nicki Minaj. Sure, controversy exists in rappers. Particularly, I am quite critical of a lot of the misogyny and homophobia within rap. I am further critical of even female rappers who buck against the misogyny within rap, but uplift the homophobia — like City Girls and Cardi B in the past (to be fair, though, it does seem the Bronx rapper was authentically sorry and has taken time to learn. Though, whether any of us should forgive her is between the Trans community). However, my ability to be okay with any of it begins and ends at pedophilia and bullying (the irony of me having to say this the day that Nicki Minaj comes forward about Grammy producers bullying her is remarkable).

Shockingly though, this is all “Queen behavior”.

After all, a Queen can be a Tyrant too.

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#TRENDSETTER: NICKI MINAJ’S QUEEN ALBUM COVER IS A CELEBRATION OF BLACK ROYALTY

#TRENDSETTER, Art, Music, Non-Fiction

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By: Steven Underwood

According to the Fader, Nicki Minaj released a look at her album cover for her widely anticipated fourth album, QUEEN, this afternoon. While many fans expected a look more standard to a eurocentric ideal of royalty, Nicki Minaj went into a direction that would make Cleopatra in awe. This Egyptian aesthetic mashes up both a visage of sexuality and power while still inspiring an sub-Saharan idealism with the color choice.

This is bound to be a new defining era for the “Chun-Li” rapper and we are ecstatic.

Do you like the cover? Comment below!

Nicki Minaj’s fourth album QUEEN debuts on August 10th. Pre-orders are available next week. 

#BlaqueTwitter: June 26th 2017, THE BET EDITION

Articles, Culture

Photo Courtesy of Hypebeast

By: STEVEN UNDERWOOD

SPOTLIGHT

JOE BUDDEN ruins another peaceful interview with another rising talent in Hip Hop, TAKEOFF of MIGOS*. At the BET Awards last night, JOE BUDDEN interviewed the Versace-décor’d trio along with DJ Akademiks and [whatever that girl name was] for the EVERYDAY STRUGGLE podcast. DJ Akademiks started the interview confusingly antagonizing TAKEOFF in a scene that felt reminiscent of a Chappelle Skit (WHAT?!). JOE BUDDEN, being allergic to successful black rappers younger than himself, immediately start barking like the pitbull he looks just like. Little did Budden know, MIGOS are always ready to square up like they’re rooted.

Follow the Birdie for the Tweet!

Summary, the situation escalated into a fight, because MIGOS obviously had the power advantage. No one turned for confirmation in the trio. QUAVO stood, OFFSET stood, TAKEOFF didn’t even break his gaze, just eased on out of his seat, didn’t even stop to take off the very expensive jewelery around his neck. I didn’t know OFFSET was still a gentleman. Homie just got to rolling up his sleeves. And way to go TAKEOFF, the underdog is always ready to bark. Never doubt MIGOS is the next incarnation of the Three Muskateers: Blouses and all. Budden took the L in this situation, he’s just looking sad. Almost as Sad as DJ Akademic shoving a girl in-between himself and the situation. The next day, JOE BUDDEN took to Twitter, saying something about not liking MIGOS attitude. But, when you not only a fashion Icon, immune to the consequences of rampant homophobia, and the hottest rap group out, you can afford to have an attitude. To this situation, I refer to the Crissles philosophy: “Ain’t Yall too rich for this stuff? Don’t yall got a yacht to buy?” Joey, go host your podcast and stay silent. We get it, you’re talented and mad you get no respect. It ain’t our fault, it’s your own. Chalk it up to the game and go home. *TAKEOFF, QUAVO and OFFSET are all members of MIGOS. No, MIGOS is not one person. Pay attention to American culture.

Lesser News

MIGOS also fought CHRIS BROWN, but this is like a normal Sunday evening for CHRIS BROWN. I won’t be satisfied until either he gets folded like the lawn chair he looks like, or he ends up in prison. There’s girls won’t let him go broke. Homie gonna be 16 to them until he 80 in a retirement home threatening to fight his nurses and getting into dance battles with his own reflection.

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TREY SONGZ had another mediocre performance. The TL is still confused about why he still making music about all the sex he has, and still somehow makes the same song over and over. I just want someone to break his heart, or for him to have some character development. He needs to have his LEMONADE by Beyonce (this is the only accurate way to refer to THE album). I want to like his music like I liked LAST TIME, YOUR SIDE OF THE BED, and BOTTOMS UP, but he just…doesn’t give me a reason to? Maybe he can make an album about his dog, the true talent in his family.

SOLANGE, the Moon Goddess, won the Centric Award last night. Some people got made she thanked the Universe and not God. Some people also aren’t aware that not all Black People are Christian or Religious. She made the bop for Depression, which most church folk think is just an imaginary illness you can pray away without actual therapy or medication or actual, I don’t know, acknowledgement. So boo.

REMY MA, stole an award. Let’s not dwell on her speech – which she made about a feud and not about her own development, growth, abilities, appreciation, etc. The TL didn’t say NICKI MINAJ should’ve won the award (they screamed it from the rooftops), but REMY MA certainly didn’t do everything all the Runner-ups did to possibly win over her. MISSY ELLIOT has put in so much work this year that she has certainly earned that win. CARDI B has actually shook the pedestal that Nicki Minaj twirls 5 inches of Indian hair on. YOUNG M.A. has brought a dynamic flow to the game. All of them have done more thank REMY MA and her need to tear down other female rappers. REMY MA is just Joe Budden with two X-Chromosomes and a ghost writer (Guess you needed a, PAP). It’s a shame, because I really WANT to like her. She a Potterhead, she a carefree black girl, she’s rude. All things I love in people.

SZA was a carefree black girl on stage living her dream, and we loved her for it. KEYSHIA COLE stayed for the celebration of what is apparently her favorite album about her life and then left. We love this girl and her crown of curls she turns into this magical prop. Honestly, SZA is Rapunzel and I love her.

People still thing CHANCE THE RAPPER is a new artist, and he isn’t. But I think the qualification for this award just means you were recently signed. Which means one year Chance will one day receive the Lifetime Achievement Award along with his Best New Artist award, because he ain’t -ever- gonna sign.

BIG SEAN continues to be the example all Rappers should follow. Fashionista, Philanthropist, Poet, Artist, Professional Own-Business-Minder, Good Boyfriend. BIG SEAN, keep laying down the blue print.

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LUKE JAMES tried to steal everyone girlfriend on stage in front of the most violent men in Hip Hop and got away with it. NEW EDITION also performed with the -entire- cast of their Biopic. That stage was all white blazers and Motown choreography. I enjoyed what I could see of it (I couldn’t tell who was who, at all. They could’ve been lipsynching for all I know).