“She’s such a bad example for young women”
“She doesn’t respect herself, twerking all over the place”
You would be surprised at the amount of tweets and status updates I read that complained about Nicki Minaj’s performance of “Anaconda” at the MTV VMAs this past Sunday.
So, in order for us to fully grasp what this video means, we have to understand that Nicki Minaj is the most successful female rapper, probably ever. Take your other current female rappers out of the picture for a moment. Do you know who opened the door for them? It was probably Nicki Minaj.
To be fair, I never really became a fan of hers until I watched her MTV Documentary, My Time Now. Watch this 2-minute clip about the difference between men acting bossy and women acting bossy:
Now that you have some perspective, imagine what it is to be the single most influential woman in hip-hop and how difficult it must have been to get to that place. It doesn’t matter if she twerked, it doesn’t matter that a couple of years ago she went to the VMAs wearing stuffed animals – she created an impression on you, and you, in return, remembered her. From the fast verses, to the crazy accents on her songs, to fact that the best verse in Kanye West’s “Monster” was hers, she should be considered a female icon for her achievements in an industry that is mostly made up of male artists, and she’s right at the top.
NO SHE ISN’T A FEMALE ICON! SHE DOESN’T REPRESENT WOMEN!!! SHE’S SHAKING HER BUTT ON YOUTUBE!!
Twerking has been around for years, but it wasn’t until a girl named Miley Cyrus came along and did it on national television at last year’s VMAs that the whole “twerk” craze started, took off, and became a thing. This thing launched her last album, Bangerz, as well as the tour that went along with it. I’m not going to talk about cultural appropriation in music today, but this is just for you to notice that as women, we are constantly objectified. However, for black women and women of color in general, it becomes a matter of even more overt sexualization. For Cyrus, the whole twerking thing might just be a phase in her career, but for artists like Minaj or even Rihanna, twerking, dancing and expressing themselves sexually is a means of constant backlash.
On the other hand, there are tons of music videos that feature WoC being used as props in them. This isn’t going to stop by having Minaj wear a turtleneck in her next video; the point of the matter is that she should do as she pleases. If she wants to twerk, she should do it. If she wants to wear pajamas, she should do it. Isn’t that what feminism is all about? Being free as a woman to do what YOU want? Men are respected if they have a girlfriend or if they have one-night stands every weekend – it doesn’t matter what they do, they are still viewed as people.
Let’s get to the bottom of this issue and watch the VEVO record-breaking video for Nicki’s “Anaconda”.
You still there? Good. Poor Drake.
So, what exactly makes the “Anaconda” video different?
A while ago, Sir Mix-A-Lot released “Baby Got Back”, a song that objectified women and celebrated big butts. FYI: Women are objectified in EVERY GENRE OF MUSIC; this isn’t something strictly pertaining to hip-hop. In “Anaconda”, Sir Mix-A-Lot sings the verse, “My Anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun”. This is basically Nicki’s response to songs like “Baby Got Back” and countless others that objectify women. It’s a song in which a woman objectifies men and her conquests. Not only that, she’s celebrating black women’s bodies, she’s celebrating curvy bodies, and for once, she’s celebrating skinny girls who are “the norm” in society but who are not granted the same recognition.
“I wanted to say, ‘Hey ladies, you’re beautiful,’ Hopefully, this changes things and maybe it won’t change things, but I love it.” – Nicki Minaj on the Anaconda music video
Did you see that scene where she cuts off a banana!? MESSAGE! It doesn’t matter if she gives Drake a lap dance – she OWNS her body. Drake can try to make her stay, but she can decide to do as she pleases.
We, as women, should embrace each other instead of slut-shaming one another. If a girl wants to stay single for the rest of their life, you go girl. If a girl wants to have multiple one-night stands, you go girl. It shouldn’t matter what women do because our bodies are not public property, they are ours for a reason. A message for Nicki, and women all over the world: DO YOU.
PS: I leave you with Beyoncé’s ***Flawless remix with Nicki Minaj which is one of the greatest things that has happened this year.