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Earlier this week, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift hit headlines after Nicki made a perfectly honest remark about racism in the music industry and Taylor went and jumped on it as a personal attack. If you missed it, a recap of the Tweets exchanged can be found here.
Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to follow people on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr in particular who were largely supportive of Nicki and understood why Taylor was totally and utterly in the wrong. I'm happy to see that Taylor has now apologised but I'm still left reeling by some of the reactions I saw.
I'm not going to go into whether I think Nicki has a point about racism in the music industry or not because one: she obviously DOES and two: I think the last thing this situation needs is another white voice adding to it, we really need to shut up for a bit and let black women speak and listen to their experiences and feelings.
That being said, I saw a fair few comments on a Facebook post suggesting that the reason that Nicki didn't get her VMA nomination has nothing to do with race and it is in fact because her music sucks, she is not a very nice person and is a horrible person.
ERRR, HOLD UP.
Last year, Miley Cyrus won a VMA for her Wrecking Ball video which had overtly sexual content in it. If we're going to argue that Nicki is too sexual to be a good role model, then surely the same applies to Miley?
So what's the difference between her and Nicki? Oh yeah, it's race.
And the thing is, Nicki Minaj isn't a rubbish artist, nor is she a poor role model:
- She frequently advises young women to work hard and get an education rather than focusing solely on their looks
- She has had chart topping albums
- She has had chart topping singles
- The Anaconda video broke records
- She teaches young women that they are strong and powerful
- She is unapologetic for who she is
To be honest, Nicki Minaj has some pretty admirable qualities if you ask me. A woman can embrace her own sexuality, celebrate the bodies of larger women who are typically shunned by society without compromising her status as a role model.
If you are interested in learning more about how the music industry demonstrates racism towards black women, why it was wrong for Taylor Swift to jump in and turn the conversation onto herself and why Nicki Minaj is worthy of respect and praise, I recommend these excellent blog posts (I don't feel qualified enough myself to speak about it at length but felt some things had to be said):