When Is The Right Time To Lash Out? Nicki Minaj Speaks And The People React
The fall out from the MTV VMA’s is still live. Was Nicki Minaj in the right for her on stage out burst towards Miley Cyrus? Was this the public undressing that Miley and a whole collection of today’s Hip Hop jocking Pop artists needed? Was Nicki wrong in the manner and setting she elected to act out in? Many say she was wrong. Many say she should know better and it was a petty move. I read many who said it was beneath her. In all honesty I’ve found a lot of those views to be one part comical and 1 part hypocritical. How so you ask? Well let’s get into that.
I’m going to assume most folk reading this know what the background story is that led up to the VMA’s if not click here.
Hip Hop exists as the epicenter of current popular culture. Everything that moves the needle among the youth ties into and comes from Hip Hop in some form or fashion. Yet Hip Hop is not treated with the respect that many other genres are. Dig deeper and realize that Nicki Minaj, a successful Black woman in Hip Hop who then crossed over into popular mainstream entertainment gets even less respect and unbalanced treatment in comparison to the other white female contemporaries. Many of whom can credit their direct success to their shady exploitation of Hip Hop elements and overall appropriation of the core cultural facets that people of color have lived for years.
What we end up with is a space where the creators and innovators of the art get critiqued and beaten down for their ways while others pick the pieces needed for success without the same judgmental opposition. It’s from this position that I get why Nicki did what she did. It wasn’t about being the bigger person or replying in a more professional manner. Life isn’t diced up in perfectly manageable parts like that. Surprise, surprise people get mad and get emotional regardless of the level of success and notoriety they have. When you watch people do what you do……correction, when you watch people make a mockery of what you do yet gain equal if not greater success and THEN attempt to tell you how you should feel about the matter through the media I expect you to possibly pop off.
This leads into another aspect of the Nicki situation. There are those that see Nicki as a gimmick and not a true representative of Hip Hop. Much of this stems from her heavy pop presence a few years ago and her direct position of wanting to be more than just a NY rapper and extend beyond classic Hip Hop definitions. Personally, this is a slippery slope for me.
There is no blueprint to success and person expression. Do I feel Nicki turned her back on Hip Hop? No. As a true blue New Yorker did I feel slighted at her comments about being more than a NY rapper? No. At least in my opinion people should be allowed to grow. She wanted more and had the ability to do so. I don’t fault her for that. Often times the Hip Hop audience has this mentality that they want you to succeed but it has to be strictly within the manner that they want. It doesn’t work like that. Most of our favorites have ventured into the pop waters at one time or another. The business of Hip Hop is bigger now and the powers that be have more opportunity to profit off us then ever before.
Truthfully, folks issues with Nicki, while genuine and understandable don’t take away from the matter at hand. She’s Hip Hop and while I personally am I not elevating her to some black social leader status, what she did was needed. What Nicki did is the offline equivalent of what most of you do online when our culture gets disrespected. Folks are so used to running instagram and Twitter to rant, vent and “clap back” that they’ve forgotten the ways we came up dealing with people. You come out your mouth crazy, you get addressed directly. There’s a reason the appropriation and disrespectful antics haven’t stopped. The guilty parties know that all they have to do is survive a few slick tweets and then everything goes back to the status quo.
I’m sure if this was Queen Latifah or MC Lyte in that moment the delivery and message would have been different, but it wasn’t. I hold people to consistent standards regardless of professional status. Someone needed to check Miley, period. Her act is old and insulting. Perhaps if more people stood up “for the culture” vs riding her wave to get paid we wouldn’t be in this situation to start with.