Nicki Minaj seemed to have anticipated the fervency that would follow the release of her verse on Lil’ Wayne’s rehash of “Mercy” off his new Dedication 4 mixtape.
Speaking with MTV News in August, Minaj told the site, “That’s gon’ be real funny.” before adding, “I’m really excited for the kids to hear it.” We’ve now heard it and what has unanimously stood out was the following line, “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy b*tches are fucking up the economy.”
Already there’s been a back and forth as to what if anything the quip means. On social media, I noticed that Captain Obvious and his merry band of snarky pedants went above and beyond to remind us that hip-hop is full of metaphor and hyperbole and not everything should be taken so literally. As in, Nicki Minaj isn’t really a monster nor does she have a British gay man named Roman living inside her; therefore, she might not cast a vote for Mitt Romney. That is, if she even can.
Thank you, (mostly White) people. What ever would we do without your helpful 'duh' moments of the day?
Not to be outdone, there was also a wave of critiques that essentially boil down to, “I don’t care what Nicki Minaj says.” Do you get it? They don’t care about it so you shouldn’t either.
Thanks for that guidance as well. Can y’all tell me what I should eat tonight, too?
We are all entitled to our opinions, but it’s worth remembering that it’s not always about you, the individual, and that sometimes, what one might feel is a trivial matter still has some bearing on the collective. That said, as much of a fan I am of Nicki Minaj and her trademark stunt queen-like antics for attention, I find her now infamous line problematic all the same.
She essentially rhymed a long-held conservative viewpoint in a way that simplifies a complex issue that most of her fan base won’t understand.
I don’t share the view of Village Voice writer Andy Hutchins who argues that “assuming that Nicki's fanbase is, by and large, too stupid to realize that a) their hero is in a much different economic and social situation than they are and b) she's probably kidding is patronizing bullsh*t with sexist and racist (because ‘Barbz’ are fixed in the popular imagination as young, mostly Black girls) overtones."
As much of a fan I am of Nicki Minaj and her trademark stunt queen-like antics for attention, I find her now-infamous line problematic all the same.
Yeah, “we are the world, we are the children,” but if you think I’m a “sexist” and “racist” to think teenagers are easily influenced, you’re riding a PC train that needs to be derailed. Anecdotally, I can think of a few relatives of mine who work in juvenile law enforcement who can attest that that are quite a few teens who actually believe that Plies is a goon instead of a gimmicky rapper with a nursing degree and that Rick Ross is the Scarface of South Florida.
If they can be suckered in believing that, who’s to say the same can’t be said of them falling for a demonization of poor people? Have we not already proven how easy a feat it is to do with American adults?
And if anecdotes aren’t enough to convince you, need I remind you that Black teenage girls (and everyone else listening to Nicki Minaj) aren’t all that different from the White adults consistently fooled into voting against their own interests based on things more knowledgeable people would easily dismiss as completely idiotic. Kind of how Chuck Norris is currently invoking apocalyptic folklore into luring the 30 million Evangelical Christians who skipped voting in 2008 to rise up and vote out President Obama?
Speaking of,read Buzzfeed’s “What’s Obama’s Last Name” and take a nice look at the youth of voting age who have to ask what President Barack Obama’s last name is. Or the recent Pew poll that shows a depressingly high number of people still believe Obama isn’t a Christian and probably would remain unconvinced even if Jesus Christ sat in Obama’s lap and fed him grapes.
Couple this reality of national gullibility with the notion that more and more people educate themselves solely through the avenue of pop culture.
Do I believe Nicki Minaj is a Romney supporter? Not particularly, but this is another reminder that Black music, as Leonard Pitts recently wrote, is “now a song of conspicuous consumption and product placement” and that rappers who used to speak on class struggles now present classist talking points to a beat.
Fine, so what if Nicki Minaj is voting or Mitt Romney or not? Still, there’s legit reason to at least wonder why she “jokingly” echoes sentiments from that joke of a candidate.
I understand her right to creative license – so much so that I’m using mine to call that line what it is: irresponsible.
Michael Arceneaux is