The article “The Impermissible Arrogance of Nicki Minaj” by Killian Wright-Jackson breaks down what it means to be a Black woman at the forefront of a patriarchal society. Wright-Jackson compares a story called Sula, by Toni Morrison, to hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj’s music video. Sula is about a woman named Sula in an all-Black town who challenges gender norms which results in her being shunned by the people in her community. Another woman in the town, Nel, who is loved by her community due to her ability to conform with gender norms effortlessly, tells Sula that she should stop being so independent because in a society like theirs, being a colored woman means that you are “perpetually ruled.” In comparison, Nicki Minaj can be seen to mirror Sula in her music video for “Lookin Ass.” While her performance is portrayed as ideal femininity, her lyrics are vulgar and destructive towards men and their egos. “Like Sula, she rests in a dangerous zone: confrontational, proud, a woman, and colored.” Minaj has unapologetically expressed her manifestations of wealth and power, as do most hip-hop artists. However, some of her music errs towards the pop music side with her feminine vocals and upbeat backing tracks. Many listeners of the genre call her a fraud because not all her songs are what people consider hip-hop. What people fail to take into consideration are the hardships women might have to go through in order to satisfy the demographics of who is listening to their music. Minaj has to battle between keeping her femininity as a focus as well as reigning her power in the hip-hop game. More specifically, as mentioned in the article, her verse in Kanye West’s “Monster” shows her eccentric personality. Her verse in “Monster” is one of the most recognizable verses in that song alone, as well as in her career. This year makes nine years since that song was released and still has an impact on my feelings toward Minaj. Her music plays an important role in my opinion of what it means to be a Black female hip-hop artist. She is loud and proud, many male artists are. The issue is that she is a woman in power, which further presses the issue of fragile masculinities. Where there is a majority, there is a minority. In hip-hop, men are dominant and women are the latter. When a woman like Minaj is at the forefront of a male-dominated career field, she is bound to turn some heads. Minaj’s name is the first one I think of when I think of hip-hop and many true hip-hop listeners have a hard time accepting that reality because I guarantee I’m not the only one with that opinion. Because she has been present in hip-hop since 2004, she should have more recognition besides the fact that she is a woman in hip-hop, she is much more than that. Minaj shows no weakness in her music and will continue to do so despite gender norms in her society.
-- works cited --
Wright-Jackson, Killian. “The Impermissible Arrogance of Nicki Minaj.” Bitch Media, Spring 2018. https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/drop-the-mic/the-impermissible-arrogance-of-nicki-minaj.