By Sharnita Midgett
In awards shows, there are notable moments, and one of the 2015 VMAs’ included the phrase, “Miley, what’s good?” marking an incident which incited an interview with Nicki Minaj and the New York Times published on October 7th.
The article titled “The Passion of Nicki Minaj” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, follows Minaj’s thoughts after her words with Miley Cyrus, who prior to the VMAs, criticized Minaj’s tweets about the biases in nomination ceremonies, regarding Minaj as “not too kind.” This tweet also sparked a response from Taylor Swift, who Minaj later reconciled with. However, Cyrus didn’t have the same fate.
In the article, she mentioned to the New York Times that the issue regarding Cyrus was still on Minaj’s mind a month later. “The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls. You’re in videos with black men, and you’re bringing out black women on your stages, but you don’t want to know how black women feel about something that’s so important? Come on, you can’t want the good without the bad. If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn’t not want to know that.”
The article goes into lengthy details about who Minaj is as a person as well as a performer, and talks about female artists struggling with power, control, and sexuality. Minaj particularly identified with these struggles, telling the New York Times that she had in fact come from a home with a power struggle and encouraged young girls to wait on having children. The article also mentions the clothes that Minaj rejected for Fashion Week, because they were made for women a lot slimmer and taller than she was. She explained highlighting the common body types of women in Hollywood causes an alienation of women who differ from that. This tied into Minaj’s point in her tweets about women with very slim bodies receiving video nominations over other women of other body types.
The type of criticism Minaj received for her tweet is not uncommon for female or African American celebrities. A similar incident was when Amandla Stenberg was called the “jackhole of the day” by Andy Cohen for calling Kylie Jenner out on cultural appropriation, or when Viola Davis was criticized by Nancy Lee Grahn for her speech when she won a Primetime Emmy.
However, in this interview, Minaj was able to defend her opinions and have the final say on the issue. As the interview transitions into her difficulties trying to find success growing up, the overall article wraps up in a way fitting of its title: showing the passion of Nicki Minaj.