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Nicki Minaj’s Cover Art Makes a Farce of Black History

Back in the day, groups like Public Enemy and NWA would rock the boat by sticking it to the man.

Back in the day, groups like Public Enemy and NWA would rock the boat by sticking it to the man. Back then “The Man” represented the establishment. However, it appears as if modern rap artists enjoy creatively giving the finger to just about any tradition or institution that it can find. In the modern age, some artists seem to think it isn’t necessary for their works to just be entertaining.  The more mundane their artistry, the more likely it is for them to create a false firestorm of controversy. 

This may have been the thought process behind rapper Nicki Minaj’s decision to pick a classic photo of fallen human rights icon Malcolm X, peeking out of a window with an assault rifle on his shoulder, as the cover art for her new single. The thought in itself would have been well and good, except the title of the track is called “Lookin’ Ass Nigga.” And now, folks with sense, especially black ones, are raising yet another eyebrow of contempt towards the haughty rap-tress. 

We thought she’d “found” herself and had begun appreciating her roots. Recently, Minaj has been making the rounds wearing her own natural hair in photos that have appeared on Twitter and Instagram. The fashion choice supports current backlash within the African American community toward bleach blonde black girls. Minaj’s natural-haired pictures began a groundswell of positive, celebratory comments toward her new image.

But now disrespect of icon Malcolm X? During Black History month at that? C’mon sis, let the art speak for itself. Disrespecting those who helped pave the way, open minds, and change opinions toward allowing someone like you to do what you do today, is blatantly unacceptable and purely selling out.


 

Starting his career as lead writer for EURweb.com back in 1998, Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Morning Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring black cultural angles where they intersect with the mainstream.