March is Women’s History Month, and Tuesday was International Woman’s Day. As we celebrate some of our favorite women in pop culture, one lady who deserves a special shoutout is the iconic Nicki Minaj. While she has broken down barriers for women in hip-hop music and beyond, oftentimes, Minaj gets a bad rep for not supporting other women or for being really angry when she defends herself. Let’s highlight some of the times when she truly stood up for women of color and made an impact. Here are five times Nicki Minaj spoke up for black women.
In a 2014 cover story with The Fader magazine, Minaj opened up about how she hopes to redefine the expectations surrounding women in urban music. The Queens born rapper is aware that she accomplished many firsts in her career, including being the first female act with over 100 records charting on the billboard hot 100, beating out records previously held by Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, and Madonna. For Minaj, moments like this are worth celebrating, and she makes sure to fully take them in because she knows how the odds were stacked against her to win. She takes this same mindset into all her business ventures, including her past partnership with the Home Shopping Network. For Nicki, showing corporate America how a young black woman can win outside of selling music was a big deal and something she is super proud of.
In 2017, she took to Twitter to point out the discrepancies in pay between men and women and how it needs to change. She talked about how women have to work twice as hard to only get half the reward or respect of their male counterparts. She asked fans, “when does this stop?” Fans agreed and felt that Nicki, in particular, was victim to this, pointing out how some male rappers are more respected or celebrated than her. “I wish it would stop! Especially for YOU. I feel like you get less respect than any other & it’s sad,” said one fan. She also felt that people discredited her “10 years of consistent winning” by putting new artists in the same category as her. She argued that “they’d never do this to a man.” While Nicki has been criticized over the years for not collaborating with other female MCs, she’s since made music with the likes of Doja Cat, BIA, and Megan Thee Stallion proving she is all about uplifting new voices.
The feminist icon took to Twitter last month to remind women that they should own full autonomy over their bodies and decisions. She told her fans that they should never dress up, do their make-up, or do their hair for a man. She argues that men only use women for their own pleasure and that women deserve to feel good for themselves alone and not to impress a man. The Tweet received 22,000 retweets and 93,000 likes from fans who agreed with her. In the social media era, it is easy for people to try to impress one another and forget about their own happiness. One Nicki fan page responded, “A WORD! cuz men don’t be giving two s—ts about the woman’s pleasure. Also ladies… if u don’t have a secure man, RUN. U can wear whatever u want & ofc u can do whatever tf u want with your body!! you’re a goddess.. remember that.”
In a recent podcast interview with Joe Budden, she let it be known that she is tired of black women being made a fool of in the media. She declared that it is not “embarrass Black Woman season.” The Queen of hip-hop then began discussing how black women are torn down in the press while white women are protected and celebrated. She pointed out Billie Ellish, who is thriving and uplifted by fans who never stop to debate where her style came from or if she was the “first” like the black community. Nicki feels that when it comes to black women, so much focus is put on tearing them apart or discrediting them for their work instead of uplifting and celebrating.
Minaj then goes on to acknowledge her long time rival and spiritual mentor, Lil Kim. Minaj feels slighted by the fact that she has never been on the cover of US Vogue due to her influence on culture and agrees that Lil Kim should have also been on a US Vogue cover years ago. She says that if the magazine represents influence, how is it that they overlook Nicki Minaj or Lil Kim despite them being the most celebrated women in hip-hop?