Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nicki Minaj and the Controversial Album Cover

On July 24th, Nicki Minaj released the cover art for her new single called "Anaconda." The cover features a revealing photo of a nearly-naked, photoshopped Minaj. The cover raised a huge controversy for fans and non-fans alike, with a variety of perspectives appearing in articles all over the internet. Some, such as AllHipHop.com's CEO Chuck Creekmur in this letter, have deemed this cover "hyper-sexualized" and have criticized Minaj for releasing an image that doesn't send a "positive" message to young girls. In another vein, others worry that the artwork for this single only perpetuates the sexualization of black women as well as furthers the sexist culture of hip-hop. 

However, many have argued that Minaj is taking an empowering stance by embracing her sexuality and determining how she wants it to be portrayed. In an article published today by Feministing, the author highlights the trend of backlash only occurring when "a black woman has presented herself independently of the hetero-male gaze," and argues that this type and extent of backlash doesn't occur when male hip-hop artists objectify and hyper-sexualize women, especially black women. Furthermore, in this article, Jezebel applauds Minaj's artwork, stating that it proves women "can exert [their] sexuality without being reduced to it."

Nicki Minaj might not be running for Congress anytime soon, but the conversations around women and media are very important to the conversations we have here at MWPC. It also raises questions about how body politics influence our discourse. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.