Dear Nicki Minaj: WTF Were You Thinking, Sis?

by Britni Danielle

Nicki Minaj uses Malcolm X's image for new song

*deep heavy sigh*

I’m not sure whether to laugh to keep from crying or officially bid adieu to my once-beloved hip-hop. But recently Queens-bred rapper Nicki Minaj dropped a new song that has me shaking my head and apologizing to the ancestors.

Titled “Looking Ass N–gas,” the single is a bass-heavy bombastic tune warning broke dudes against even thinking about stepping to Minaj.

Peep the first verse (via Rap Genius):

Look at y’all smokin’ ass niggas
After every pull, niggas start chokin’ ass niggas
Nigga-nigga
Look at y’all bitch ass niggas
Stop lyin’ on your dick ass niggas
Nigga-nigga
Look at y’all lookin’ ass niggas
Stop lookin’ at my ass ass niggas
Look at y’all lyin’ ass niggas
Talkin’ ’bout “It’s paid off” but it’s financed, lyin’ ass nigga
Bunch of non-mogul ass niggas
Frontin’ like they got a plan, Boost Mobile ass nigga
Nigga, nigga, look at y’all
Can’t get a job so you plottin’ how to rob ass niggas
I ain’t gotta check for y’all

But if I’ma check for y’all, I’ma need a check from y’all niggas
I ‘on’t want sex, give a fuck about your ex
I ‘on’t even want a text from y’all niggas
I’m rapin’ you niggas
Look at this pic, look what the fuck I gave to you niggas
Ain’t feelin’ these niggas
Niggas want my time, call me Clinton, I’m billin’ these niggas

Basically it’s “No Scrubs” with about a million n–gas thrown in for emphasis.

Like many, I tried to count the number of times Nicki dropped the n-word in the two-minute-and-fifty-one-second clip, but I was woefully unable to keep up since every single sentence is peppered with the slur.

While Nicki’s use of the n-word might even make Quentin Tarantino blush, it’s her invocation of Malcolm X that has many upset.

The cover art for “Looking Ass N—ga” features the iconic image from Ebony magazine of Malcolm X peering out of his window while holding a M1 Carbine rifle just a year before he was assassinated. Unlike Nicki, Malcolm X wasn’t prancing around the desert trying to ward off broke “looking ass n*ggas,” he was protecting his family against those who would rather snuff out his life than allow him to continue to fight for African Americans.

Using Malcolm X’s powerful image to accompany such a subpar record that is devoid of any sort of empowering, uplifting, or valuable message, but instead encourages others (including Minaj’s largely White audience) to drop the n-word with reckless abandon couldn’t be further from El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz’s message.

Although hip-hop is often times irreverent and blurs the line between the acceptable and the profane (KRS-One used a similar image in 1988), I’d file Nicki Minaj’s song and cover art right next to her mentor Lil Wayne’s abhorrent Emmett Till lyrics.

Maybe it’s a Young Money thing, or perhaps Nicki is truly ignorant of Malcolm X’s legacy and what he died for, but she should be ashamed of herself for invoking our “Black shining Prince,” who proudly called himself an “Afro-American,” not a n—ga, to pedal such a vapid, mindless song.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always considered Nicki Minaj to be an intelligent, confident woman who—despite her over-the-top persona and pop tunes that weren’t my style—had a good head on her shoulders. But either she’s not as smart as I thought, or her team has led her astray. Either way, invoking Malcolm X to sell a song called “Looking Ass N—gas” (during Black History Month no less) is just straight up wrong.

Dear Nicki:  Sis, you must do better.

  • Brad

    Wow, just wow…

  • vintage3000

    “I don’t know about you, but I’ve always considered Nicki Minaj to be an intelligent, confident woman”

    No offense but I can’t imagine why anyone would think this. This is the same chick who rapped about ‘nappy head so and so’s needing a perm.’ This latest disgrace does not surprise me.

    Thanks for posting Mr. Davis’ eulogy, I love how Spike helped immortalize that moment in our legacy. Esp when the South African kids came on screen and announced I am Malcolm X, still gives me chills.

  • MsTwix

    It’s like she did this crap on purpose to keep her name in the headlines. iCan’t, je ne peux pas, no puedo. smh
    #FAIL

  • Ask_Me

    So far as I can tell she’s giving black men a piece of what they’ve given black women over the years with rap/hip-hop. As the great Malcolm X once said, “The chickens have come home to roost.”

    I don’t agree with her invoking Malcolm X’s image to get her point across, but maybe this was done on purpose. Maybe she was intentionally trying to be disrespectful. Out of all the civil rights icons, modern day black men seem to respect Malcolm X more than the others. Maybe she’s intentionally using him to disrespect them collectively.

    The song is probably going to become an rally cry for young black girls/women who idolize her…just like no scrubs did for my generation.

  • Lola

    N-word overload, skimpy outfit that leaves little to the imagination, revolting used to Malcom X image but that smoke’s screen still can’t hide her lack of talent. Desperate, vulgar,trashy, brainless bint. I find her disgusting and totally revolting. I bet that airhead has never read a book in her life.

  • Lola

    N-word overload, skimpy outfit that leaves little to the imagination, revolting used to Malcom X image but that smoke’s screen still can’t hide her lack of talent. Desperate, vulgar,trashy, brainless bint. I find her disgusting and totally revolting. I bet that airhead has never read a book in her life.

  • LeRaeNa

    Great article!

  • Simone L

    You’re right. I never regarded her as such either.

  • Dara

    Wow you’ve always considered Nicki Minaj to be intelligent its funny hearing that from Clutch because you’ll go on and on about how Nigerian women bleach their skin and how a “Nigerian” singer who’s actually from Cameroon is peddling skin bleach but when it comes to Nicki you won’t even talk about how much she’s lightened her’s. I’ll admit,she has talent but I stopped liking her a long time ago after seeing the damage she’s done to her body. I’m not really surprised after all, many young African Americans do not value what the civil rights activists fought for so many years ago. I wish we had more young leaders like Malcolm and Garvey.

  • Natalie B.

    The use of the iconic image for a song like this makes me sad. When did Black parents stop dicussing our history with children and when did they start allowing these “entertainers” to become role models?

  • Laura Charles

    Ummm… If you are a hoodrat or a chickenhead, then maybe this song will be your anthem. Just like I don’t and won’t listen to a song riddled with “b*tch” all through it, I won’t be listening to a song with “n*gga” riddled throughout it either. This is an ignorant disgrace and there is no justification for it. Two wrongs do NOT make a right. There is no grand statement or feminist stand coming from this record.

  • ThirdLight

    Malcolm must be turning in his grave.

    Nicki Minaj is beyond a joke. Worst thing is, other little Black girls look up to her and imitate her, now that makes me feel even sadder.

  • Ask_Me

    You would have to be living under a rock not to see the large number of young black girls who idolize this woman. Many of them are no more “hoodrat” or “chickenhead” as the white girls who idolized Madonna back in the day. Nice of you to show your internalized sexism…brilliant.

    As for two wrongs….Nicki Minaj has just as much a right to speak “her truth” as the next rapper. Again, I don’t agree with her invoking Malcolm X’s image to get her point across, but don’t say anything about her two cents when you sit around bumping T.I. and any number of MALE rappers who often times say worse.

    The outrage here comes across as disingenuous when one points out the MAIN people supporting T.I.’s show are black women. Mind you this man glorifies drug dealing, talking about dumping his man milk on women’s faces etc. Be consistent if you want to be taken seriously and stop inciting “two wrongs…” as if people can’t see the double standard here.

  • http://thenewrandomness.blogspot.com/ The New Randomness

    This is going to come as condescending and generalizing in the worst way, but I can no longer hold my peace. What is wrong with this generation???!!! It’s like y’all have no sense of history. Why do you all think this kind of crap is OK and that it’s not a big deal? I grew up in the 80s and was in college in the 90s, so my perspective is probably different from a significant number of Clutch readers. I’m not saying that Gen X had it all together, but ….Millenials, Gen Y, Z, whatever, I don’t understand you and this type of coonery and ignorance is the reason why. Lawd.

  • http://Immortaltechique.com Mumia abdul jamaal

    Well written piece. i posted it on WSHH. Thanks for your view.

  • http://blackinnovation.org Mike Green

    Deeply embarrassing and irrevocably damaging. Meanwhile, this is the image of black America who is lauded and revered while millions of black Americans have little notion of the history being made at Microsoft by John Thompson, the history being made in economic development by Johnathan Holifield, the history being made in an unprecedented collaboration of HBCU through Chad Womack,PhD, at the UNCF, the history made by Emmett Carson who founded the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and manages more than $4 billion (yes, billion! How much is Ms. Mine net worth and how is she leveraging it to help others create generational wealth?).

    Meanwhile 150 since slavery and black America has yet to produce even 1% to the annual GDP and economic competitiveness of the nation. Yet, here we are all aghast at the irreverence of a modern-day cultural icon who disrespects the struggles she has no clue are ongoing as she princes around in heels turning back the calendar in a cavalier clueless, but stylish manner.

    Nice.

    The next time Mitt and his ilk meet behind closed doors to talk about us,let’s leave out the hidden mics. We know what they’ll be saying.

    Thanks Ma. Minaj.

  • http://blackinnovation.org Mike Green

    Sorry about the typos in my previous comment. Smartphones still think they are smarter than humans.

  • Chadae

    Please PLEASE do not lump Gen Y all together, especially if you haven’t found one with a decent brain…that’s your fault then. Not all of us are like that and by lumping the gen together as asinine and useless you’re essentially giving up on all the great young black people. I don’t even like Nikki and hip hop hasn’t been good since Outkast ‘left’. My parents are early Gen X so I grew up in that so-called ‘new black movement’ but let’s face it. Our people, the majority, the ones that needed the most help, have not moved on since MLK died. Not one step.

    What are we (the minority: folks with education and not nigga mentality) supposed to do? Idiots like her are oppressing us further by letting our oppressors know that we don’t even care about the men that wanted to bring us fully out of slavery.

  • C Love

    @TheNewRandomness-You are correct. Your comment is offensive. I’m a millennial who came across this article because another millennial posted it. We were both disgusted by this blatant misuse of a Civil Rights activist. As someone who works in urban education, I’ve seen a great deal that children (especially our children) don’t know or understand, but if a child doesn’t know something it’s not the child’s fault. It is the fault of the adults in that child’s life. The problem we face now is children who weren’t taught to value our history and struggle are now adults and have their own children. That’s not a millennial problem-especially since not all of us are that way. No, that’s a community problem, and it will take all of us to fix it.

  • Anonin

    I’ve never liked Nicki Minaj she can appease simple people with her faux womanist quotes and explanations but I see her for what she is. Never fooled me.

  • Nerdstradamas

    I wouldn’t be surprised if in some warped, unaware way, Nicki thought her message was politically on par with that of a Malcolm X. Not saying she feels she is equal to Malcolm X and his campaign – but I think she felt her song was in some way a social commentary of value. It was of importance and held some weight.

    I’m just trying to figure out what type of ignorant haze she was in, and judging by her “apology” this is my speculation.

    P.S. I am not a Minaj apologist. Just trying to figure out where the hell her head was.

  • Kelly Johnson

    The author actually thought Nicki Minaj was intelligent with a good head on her shoulders? WTF? She’s a damn coon, like 90 percent of these black artists today. The notion that people are actually surprised she’d do something like this is dumbfounding to me.

  • GlowBelle

    So Nick Minaj did something stupid and ignorant and you’re surprised? Really now? I have never co-signed anything Minaj has done. Even when she came out and started being all “sisterhood” and getting womanist bloggers all hyped, I still knew she wasn’t right. From her ignorant music to her trash talk and ugly attitude, she is nothing but problematic, and this seals the deal right here. I hope some people wake up to the fact that Minaj and others of her ilk aren’t doing a damn thing to push anything forward for the Black community and are really part of the problem of what continues to hold us back. Minaj in her pea-brained mind probably thought she was making a statement, but it shows how her and her team of people are just all about the money and would gladly throw our own heroes, our history under the bus for a dollar. This isn’t art, this isn’t paying homage to a great man, this is uneducated trash and it saddens me that some people out there will take what Minaj says as facts and will never understand their true history because they’d believe some rap “star” more.

    Also please do not use one person or a few village idiots to describe a whole generation. I’m in Generation Y and not all of us are on Minaj’s level. Frankly, most of us don’t have the money, celebrity privilege, or the jobs to act this foolish. Some of us would never think to disrespect someone like Malcolm X and his legacy. Some of us do have our heads on our shoulders and we are just trying to keep it above water.

  • kadijah

    As a black woman and a muslimah, I am offended on so many levels with what she did. And I am a millenial. It saddens me that she thinks that photoshopping a painful moment in black history is what equals record sales. I need my generation to actually go read his autobiography and go hear his lectures on youtube. He was about uplifting his people and needing them to do and be better. NM needs to look at who she is and what she is standing for at this point, because all she is feeding is BS and nonsense.

  • Chrissy

    Nicki Minaj isn’t African-American though.

  • http://afronoire.com Deborah Marie

    Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. This is to some extent heartbreaking and of course, very worrying. SMH

  • Pia Adeena

    I am a Muslimah and I feel so bad for brother Malcolm X family and the misrepresentation of his image. I don’t listen to music but I see im not missing anything. Im in my 20s but my generation sadly don’t care about the civil right movement. Masses use these foul words and will continue it with thier offspring.

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