Towards the end of Nicki Minaj’s new song “Anaconda” she says with a slight smirk, “Yeah, this one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the fucking club / Fuck those skinny bitches”. We’ll ignore for a moment that it’s possible for a woman to be skinny and have a big ass. No, it seems that curvy Nicki who dope lyrics aside is also known, well for her anaconda, has seemingly drawn a line in the sand. Girls with big asses on one side, those without on the other. I can only imagine what will happen when this part of the song gets played in the club. There will be some sad, mad, salty skinny, non ass having women holding up the wall.
Because of these lyrics U.K. musician Natalia Kills recently ranted on twitter and called Minaj out for skinny shaming. Says Kills, “Horrified I’m considered a bitch for not being overweight.” She continued with, “Larger-framed women need to stop bullying/victimizing girls with small frames.”
Minaj’s lyrics not only shame skinny women, but reinforce the current idea that ass is king. Once upon a time in the land of Black people and hip hop, big booties were reserved for video hos and the layout pages of King Magazine. However, YouTube twerk videos, big booty Instagram chicks, and celebrities like Kim Kardashian cashing in off her ass, Iggy Azalea on J. Lo’s “Booty” remix, and Amber Rose twerking for her Instagram, have brought ass to the mainstream.
In “Anaconda,” Minaj’s posterior isn’t the only one featured and she is surrounded by a handful of women of varying shades who have big, round juicy butts. They shake them. They twerk them. Minaj pats the girls playfully on their bottoms. The video seems to be screaming: this is the standard. This is what matters. Ass, ass, ass. Oh wait. Here’s some more ass. What men (Black men especially) have drooled over for forever and a day in private and in public, has now been stamped as the most important thing to have by hip hop’s most prominent female rapper. And if you don’t have one?
We must remember, however, that “Anaconda” uses Sir Mix-A-Lot’s song “Baby Got Back” as a sample. The original song starts off with two white women talking about a Black woman’s behind. “Oh my God, Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guy girlfriends.” There is disgust for this full-figured woman who does not fit into their standard of beauty, a Eurocentric standard of beauty.
Minaj channels that disgust from twenty-two years ago and flips it to fit today’s standards. Kind of ironic isn’t it? Kind of ironic that a skinny white woman is now disgusted for not being the standard. You can call it skinny shaming, but Minaj knows there is some truth in her words because it seems that Black and white women alike are desperate for a big butt and might even die trying to get it. Squats. Butt shots. Surgery. All of these are options that the rich and famous and not so rich and famous take in order to get the best ass possible.
As today’s premier, most recognized female MC, it would have been nice if Minaj had given a shout out to all women – those with and without the bubble. That would have been empowering and encouraging. She could have chiseled away at men’s obsession with a fat ass by redirecting their attention and realizing that it’s not physically possible for every woman to have a large behind. She could have reclaimed the overplayed image of a big butt and a smile as the only that matters.
But she didn’t. And that’s the real shame.
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer who loves cute shoes and sparkly things. Follow her on Twitter: @dianaveiga