For Nicki Minaj, Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence Is Bad For Business
Empowering her barbies should include how to handle abuse
*The views expressed are those of the author and not of The Loop 21.*
Last week, reports surfaced that rapper Nicki Minaj was in a domestic dispute at a hotel in Dallas, TX. Almost as soon as the allegations went public, the fiery rapper took to her twitter account to shoot down the claims.
TMZ followed up by posting the police report detailing the altercation that resulted in Minaj being hit with a suitcase by companion Safaree Samuels. Minaj told police not to press charges.
I’m not here to debate what happened in that hotel room but I do want to address what happened publicly as a result of what took place in that hotel room. Nicki Minaj’s persona has influenced millions of young women to call themselves “Barbies”. It’s a woman empowerment movement in it’s own right. Yet, it seems like there is no place for domestic violence to be addressed in this movement either. Minaj took what easily could have been, as Oprah would say, “a teachable moment” and went completely left.
Being the victim of violence doesn’t make you weak. It makes the perpetrator of that violence look weak. Furthermore, Minaj’s insistence that she would have retaliated against the man if she had really been hit is wholly unacceptable.
We need to have a mature conversation around gender violence. It’s not appropriate for anyone to be hit or leave in a stretcher. The automatic response from Minaj should not be one that coincides with her stage image, she is a human being after all. Even if she didn’t want to admit to being hit, a more empowering response could have been “I was not the victim of domestic abuse but if you find yourself in that situation call the police or tell a friend. Get Help!”
Minaj’s denial in the face of the police report is alarming especially considering that African American women have much higher rates of intimate partner violence than other races of women. Nothing is wrong with confirming what you told the police.
If Minaj’s persona is intended to be one of female empowerment, perhaps now is the time to rethink the meaning of empowerment. Aspiring to be a blonde Barbie doll (which is already problematic) is not a laudable goal. Can you imagine Barbie beating down Ken in their Malibu playhouse? Actual empowerment is when women do not feel ashamed for being victimized. With a quarter of women being a victim of sexual or domestic violence in their lifetimes, there is power to be found in solidarity and collective healing.
Underneath her hip hop persona and colorful wigs, makeup and wardrobe, Minaj is a human being first and should not have to project a false sense of strength for her fans.