Is Nicki Minaj's 'American Idol' Gig as Big a 'Milestone' As She Says?
7 months ago
Rapper reacts (maybe too) confidently to new role
The world is as much at odds with Nicki Minaj as likely the alter-egos are inside her head. In just five years, she has become a most enigmatic artist.
For every seizure-inducing, "ho'"-hurling video of hers that is banned by BET, there is a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal offered by family-friendly soft drink conglomerate Pepsi. For every plastic surgery patient that covets her curves, there are tiny toddlers, by way of Britain, who idolize her for an entirely different reason (and appear on "Ellen" to prove it). And for every annual Summer Jam festival she forgoes with an insulting but metaphoric slap to the face, there is a mainstream, mammoth-size televised talent competition that will gladly offer her a spot on its show instead.
That's what FOX's "American Idol" did when they offered the always-colorful conundrum a seat at its judging panel for its upcoming 12th season—for a cool $12 million, no less.
It's a move that Minaj herself confidently (and maybe misguidedly) told MTV News is: "A milestone for me; a milestone for hip-hop; a milestone for young black women."
Considering that the jury is still out on if Minaj is a role model of any sort—one online forum asks if she's, in fact, the "worst imaginable"—is the rapper experiencing an inflated sense of self or is her new role as an "American Idol" judge as significant as she says?
Dr. Ebony Utley, pop culture expert and professor of communication studies at California State University Long Beach, doesn't see Minaj as a trendsetter; if anything, Utley says, she's walking a path that has already been trod upon.
"It's more of a milestone for herself than it is for the hip-hop genre or an entire race of women," Utley said. "Although she raps, her body of work is more pop than it is hip-hop. Her top singles are very much like the hits of Paula Abdul, Jennifer Lopez, and Mariah Carey—all of whom have been judges—and are readily identified as pop artists. Furthermore, I find it ironic that Minaj makes no room for Carey to identify as black which she could choose to do. I also find it curious that Nicki so staunchly identifies as a black woman and yet she appears increasingly lighter and blonder in her most recent videos."