Nicki Minaj, Do Better: Thoughts on Her Lyric Video for "Only"

On Friday, Nicki Minaj released a lyric video for her new single, "Only."

In it, an animated Nicki portrays a dictator, with animated versions of Chris Brown, Drake, and Lil Wayne portraying elite members of her "regime." While many people enjoy the song, they are not happy that Minaj chose to illustrate it with such highly problematic imagery: Nicki chose images that are reminiscent of the Nazi propaganda videos released during World War II.

Their anger is valid. This was the wrong move, for what is otherwise a great contemporary rap song.

Nicki Minaj has long been a polarizing figure in pop culture and mainstream hip hop. She is a veritable and talented emcee, but some find her music to be trite and reductive. She is a beautiful woman who employs her sexuality in interesting and empowering ways, but some find that she objectifies herself and other women. I personally enjoy that she is a complex public figure. Black women be complex, and we should stop asking them to be otherwise.

But the choice to pair this song with this video portrayal? This choice was wrong. Nicki Minaj should already know this. And if, for some wild reason, she doesn't? Well, by now she does and should acknowledge her carelessness publicly. There is nothing transgressive about using imagery related to the Holocaust, in which millions of people were brutally murdered in the name of "racial cleansing." Making light of genocide to promote a single is not OK. It's just straight-up offensive. As a Black woman whose ancestors were subjected to the same kind of brutality, Miss Minaj should understand this.

Onika, I need you to do better. 

Watch the video below and tell us what you think. 

Photo credit: Cash Money/Young Money Records


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