Nicki Minaj Outtakes-12_0 Nicki Minaj Outtakes-12_0

Character Study: Just How Real Is Nicki Minaj? (Pg 4)

Perhaps, but when Nicki first heard about LaGuardia, it was singing that interested her. She already played the clarinet and the idea of going to a school where you could sing all day sounded like heaven to her, in a “what’s the catch?” kind of way. The catch was that she was hoarse the day of her audition.

“I knew I’d flunked miserably,” she says. “I was crying and embarrassed and I didn’t want anyone in the school to see me. I just wanted to go home. That was the first time in my adolescent life where my mother put her foot down. Normally I made the rules.” Her mother insisted she go through with the drama audition, so she stomped to the basement, walked into the auditorium, and then something remarkable happened.

“You know when you’re doing something you were put here to do, and there’s a moment when it’s so easy. And you’re like, ‘Wait, not everyone can do this?’” The next thing she knew, she’d been accepted to the drama program.

After high school, Nicki had two things on the brain. First, she wanted to make sure she had a job, because a job meant she could afford her own apartment and that white BMW she had her eye on. Second, she wanted to make rap music.

One of her jobs was serving biscuits and shrimp to jerks at Red Lobster in the Bronx for $12 an hour. She hated it, but she always found a way of amusing herself and the other waitresses on her shift. One time, on an especially busy night, she was rushing to get some plates to a table and one of her super-long nails popped into a customer’s salad.

“Our manager said ‘Look at this, Onika. This is not good,’” recalls a former coworker. “And Onika goes, “Damn, I know! I can’t believe I just broke my freaking nail!’”  That didn’t get her fired, though. She was fired for following a customer into the parking lot, knocking on his car window and giving him the finger. “He stole my pen!” she says cackling. “I gave him the pen to sign the credit card slip, and I was gonna show him: I will lose my job for a pen. So I chased him into the freaking parking lot. Who does that?!”

The hardest part about getting fired— and Nicki always got fired— was telling her mother she would have to come back home. “I never wanted to accept that I was not ready to live on my own. My mother would call. I would be like, ‘Everything’s great!’ But I wouldn’t have food in the refrigerator. I refused to ask for anything.”

They still talk every day, but the timbre of the calls has shifted. “Now it’s ‘Hey, can you buy me a house?’” Nicki says with a weary laugh. “It’s a completely different conversation. In such a short space of time, everything changed.”

All the while, she was making music. The guys she hung out with in Queens all rapped, and at first they just wanted her to sing their hooks. “I hated doing anything that made me seem like a girl at that time,” she says. “I wanted to be as strong as the boys and as talented as them and I wanted to show them I  could do what they did.” She’d save up her money for studio time, record songs and then drive around the neighborhood in her BMW playing her music. “They always took notice,” she says.

Other people took notice, too. First was Fendi, a Brooklyn street-rap guy who discovered Nicki on MySpace and signed her to his underground label Dirty Money. On a DVD called The Come Up, which featured Lil Wayne on the cover, she rapped over The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Warning.” The ballsiness of the choice made people talk. It created buzz. And most important, it got the attention of Lil Wayne.

IT HASN’T BEEN a cakewalk. It may look like a lot of fun given all the curious wigs, affected accents and boob signing. But when she isn’t busy putting on airs, Nicki is very serious and hardworking. “Focused, man,” says Ludacris of her on-set work ethic. “She has high expectations, so there’s no time for games.”

Like anyone, though, she makes mistakes— like that time she skipped town while Young Money was recording in Miami to do a solo show she’d forgotten about. To be fair, Nicki had her own career to worry about, and a prior engagement is a prior engagement. But it’s not every day Lil Wayne asks you to hang around and record a top 10 hit in the making. It was an early blunder, and when she got back to town, she got the bad news: Wayne had kicked her off the song “Bedrock.”

When Nicki was a little kid and her mother told her she couldn’t do something, she’d go to her room and makes lists of all the reasons she could. She’d then present it to her mother until she got her way— which is exactly what Nicki did with Wayne. Holed up in her hotel, Nicki wrote three new verses, thinking that if she presented Wayne with all four, he’d have to like one of them. 

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Amber Guyger Appeals Murder Conviction In Botham Jean Case

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger has appealed her murder conviction this week in an effort to receive a shorter sentence, the Star-Telegram reported on Friday (Aug. 7). Guyger is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for fatally shooting Botham Jean inside his apartment in 2018.

Attorneys for Guyger claim that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction. The legal documents reportedly want the murder conviction tossed, or changed to criminally negligent homicide.

“I feel like she received a slap on the wrist for taking my brother’s life,” Botham Jean’s sister Allis Findley. “This tells me that she feels like she didn’t do anything wrong. She did not step on my brother’s toe. She took his life.”

Guyger was found guilty on Oct. 1. She maintains that she entered Jean’s apartment believing that it was her own. Guyger testified that she shot Jean believing that he was an intruder.

“She should have received life, so she should take her 10 years in prison and shut up,” added Findley. “If the court was to do this it would prove that, yes, there is systematic racism and white privilege does prevail over Black life. I’m hoping this appeal gets thrown out and her conviction holds. I’m hoping they overturn the 10 years and give her life instead.”

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Oprah Winfrey Puts Up 26 Billboards Demanding Justice For Breonna Taylor

Oprah Winfrey and the team at O, The Oprah Magazine, erected 26 billboards demanding the arrest of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. The billboards went up all around Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday (Aug. 6).

“Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested an charged,” the billboards reads. The billboard encourages people to visit (the organization co-founded by Tamika D. Mallory, Mysonne Linen, Angela Pintom and Linda Sarsoir) and includes a quote from Oprah, “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”

🚨Billboard Alert🚨

26 billboards - for every year of life of #BreonnaTaylor erected in Louisville, KY.

Kentucky will not forget her name. We will get justice for Breonna.

— untilfreedom (@untilfreedom) August 6, 2020

A drawing of Taylor also covers the Sept. 2020 edition of O Magazine, marking the first time that Winfrey wasn’t the publication’s covergirl. Winfrey decided to use the magazine’s 20th anniversary cover to amplify Taylor’s story.

On March 13, Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot to death by former and current Louisville police officers Jonathon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove. None of them have been charged in her murder.

“She was just like me. She was just like you,” Winfrey wrote on Instagram. “And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often.

“The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon.”

See the cover below.


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Breonna Taylor. She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of @oprahmagazine. The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon. Head to for more—and thank you to @alexis_art, a 24-year-old digital artist, who captured the essence of Breonna. The issue will be available wherever you buy or download magazines on 8/11.

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on Jul 30, 2020 at 5:32am PDT

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Watch The Moment T.I. Learns He’s Going To Be A Grandfather

Congratulations are in order for T.I.’s stepdaughter, Zonnique. The singer is expecting her first child with boyfriend and rapper, Bandhunta Izzy (a.k.a Isreal James).

Zonnique, who will be welcoming a daughter with Izzy, surprised Tip with the baby news during an episode of her Fox Soul show The Mix on Wednesday (Aug. 6).

Needless to say, Tip was shocked. So much so, that it took him a minute to actually process the announcement, even after his wife, Tiny, confirmed that they weren’t pranking him.

Zonnique broke the pregnancy news to PEOPLE earlier in the week, and opened up about the drawbacks of being pregnant during a pandemic.  “It really sucks being pregnant during the coronavirus,” she admitted. “At first, I'm like, 'This is the perfect time, like everybody is locked in. I don't have to worry about going out. So if I want to hide it for however long, I can hide.'

“But when it comes to going to doctor's appointments, I go to all of them by myself. I ask every single time, 'Can I bring my boyfriend?' And they're like, 'No, only you can come.' That's been the worst part," she added.

“I'm hoping by the time I'm ready to have the baby it will be over with. But I'm sure it won't be, so I'll be in there with one person, most likely. I'm just trying not to get my hopes too high anymore.”

Peep the video below to see Tip's hilarious reaction to learning that he's going to be a grandfather.

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