Nicki Minaj Nicki Minaj

The Criticism of Nicki Minaj is Tired and Perhaps Counterproductive

Onika Tanya Maraj emerged from southside Jamaica, Queens and the critics immediately flocked. The massive criticism was initially understandable being that almost every hip-hop fan was waiting on the second coming of Lauryn Hill. Onika, better known as her stage name Nicki Minaj, was the only female rapper whose voice was heard on every radio station, but she was nothing close to the cocoa-complected emcee and songstress that hailed from South Orange, New Jersey. Nicki, a caramel-colored provocative and quirky rhyme-spitter who initially coined herself as Lil Wayne’s mistress, often rocked colored wigs and weaves. Spitting bars like, “I just had an epiphany. I need to go to Tiffany’s. Fendi on my slippers and my cookie’s always slippery,” she was a far cry from the natural loc-wearing, intuitive Hill.

When the self-proclaimed Barbie first copped a mainstream look, people were outraged by her animated voice and ability to switch personas on wax. Confused, many pegged the Young Money signee bipolar. Wearing a straight jacket while rhyming,”Chef cooking for me. They say my shoe game crazy. The mental asylum looking for me” in Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad” vid immediately validated people’s thoughts. But what speculators failed to acknowledge is that Nicki came from a theater background. The showy rapper-turned-singer graduated from LaGuardia High School with a concentration in drama, making her animation far from far-fetched.

Not too long after the speculation about her schizoid personality, many honed in on her questionable bisexuality. Homophobes were outraged and the LGBT community was too, mainly lesbians. Many queer women felt that the Trinidadian rapper only used her alleged bisexuality to woo men. That was until she shut down all accusations during an interview with Black Men magazine, where she clearly stated that she does not have sex with women.
Once the LGBT community forgave and forgot about that fiasco, people deemed her influence on the female image irresponsible. Calling herself a "Barbie" was considered dangerous and detrimental to the self-esteem of young black girls, but it was far from dangerous to Nicki’s career. Mattel ignored the hate and created an official Nicki Minaj Barbie, which was sold for $5,605 at a charity auction.

Throughout it all, a lackluster beef was started with rap veteran Lil' Kim who claimed that Nicki Minaj stole her style. Nicki Nick, however, continued to create diss records, adding fuel to Kimberly’s fire. Nonetheless, valid disappointment and outrage came on the heels of Nick's “Stupid Hoe” video, another alleged diss record towards the Queen Bee. But before the criticism of “Stupid Hoe” made its rounds, Nicki broke the record on VEVO for having the highest first-day views ever, accruing 4.8 million views. Regardless of the record-breaking event, perhaps the swift criticism is the reason why BET banned the video.

Nicki is constantly criticized but seems to gain more fans and even more endorsements. While being on the verge of crossing over to becoming one of the biggest pop stars, Nicki snagged herself the title of spokesperson alongside Ricky Martin for MAC’s 2012 Viva Glam campaign. The multicolored wig-wearing future mogul just performed during halftime at the Super Bowl with Madonna and M.I.A. She even made her way to the Grammy’s and the NBA All-Star game in Orlando.

After just a few short years, Nicki Minaj is monopolizing the rap industry, and the doors have cracked open for a variety of female rappers again. Blogs and media outlets are consistently noting the endeavors of newbies Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea, Brianna the YRB, Nyemiah Supreme and more. It’s time to hop off the Nicki Minaj-bashing bandwagon. Thank her for reopening the door and highlight the myriad of alternatives to her.

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)

 

READ MORE: Nas Makes Forbes’ List Of ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings’ For The First Time

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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

READ MORE: Kelly Rowland Debuts Smoke x Mirrors Eyewear Collection At Barneys New York

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