Vixen Vent: Bad Girls Club—Minaj vs. Monae

Someone recently asked me how I, a respected editrix, can embrace two artists as polarizing as Nicki Minaj and Janelle Monae. I ask: Why do I have to choose? I find it funny how quick people are to crown one with a halo and one with horns. Why do we have to evangelize one and demonize the other? Seems kind of lazy to me.

Now, I’m not saying Nicki and Janelle are kindred spirits or even cut from the same cloth—they clearly have a yin yang thing going on: Saddlebacks versus stilettos. The asexual versus the bisexual. One’s from ‘round the way, the other from outer space. Janelle wears tails. Nicki shakes hers. But even with all of their obvious contradictions, it’s hard to mute their similarities.

Both have strategically branded themselves. Monae, the artist. Minaj, the temptress. Though they appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, both performers have built their careers around cleverly constructed characters.

Costumes and alter egos have been an integral part of both of their imaging. Nicki is the impossibly inflated Harajuku Barbie dripping in hot pink and diamonds. Janelle is the tuxedo-clad, bouffant-rocking intergalactic android, Cindy Mayweather.

Their sexuality—or rejection of it—is a vital part of their personas. While half the audience crucifies Nicki for being attracted to both boys and girls, the rest are trying to figure out if Janelle likes either. Both toy with the ideals of gender identity head on—one wearing a corset and the other a cummerbund.

VH1's "Super Bowl Blitz: Six Nights + Six Concerts" - Bronx

They each sport their artistic inspirations on their sleeves. Though she attempts to distance herself from the comparison now, in the beginning of her career Nicki took more than just a cue from Lil Kim—she took her infamous crotch shot and ran with it. She’s adopted the Queen Bee’s affinity for Technicolor tresses, echoes her sexual politics, and even resurrects her familiar cadence and flow.

You can tell that Janelle studied James Brown and MJ’s classic performance footage like an athlete reviewing game film—she can Mashed Potato and Moonwalk like she’s possessed. And the whole cape thing? An obvious homage to the Godfather Of Soul.

And while Janelle is busy revolutionizing soul music, Nicki is reinventing the hip pop wheel. Both ladies are pushing the limits in their respective genres and simultaneously challenging the ever-evolving sound of Black Music. As much as they appeal to separate niches, their once cultish followings are swelling to mainstream mania. Wayne was Nicki’s first serious co-sign, Big Boi, Janelle’s. Now, both are officially part of the Diddy regime. The Bad Boy clearly believes in each of their individual behemoth potentials. Both of his recruits have earned MVP status and are prepped for an A.I. crossover move; the one that thrusts them onto a global arena. Or better yet, galactic. A place where an android and ninja can harmoniously co-exist. Or even collaborate?

From the Web

More on Vibe

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

Continue Reading
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Trina Braxton’s Ex-Husband, Gabe Solis, Dies After Battle With Cancer

Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Trina Braxton (@trinabraxton1) on Dec 21, 2018 at 9:49am PST

READ MORE: Phaedra Parks To Join 'Braxton Family Values' Cast

Continue Reading

Top Stories