Nicki Minaj set the Internet on fire the moment she uploaded the artwork to her next single “Anaconda” to her Instagram account last Thursday. Supporters have rallied up to vociferously support Nicki while critics have chosen to lambast her for the photo, as if we have never seen a woman’s body before.
Chuck Creekmur, the owner of AllHipHop, seems to think so.
On Friday, Chuck posted a letter to Nicki on a website called MommyNoire, “a flagship destination for the black pregnancy community.” In the letter he proposes that Nicki look to the late Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee as inspiration for how to carry herself and what type of image she should project for young girls to see.
Look, I get it, I have two daughters myself, and my 10-year-old is looking more and more like a woman every day. She had a crush on a boy at school last year, recently her mother bought her a few training bras, and her menstrual cycle is right around the corner to ruin my life. Such is life as a father raising a daughter, her sexuality frightens me beyond belief, as I’m sure is the case with you as well.
But sometimes it’s not that serious, sometimes we just have to come to grips with the fact that our daughters will one day be women as well, and will likely want to celebrate their sexuality. I’m not here to tell the man how to raise his children, that isn’t my place, but if Nicki or any other celebrity holds that much weight over your daughter’s decision making or identity, you need not look any further than your own household to fix that.
Plus, it’s not as if Nicki is the only female artist to flaunt her body to the public, or even the only Black female pop star. Last night, HBO aired a clip of Beyonce performing “Blow” at a recent On The Run tour stop. The song is bluntly about cunnilingus, and during her performance Yonce rocks a costume with exaggerated nipples, to give the allusion that you are seeing her bare breast.
Or how about the “Partition” video from February, where Bey flaunts her “perfect posterior” in the very same way Nicki did, with nothing but a g-string to cover it, while singing yet another song about oral sex. Why no outrage then?
After all, Mrs. Carter is, according to Forbes, the world’s most powerful celebrity, her reach is undeniably larger than Nicki’s. Bey counts the First Lady of the United States as one of her fans, and Mrs. Obama even brought her daughters to a show recently to watch that exact performance mentioned above.
Many publications applauded Beyonce’s latest album, full of sexual lyrics and undertones, as a celebration of sexuality, and Beyonce herself did the same in Out magazine in April.
“I’d like to believe that my music opened up that conversation. There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality. There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist—whatever you want to be—and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”
It’s a feminist message about equality, one that I would begrudgingly enjoy my daughters emulating. Women are equal to men, no matter the situation. Nicki is just a year younger than Beyonce, and, if you believe the rumors, she’s married to her longtime significant other as well. Nicki delivered a similar message at the BET Awards a few weeks back, women can do anything.
This is the type of valuable lesson our daughters should be learning. Then there’s the underlying message Nicki and Beyonce’s success and mere existence embodies, especially for young girls of color. In that sense both women can be inspirational, even if they aren’t 100% role models, and attempting to slut-shame Nicki for showing off her body is completely contradictory to that.
Or be angry at the double standard that Nicki shed light on on her Instagram this weekend, when she posted similar pictures of skinnier, “whiter” models showing their “perfect posterior” as well. Each picture featured the same caption, “Acceptable,” followed by Nicki reposting her picture with the caption “unacceptable.”
If anything what any of us should be most upset about is how touched up and doctored the photo used for the “Anaconda” cover is. That sends a message to my daughters that I don’t appreciate. The touch-ups imply that even someone as beautiful as Nicki must be altered to be lighter, slimmer and “prettier.” That’s incorrect.
That message rang loud and clear, and with my little brown daughters. That’s more important than the initial picture. The double standard is worth an uproar, not the image of a female body.