Words By Marky Mark
Nicki will focus on her upbringing in Queens during the ‘90s. While it’s one thing when a network announces a show, it’s a much bigger deal when there’s a cast in place and a production start date on the books. ABC Family* is committed to the show, Nicki is obviously excited about it, but it seems to be a footnote right now. Here are five reasons it shouldn’t be.
1. Another rapper is back on network TV with a sitcom.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In the House, Living Single, Eve…Method and Red. In the history of network sitcoms, there have been only three centered on rappers and only one (Fresh Prince) has been semi-autobiographical. These shows, especially Fresh Prince, were so important in the ‘90s because they showed mainstream America that hip-hop was okay — that the music their kids were listening to and slang they were adopting wasn’t going to cause the degradation of society after all.
Fresh Prince, along with the other shows mentioned, also showed Hollywood that African-Americans and African-American culture could be just as popular and successful on television as any other race. Every week, Will Smith, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, eve and Method Man and Redman got the chance to show they could be personable, funny, and relatable. Minaj won’t get the exact same shot since the show is about a younger version of her and she’ll guest star on episodes here and there. But the show is about her life and she will get the chance to share her world vicariously through the full-time cast.
2. Whoopi Goldberg lends the cast credibility.
As one of the few EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) recipients on the planet, Whoopi’s involvement with this lends gravitas to it, even if it’s just as a guest star. It’s a signal to the audience and the television community that the material is good and needs to be taken seriously.
3. Nicki’s rant against Bossip has more weight.
It was only a couple weeks ago that she was using those Twitter fingers to reprimand Bossip for insinuating she just a pretty face with a dope body. To her credit, Nicki doesn’t get a lot of credit for being a smart woman. She’s parlayed her fame to truly become a brand, whether it’s partnering with Pepsi, being a host on American Idol, and now this show.
That’s not to say she doesn’t carry some of the blame for that as well. That aforementioned thirst trap pic? It doesn’t really go a long way in dispelling the stereotype but the idea of a female MC showcasing her feminine wilds while also getting respect for her mic skills is a conversation for a different day. I read one of her tweets to a friend of mine and he laughed when she called herself a “mogul,” but what about that title is laughable?
4. She broke through the boys’ club.
Hip-hop has been and always will be a male-dominated sport. For a female voice to be loud and powerful enough to thrive and find its way in a Hollywood executive meeting is a rarity, especially if it’s not on a reality show. Nowadays, whatever season of Love and Hip-Hop VH1 is showing is about the only way for women in the culture to be on TV. Actually, it’s about the only way for the culture to be on TV, period. It’s going to be a nice change of pace to see SOMEONE from the music we love not shown in that most ratchet of lights.
5. She’s boldly going where only a few have gone before.
Will Smith, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah. Puff Daddy, Rev Run. Those are a few of the handful of names who can say they’ve gone from the booth to producing a TV show or having their own production company. This show isn’t just about her, but Nicki is also an executive producer of the show. This isn’t just something she’s lending her name to in vain, but she’s a true creative force behind it. This move and her spot in Barbershop 3 represent her making inroads to possibly more.
We give male rappers props all day every day for the business moves they make. Whether it’s Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, or Drake. For someone who’s consistently delivered on the mic and gone toe-to-toe with cats we consider to be great or hall of fame artists, it’s time to give Nicki those same props as well. With very few superstars in the game, she’s one of the brightest we have.
Yeah, we talk about her showing she’s still hood at the VMAs, beefing on Twitter with whomever whenever, her sometimes conflicting messages, and even her boyfriend’s ongoing dramas. But, there’s a reason it’s the “Rapper dating Nicki Minaj” and not “Meek Mill’s girlfriend.” The rest of the world is taking notice; it’s time we do the same.
* – ABC Family will be #Freeform in January. Yes, the first hashtag channel.