Has there ever been a topic that you’ve had such an opinion on but you haven’t quite found the correct string of words to form a sentence to explain your opinion? That’s been me over the Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj “Twitter spat”. I, like many others found myself embroiled in the debate on Wednesday morning and I’ve been searching for the best ways to portray my feelings about it ever since because I just felt like I HAD to blog about it. Each time I’ve taken to the keyboard to but my verbal to black and white, it’s come out a muddle of words and I’m not sure whether it quite makes sense or whether it will offend someone out there.
Let’s ignore the fact that a large majority of people are jumping to Minaj’s defence under the “NICKI A BAD BITCH AND NICKI IS FIERCE” mentality and take a look at how the credibility of Minaj’s outrage is lost when you look at the the artists that share the Video of the Year nominations and have done over the years. Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar for 2015. Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azaela, Beyonce, Sia and Pharrel for 2014 and Justin Timberlake, Macklemore, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Robin Thicke for 2013, each representing “other” types of music and come in all shapes, sizes and races.
In fact, Minaj’s argument falls down the moment she calls out being nominated for the award being for “slim girls” when you see that 7/11 by Beyoncé is also nominated in that same category. The understanding that Nicki was not calling out Taylor Swift but rather calling out the establishment for ignoring black women about everyone again falls down when you again see Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lauren Hill, MIA and Adele making up past lists of nominations. (Throwing Adele in there as she is white but not slim so I’m unsure as to whether her nomination would be seen as legit). Infact, Rihanna is one of the only artists to have won the coveted award more than once.
It’s funny that Beyoncé’s name comes up so many time, Beyonce who has kept schtum on the entire situation in which Minaj mentioned her a number of times. Firstly, due to their collaboration on the song Feeling Myself which the singer felt deserved a nomination (she tweeted MTV directly to ask whether it missed the deadline. Unfortunately, the video was released directly to music app Tidal and therefore could not be nominated. Awkward.) and secondly to say that Beyoncé herself had said she LOVED the Anaconda video (so did me mum but that doesn’t mean it automatically deserves a nomination, right?)
The crux of it is whether I think that Minaj has valid points on the representation and racism of black women in the music industry in particular? Yes, I do. And I think it’s a topic that over the last couple of days has been brought to the forefront of many people’s minds due to the coverage of magazines and news website.
But on the other hand do I think that the timing and way in which her messages were worded (and delivered) were representative of such a poignant message? Not at all.
Perhaps it may have been an idea for Taylor to have reflected and realise that even if she felt as though Nicki was calling her out, she should have realised that it would eventually be to address a greater purpose. That’s under the presumption that humans do not react with emotions and from instance. If anything what Taylor Swift may be guilty of is jumping to her own defence in front of an audience of millions when such a divisive debate is about to explode in her face.
In Taylor’s defence, as human beings we all react quickly when our reputation and names are taken in vain. Looking into the subtext of text (which we’re all guilty of, reading between the lines has become our favourite past time) the message taken at face value from “that tweet” which implies that you’re nominated for an award due to being “slim and female” completely denotes your work as an artist, no matter how successful or how many awards you’ve won. In that split moment I believe Swift simply reacted in the same way that any one of us would have. If the tweet was on the other foot and Taylor hadn’t been nominated but Nicki had, and a like minded “you have to have to be curvy and act like strippers in videos to get a video of the year nomination” was sent do you think Minaj would have responded? Even if it transpired later that Taylor was simply addressed the establishment on a whole rather than the nominees as individuals.
I don’t believe that Taylor should have been shamed by Nicki, her fans or the industry in a whole for reacting when her right to be included as a nominee for such a prestigious award was put down simply to size and race, and despite Swifts public apology to Minaj, I don’t believe that having a voice or daring to speak should be something that we should have to apologise for.