Friday, December 3, 2010

Nicki Minaj: Modern Day Hottentot....

Nicki Minaj on Regis and Kelly

Love Jones Lifestyle is all about imagine our shock when emcee/performance artist Nicki Minaj appeared on the Regis and Kelly show and was transformed from artist into modern day Hottentot Venus.

While everyone else is focused on what is being called "Bootygate" due to Regis' tapping of Nicki's ass, We were more concerned with the comprehensive objectification of Nicki...Both Regis AND Kelly participate in transforming Nicki into a modern day Sara "Saartjie" Baartman aka the Hottentot Venus. While Regis examines the construction of Nicki's dress, a veiled lead into his groping/slapping/grasping of her posterior, Kelly asks what happens, then leads into a discussion of Nicki's waist measurements. In its entirety, Nicki becomes a museum like display of physical wonder. She is no longer an artist, emcee, singer or performer, but a body.

Regis and Kelly's reaction serves to perpetuate an assault on Black Women's bodies. To see this objectification from both male and female genders of the White race shows that there has been little progress in terms of white males outlooks on Black women's bodies, and also white women.

As opposed to taking a genuine interest in Minaj's art, the bulk of the attention of the interview is focused upon her physical attributes. Even the established artist and business man Lil' Wayne is given short shrift when Regis refers to him as Nicki's "friend"...Wayne is Nicki's boss, he is her CEO, he has groomed her and allowed for her entrance into the industry from the "underground"...but he is still referred to, in a disrespectful, nearly inconsequential way by Regis.

Overall, the power of a national forum, granted by their show allows these two personalities to enact dominant white racialized fantasy by neither acknowledging Minaj's talent nor Wayne's business saavy. Both despite their success, professionalism and talent are reduced to mere slivers of themselves...

In this case we clearly see the devaluation of the Black Artist. In this climate...where the artist is not seen as a serious do you produce? How do artists maintain their respect as artists when they are still seen as a spectacle?


  1. I'm not buying this argument, because the burden of guilt doesn't lie solely on the shoulders of the consumer, or the recipient of the product. The salesperson has some say in the way the product is presented.

  2. I think Kelli was just being Kelli. I think Regis was out of line.He was like school on a Saturday - no class! I think some women (and men) objectify themselves. Ms. Minaj, for example, chose to label herself after a sexual act. But of course, Nikki's self objectification does not excuse Regis's behavior. It's like the guy in the bar who gropes the scantily clad women and says "well, she had it coming." The guy in the bar is wrong and Regis is wrong.

  3. I agree with the sam. Why not put a little of this heat on Minaj herself? Why not put some pressure on the hip-hop artists who do a whole lot more damage to the female image than Regis did? Nicki Minaj herself objectifies women; she refers to women as "bitches", "hoes", etc, no different than the male rappers out here. Now Regis Philbin does something wrong and all of a sudden, we should be appalled by this, when this goes on in every hip-hop video? And what "art" is Minaj putting out? Yeah, you guessed it, the same old misogynist hip-hop that's been around for years. I'll stand up for the majority of women, cause I'm one and also consider myself a feminist, but I refuse to stand up for someone who's this generation's version of lil' kim. Nicki Minaj would throw every other woman under the bus if it came down to it; shame really. What can you expect from someone who calls Lil' Wayne a mentor.

  4. I understand your argument, but I think it would be more appliable if it was about an artist who did not portray herself as Nikki does. Her costumes and rap lyrics invite the objectification and disrespect. As Sam said, it does not excuse Regis, but it also does not excuse Nikki. As for Lil' Wayne, bless his heart being a CEO, but I'd be more impressed if he stayed out of jail. He carries himself like a "friend" to all the white people who use rappers like him to further solidify their "Afro mythological" fallacies, and he is also an "enemy" to all the good in black culture.

  5. @Shan, thanks for commenting. I think Sam ends the post with saying that Regis is wrong...and yes, I think we'd all agree with the representation Nicki Minaj presents...she is sexy, sexual, sexualized, and oftentimes objectifies herself and other women...however, her performance and appearance on Regis and Kelly was a professional appearance...and she was treated quite UNprofessionally, which is the crux of this critique. In videos, "vixens" are working to do exactly what they are doing- to parade around, grind, look alluring etc. etc. In media appearances/interviews, artists usually appear, perform their work, then discuss their work, which Minaj never got the chance to do because of the hosts preoccupation with her physique. Hence the question, how do you maintain your respect as an artist? If we "blame" Minaj for "disrespecting" herself, we still fail to deal with what she produces as an artist.


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