Last night, a great discussion on twitter took place about Nicki Minaj’s new video “Stupid Hoe” and whether she should be considered an afrofuturistic artist. Here is the conversation. My two sense on it is that it is complicated. Whereas I do not often enjoy Minaj’s music (her vocals are irritating) and her lyrics are at times problematic (the title, “nappy headed hoes,” “I’m the female Weezy,” calling other woman monkeys as an insult), her style could be aesthetically considered afrofuturistic. Also, I do find some aspects of her style problematic, such as her appropriation of the Barbie image. While I do understand the point of popularizing a black Barbie, and we have done that often, which is take something that was not made with people of color in mind and accommodate to it, I do not like what the idea of Barbie as a whole represent. Barbie represents a capitalistic stronghold on what a female has to look like and be like in order to be considered beautiful and worthy. I think Minaj’s use of her image reinforces those ideas or at least conforming somewhat to those ideas. So, while aspects of her may appear to be afrofuturistic, I am not sure if it is completely substantiated by her lyrics and some of the things she celebrates. Afrofuturism is not just the image, but the ideas and philosophy behind the image. However, I do not want to completely dismiss Minaj (as I have tried to before) because her style does encourage a type of black quirkiness (see the Willow Smith video, “Fireball“) and she is affected, like everyone else, by the mainstream music industry that controls dominant black image.
One thought on “Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe” and Afro Futures”
My 2 cents: if she is not afro-futuristic in ideology then no, she is not an afro-futuristic artist. (Ok, now I’m gonna read the twitter conversation)