After last night’s MTV Video Music Awards it looks like the beef between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift is officially squashed. However, the rift between the rapper and 2015 VMA host Miley Cyrus is just heating up. Last month, when the the VMA nominations were announced, Minaj took to Twitter to express her frustrations about her lack of nominations for the coveted Video of the Year award. Specifically, it seemed strange that the wildly popular video for “Anaconda” and her massively successful video for “Feeling Myself” featuring Beyoncé were overlooked. For Minaj and many others the subs appeared to be a race issue. After all, in the 31-year history of the MTV Video Music Awards, an African-American female artist has taken home the award for Video of the Year a total of 11 times.
@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot..
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 21, 2015
Unfortunately, pop star Taylor Swift, took offense to Minaj’s statement, and the two women went back and forth for a bit before coming to an understanding about the situation as a whole. Swift even joined Minaj on stage during her performance at the VMAs on Sunday. Things might have ended here, if not for the statements that singer and 2015 VMA host Miley Cyrus made in her New York Times interview in preparation for the show. When asked about the Minaj/Swift controversy she stated, “If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself. Say: ‘This is the reason why I think it’s important to be nominated. There’s girls everywhere with this body type.'”
Cyrus went on to explain further “What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite. I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war… I know you can make it seem like, Oh I just don’t understand because I’m a white pop star. I know the statistics. I know what’s going on in the world. But to be honest, I don’t think MTV did that on purpose.”
Though Cyrus certainly has a right to her opinion, her statements came off very poorly and from a place of privilege, especially considering the fact that Cyrus herself has appropriated Black culture for “edge” on more than one occasion. Her statements also weren’t an accurate description of what had actually occurred during Minaj and Swift’s tiff. Race and racism aren’t lighthearted subjects and because of our country’s history there is a lot of anger surrounding them. As a black woman Nicki Minaj has every right to discuss the subject in which every manner she sees fit; politeness certainly isn’t a factor. Choosing not to respond to Cyrus prior to Sunday’s VMAs, Minaj used live television as her platform. While concluding her acceptance speech for Best Hip-Hop Video she stated, “And now back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
Though Cyrus quickly responded by saying her words misconstrued by the media, and that winning an award or not was not a big deal, it seems like Nicki Minaj got her point across. Whether they realize it or not, white pop stars even if they are women, are allowed to occupy a particular space in popular culture that often shuts out artists of color. Though Cyrus had the opportunity to sincerely apologize to Minaj for her statement, she instead chose to be passive-aggressive and make the statement about her. Less than five minutes later Minaj took to her Twitter with a cryptic response. She simply tweeted “Lmfaooooooooooooo”
It looks like the outspoken rapper might have the last laugh.