… Nicki Minaj is a curious case. At the onset of her career, she had it all – the body, the lyrics, the co-sign – but she instead predicated her image on eccentricities: alter egos, accents, rhymes about being an alien. It’s that embrace of the bizarre that made her such a captivating figure and pushed her into pop territory, where weird is welcome. Regardless of how her music has evolved, she came from a place that took a tired template and mutated it, taking chances rarely seen across the gender divide.
–Steven Horowitz, The Nicki Effect: The Return of the Female Rap Movement
Me? Minaj hurts my head. She perplexes me. I think of her as Trickster, two-faced in her betrayal of global black feminist possibility and powerful in her contradictory elucidation of black woman’s power within the realms of celebrity and hip hop.
…But I’d argue we’ve never seen anything like Nicki Minaj–or at least nothing like Minaj and her alters. What she represents, yes even in all of her problematics and misogyny, what she represents is a black gyrl who has chosen. She knows she can’t walk out the house without falling into one of several boxes. Which is fine by her because she has a walk-in closet full of handcrafted masks, carved, of course, in the raw material caking the bottom of our worst stereotypes (let’s not be wasteful, yall). And she has decorated and bedazzled and glitter-taped them all and those masks are no longer theirs or yours but her own. And she doesn’t walk out of the house; oh no. She skips or saunters or “twerks and spins away” according to whichever personality she has decided to put on her head.
–Kismet Nuñez, “Scrying Nicki Minaj, Stupid Hoe, and #Afrofutures”
And reason 3:
“…It’s like, I can’t be all those things at once. I’m a human beinnnnnnnnnnng.“ (2:18)
[Plus bonus reason 4: God, I love her with pink hair.]
Do your thing, girl.