Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, and Why Black Women Don’t Matter
This Tuesday, a feud on Twitter between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj sparked a discussion on race and gender. The feud began when Minaj released a series of tweets about being snubbed for a VMA nomination for her music video “Anaconda,” which featured a sexually empowered celebration of curvy Black women.
“If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” Minaj tweeted.”Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it.”
Minaj then tweeted, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.”
This prompted Taylor Swift to tweet back, “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.”
Swift considers herself a feminist, but her comment is problematic because it perpetuates feminism that excludes women of color and brands Minaj as “an angry Black woman.”
In fact, some media outlets have been feeding this trope by portraying Minaj as unhinged while Swift is depicted as the calm. Both Swift and the media portrayal of the feud demean Minaj and her opinion, which is a shame when Minaj has made a very valid point.
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) July 21, 2015
Black women rarely receive true recognition for their pop culture contributions. If we say something or attempt to do something about it, then we get told that “everybody matters.”
The feud between Swift and Minaj is reminiscent of the #WhiteGirlsRock hashtag that circulated on Twitter during the Black Girls Rock! awards show earlier this year. Like Swift, the people who supported the hashtag stated that Black Girls Rock! was pitting people against each other.
This feud is more than just a celebrity rivalry. It is also a reflection of our current racial climate, one in which we have been told “All Lives Matter” when Black men and women have been killed by police and haven’t received justice.
If every woman truly mattered, then Black women would receive the same amount of recognition as white women. If every woman truly mattered, then Black women would be seen and heard as women.