Weeks ago when rapper Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to expose MTV for perpetuating a system that for so long has failed to make space for women of different sizes and races, media responded by painting a narrative that violently pigeonholes Black women into the angry female mold — one that justifies the assault they so often face.
When America’s Sweetheart Taylor Swift responded in an unsolicited tweet that victimized the pop singer and vilified Nicki, it was clear this was a common story. As NewsOne’s managing editor Christina Coleman wrote in this op-ed, this disheartening practice seems to be ingrained in our society.
Too often women of color are painted as aggressive, an action that leads to the disenfranchisement and abuse of Black women, sanctioned by the false idea that they are angry, strong-willed, and never in need of support or protection.
It’s this same trope that no doubt fuels the high number of Black girls that are suspended in school — Black girls are suspended six times more often than White girls — or targeted by police as we witnessed in McKinney, Texas, when a young Black teenage girl was roughly handled by an officer. And though the derailed message Nicki was trying to spread and the misunderstanding between her and Swift seems worlds away from the abuse that’s happening every day in Black communities, the two are unequivocally connected.
It’s a coincidence we can’t ignore.
That’s a narrative not lost on Twitter users, who took Swift’s attempt to push her own victimhood as the mainstream feminism that so often silences intersectionality.
And it’s the same narrative that no doubt played a role in the treatment of Sandra Bland, the Illinois woman who was arrested last month and died three days later in a jail cell. Video of Bland’s disturbing and aggressive arrest was released at the same time Nicki and Swift engaged in what could have been a productive conversation about intersectionality and the visibility of Black women.
The thread between the three women may seem thin, but a closer look reveals that it’s really not that far-fetched at all.
In this week’s The Retweet, GlobalGrind and NewsOne Editor Christina Coleman discusses that common thread with Allison McGevna, managing editor of HelloBeautiful.com, and Jada Gomez, managing editor of TheUrbanDaily.com.
For more episodes of The Retweet, see here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter
Every Time Nicki Minaj Fought For Women
17 photos Launch gallery
1. "If a man did the same video with sexy women in it, no one would care. You’re talking about newspeople who don’t even know anything about hip-hop culture. It’s so disrespectful for them to even comment on something they have no idea about. They don’t say anything when they’re watching the Victoria’s Secret show and seeing boobs and thongs all day. Why? Shame on them. Shame on them for commenting on “Anaconda” and not commenting on the rest of the oversexualized business we’re a part of."
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2. "I talk about that all the time, I talk about record executives telling me, 'Oh no no no. Female rappers don’t make it anymore. You’ll never get away with that, and you’ll damn sure never get away with rapping and singing.' People who I loved very much attempted to deter me from experimenting with my craft, but I felt I represented all kinds of girls, not just one girl."
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3. "I have a lot of freedom to be crazy. I can rap in a London accent, make weird faces, wear spandex, wigs, and black lipstick. I can be more creative than the average male rapper. And I can show my boobs. Guys can't do that."
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4. "I've always had this female-empowerment thing in the back of my mind—because I wanted my mother to be stronger, and she couldn't be. I thought, 'If I'm successful, I can change her life.'"
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5. "Some women give me the feeling that where there's a will, there's a way."
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6. "There are sexual things that I do that aren’t for a man. I feel empowered sometimes by being sexy and being comfortable enough to be sexy on camera—a lot of woman struggle with that."
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7. "I think of myself as a woman who wants other women to be bosses and to be strong and to be go-getters."
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8. "Every woman is multifaceted. Every woman has a switch, whether she’s going to be maternal, whether she’s going to be a man-eater, whether she has to kick ass, whether she has to be one of the boys, whether she has to show the guys that she’s just as smart or smarter, she’s just as talented or creative. Women suppress a lot of their sides."
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9. "I wanted to create a song that embraced curvy women. I wanted to be sexual but be playful with it."
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10. "When I am assertive, I'm a bitch. When a man is assertive, he's a boss. He's bossed up. There's no negative connotation behind being bossed up. A lot of negative connotation behind being a bitch."
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11. "Sometimes as women in the industry -- if you're sexy or like doing sexy things -- some people subconsciously negate your brain. They think you're stupid."
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12. "I want to be seen as a hard-working businesswoman who really takes pride in writing and rapping in a way that still shows that I’m hungry."
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13. "There’s nothing wrong with speaking my mind, as long as when the song cuts off I’m still a businesswoman and I still respect myself. That’s where the true balance lies in my life. Women should be allowed to be as hardcore and sexual as we want, because men do it all the time."
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14. "With a video like 'Anaconda,' I'm a grown-ass fucking woman!" she says. "I stand for girls wanting to be sexy and dance, but also having a strong sense of themselves. If you got a big ol' butt? Shake it! Who cares? That doesn't mean you shouldn't be graduating from college."
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15. "I’m not judging myself; I’m not dissing what I do. I’m proud of what I’ve done and I’m proud of what I’m working on. I’ve accomplished something and I’m not going to be ashamed to be happy about what I’ve done."
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16. "I always feel it’s important for me to show females that they can be in charge of their own situation. I came into the game creating my own brand. I was doing things very early on that set me apart from people who just took orders and allowed their brand to be created for them."
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17. "I love women who take control, who set standards, and who believe in themselves enough to lead the way in terms of their career. I’ve done that. When I win and when I lose, I take ownership of it, because I really am in charge of what I do. There are a lot of strong male rappers, who’ve influenced me a great deal in terms of my skill, my flow, and my business-savvy side. But at the end of the day, I still want to inspire women. "
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