When Nicki Minaj accepted her MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop video last night, she thanked her pastor and told women not to depend on “these snotty-nosed boys” before turning her attention back to host Miley Cyrus.
“And now,” she said, “back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
Sweet Jesus. The reportedly unscripted jab was in response to Cyrus’ recent comments to The New York Times about Minaj and Taylor Swift’s July Twitter exchange, in which Minaj addressed “Anaconda” being snubbed for Video of the Year. Cyrus said:
I didn’t follow it. You know what I always say? Not that this is jealousy, but jealousy does the opposite of what you want it to — that’s a yoga mantra. People forget that the choices that they make and how they treat people in life affect you in a really big way. If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it. And it’s not anger like, “Guys, I’m frustrated about some things that are a bigger issue.” You made it about you. Not to sound like a bitch, but that’s like, “Eh, I didn’t get my V.M.A.”
Cyrus used a lot of words, but what the interview essentially boiled down to was a white female artist labeling a black female artist an “angry black woman.”
“It’s not very polite,” Cyrus said of Minaj’s comments. “I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love.” Instead of addressing Minaj’s message, which highlighted the barriers black female artists face in the music industry, Cyrus focused on how it was said. By doing so, Cyrus dismissed the long and storied history of black women being told to bury righteous anger, to calm down and express our fury at systemic inequities we face on a daily basis “politely.”
Spare us. Let’s remember what Minaj’s initial tweets were actually about. In July, Minaj tweeted her feelings on the VMA’s snubbing of “Anaconda” for video of the year, simultaneously calling out misogynoir and body-shaming.
If I was a different “kind” of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well.