Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift swap tense tweets after VMA snub

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10 questions Taylor Swift could have asked herself before picking a fight with Nicki Minaj.

What the hell happened on Twitter last night? While Minaj received nods for her “Anaconda” video in the Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop Video categories, she was shut out of other categories for that hit (and for her “Feeling Myself” clip), including Video of the Year.Taylor Swift led nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards, but quickly was embroiled in controversy when rapper Nicki Minaj suggested she was passed over because of racial bias. In a week that has witnessed Rachel Dolezal’s return, the Ashley Madison hack and those Gawker resignations, we didn’t need any more garbage news – and it’s only Wednesday. While the justification for these awards existing is even thinner than that of the Grammys, it is customary that a musician releasing an instantly-iconic video might expect to be rewarded with at least a nod or two for a Moon Man statuette, with the hopes of being licked on the face by Miley Cyrus if she should win.

Minaj tweeted multiple times that she didn’t understand why her rump-shaking video for “Anaconda” wasn’t up for the top award when MTV announced the nominees Tuesday. The host of the August 30 gala in Los Angeles will be singer Miley Cyrus, who at the 2013 awards stripped down to a flesh-colored bikini and twerked with Robin Thicke — adding to her notoriety but also bringing the bottom-thrusting dance move into the mainstream.

But Minaj stuck to her message, which was that it wasn’t about Swift, but instead it was about how differently they’re treated within the same industry. After the “white media” noticed a possible feud brewing, Minaj tweeted, “Nothing I said had to do with Taylor.” Realizing her misunderstanding, Swift wrote, “@NICKIMINAJ If I win, please come up with me!! She wrote in one tweet: “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” She also tweeted, “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination.” “I’ve done nothing but love & support you,” she tweeted to Minaj. “It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. She noted that her video for “Anaconda” — which is dominated by twerking — broke what was then a record for first-day views and turned into a popular meme for Halloween costumes. Rather, she shared her thoughts about the suckerpunch feeling we’ve all experienced when we’ve lost out on something that we worked for and wanted.

Swift broke Minaj’s first-day view record with “Bad Blood,” in which the 25-year-old pop superstar appears as an action hero with a bevy of fellow stars including actress Jessica Alba and model Cindy Crawford. How did Swift end up in this terribly awkward — yet not on-brand awkward — passive-aggressive call-out of suspected girl-on-girl anti-feminist crime in the first place, which now has Minaj fans, as well as foes of white women jumping in to hog the spotlight from women of color, murmuring “noooooooo” in unison?

Rather than assuming (forgive me) bad blood on Minaj’s part with that initial tweet, Swift could have stepped back before jumping in and asked herself a few questions first. Mars retweeted her and added, “SHOW YOURSELF!!! @edsheeran.” Sheeran, who is 5-foot-8, proved to be a worthy opponent, telling the 5-foot-5 “Locked Out of Heaven” singer, “@BrunoMars any way we do dis you gon’ come up short.” Mars wrote, “That Cut deep..U always know how to sheer me to the core. In addition to “Bad Blood,” Swift was nominated in two categories for “Blank Space,” in which she plays a romantic villain feuding with a lover at a mansion. But it was Minaj’s comments about how “the ‘other’ girls” release record-breaking videos and earn nominations that created a ripple of tension and misunderstanding. What if I only assumed Minaj was talking about me because on some level, even though I cannot yet articulate it, I am at least half-aware that I benefit personally and professionally every day from systems and institutions that assign both innocence and power to women who look like me, at the expense of other women who do not? 3.

The racial dynamics of the nominations mirrored a debate at the latest Grammys where critics questioned the four nominations given to white Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, although she ultimately went home empty-handed. And plays Cluedo with SuBo, but you lose coz you blow.” If Ronson wins the Moonman trophy, though, he won’t be the only one feeling like a champ. “If Uptown Funk wins a VMA, I’m buying wu-tang beach towels for 100 people on twitter,” the producer promised his Twitter followers Tuesday. Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” which opens with a shot of the strutting body of a woman whose face I’m never allowed to see and quickly turns to a celebration of the male ensemble, vamping and dancing for each other and occasionally catcalling a parade of more women whose faces we aren’t allowed to see, save one auntie-like figure under the lone hair dryer not commandeered by this preening group of beauty-shop infiltrators, her visible face and bemused expression clearly a sign that she is not to be regarded as a sexual being, I mean Jesus, if you just watch it with the sound off, the Madonna-whore complex on this retrograde sanitized sleaze, am I right? 7.

Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. They made Swift’s tweet sound like a tone-deaf reaction to a black artist trying to speak about the hypocrisy of an industry that profits from the commercialisation of parts of African American culture without rewarding the creators of those trends (see Azealia Banks’ impassioned Hot 97 interview from last year for a recent example). Newsflash: parts of the US music industry have been built on exploitative terms for musicians, and for years white artists covered and repackaged black music to make it palatable for mainstream, segregated radio. One part of the issue Minaj raised confronts the industry’s collusion with the structures of white supremacy that would rather sanitise black art for a white audience than celebrate it in its original form.

Is it too late to just say fuck all this hollow bullshit I bought into when I was 15 and go study in solitude for a year or two with the nuns who are screwing Katy Perry over on that real estate deal? It manages to introduce a story arc, abandon it about 40 seconds in, and stagger to a resigned reliance on wind machines and models wearing bondage gear.

Minaj earns a few extra points for promoting a variety of body types, having a sense of humour and subverting a saucy “whipped cream on breasts” sequence into one where she slices a banana into pieces (yes, men, that moment is meant to make you worry about your penises). Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud video feels like a stylised So You Think You Can Dance audition and Beyoncé’s 7/11 was shot on a phone, in a hotel. Only Kendrick Lamar’s politically inclined Alright, budget CGI included, and the colourful, joyful silliness of Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk featuring Bruno Mars deserve their nods. I’m all for important discussions on the state of authorship and recognition for black artists in pop – but as Swift’s tweet showed, couching those analyses in something as pointless as the VMAs soon sidetracks the conversation.

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