Nicki Minaj is taking the airwaves by storm. Some people think this is a bad thing. Michael Areceneaux is not one of them
In terms of pop cultural relevance, female rappers have gone the way of a Furby doll.
In fairness, there have been some that have enjoyed success but it’s been several years since any new female emcee has reached a level of popularity to rival that of Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, or Salt ‘n Pepa.
That is, until 25-year-old Nicki Minaj, née Onika Maraj, managed to use YouTube, mixtapes, and a Barbie-based imaged to build a following so large that she’s now on the tip of everyone’s tongue – all before the release of a debut album.
She’s only now premiering her first solo video, yet her image has everyone talking, only the sentiments conveyed about it vary.
The rift stems in disagreement over how Minaj has molded herself and those who draw inspiration from it.
Nicki Minaj refers to her fans as “Harajuki Barbies.” The term is a mesh of references to the Harajuki culture in Japan and the classic American staple, the Barbie doll.
Like Minaj herself, fans play dress up, wear pink hair and make up, and call each other a bunch of silly names and terms not even a fan-made “Nictionary” can help me understand completely.
But what I do know is that an increasing number of young people take to it – so much that the adoration is visible both online and in person. Indeed, many fans of Minaj emulate her style of dress, her hair, her mannerisms, and yes, her ever-fluid accent.
The copycatting has led to discussions about the marketing savvy of Nicki Minaj, and in some cases the ridiculing of those falling victim to it.
When asked about the movement she’s started in a past interview, Nicki quipped: “My movement right now is based on all of the girls in the world – no matter what their race or age is – coming together and having fun.”
She sounds like the Cyndi Lauper of rap, yet to some she’s nothing more than another blond hair, blue eyed envying black woman using sex to sell herself and damaging impressionable youth in the process.
Apparently Nicki yields more leverage than a grade school teacher or college professor – making your little sister, niece, daughter, and possibly your male cousin dumber with every new bar.