On Monday night, celebs and high-profiles stars across various industries gathered on the steps of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for one of the biggest, grandest nights in fashion: The Met Gala.
While a handful of big names were noticeably absent from the carpet (no Beyoncé, no Cardi B, no Zendaya, no Billy Porter, etc.), there was one non-present guest who still managed to become the talk of the night anyway: Nicki Minaj.
It all started when the “Chun-Li” rapper sent out a tweet about the vaccine requirements for The Met Gala and expressed hesitancy about getting it herself.
“They want you to get vaccinated for the Met. If I get vaccinated it won’t be for the Met,” she wrote. “It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.”
After fans and followers clocked the fact that she still hadn’t gotten the vaccine despite the barrage of readily available research from countless medical professionals advocating its safety and proven efficacy, Minaj soon hopped back online with a personal anecdote about a family friend.
“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied,” she wrote.
OK, OK. Time out—I’ve heard some crazy things in my lifetime but, Girl, what? STD-like symptoms from a vaccine? In the spirit of Met Gala red carpet co-host KeKe Palmer and with every facetious fiber of being: I hate to say it, I hope I don’t sound ridiculous—but your cousin might not be telling the whole truth. Just saying.
As emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University Dr. Leana Wen told People, side effects like impotency and swollen genitals are not linked to the vaccine and anyone spouting that sort of rhetoric should be mindful of the well-established deadly effects of the ongoing pandemic:
“It is just not true that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is associated with infertility in either males or females. In fact, we know that there are actually consequences, if somebody gets COVID-19, in terms of the impact on the male reproductive system. There have been studies that have linked scrotal discomfort and low sperm count to having COVID-19. In addition, there has been an association between scrotal swelling and congestion to having COVID-19. So, to emphasize, these are not associated with the vaccine but with the disease.”
Dr. Wen later added, “My concern is that there are already more than 80 million Americans who have yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Many of these individuals have heard misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine and are understandably scared as a result. It is extremely harmful to them to have influential figures, including celebrities with a large social media following to perpetuate this information. In times of crisis, we need for everyone to be singing from the same songbook and that is the songbook of science and evidence.”
I know that’s right. Talk that talk, Doctor!
After getting rightfully criticized online for the aforementioned statements, Minaj later revealed that she most likely will become vaccinated and encouraged others to do so. She also appeared to acknowledge the fact that the vaccines do help in keeping COVID at bay for most folks. After a fan tweeted to her that she had to get the vaccine in order to keep her job, the “Seeing Green” rapper responded:
“A lot of countries won’t let ppl work w/o the vaccine. I’d def recommend they get the vaccine. They have to feed their families. I’m sure I’ll b vaccinated as well cuz I have to go on tour, etc,” she wrote.
In response to another fan saying she got the vaccine and had not contracted COVID, Nicki replied: “That’s amazing babe. This is the norm.”
But despite the “Barbie Tingz” rapper coming to her senses somewhat, it wasn’t enough to stop a self-professed “fan,” The ReidOut’s Joy-Ann Reid, from slamming Nicki for spreading misinformation on her very large, very influential platform:
“And people like Nicki Minaj, I have to say this: You have a platform, sister, that has 22 million followers, okay? I have two million followers. You have 22 million followers on Twitter, for you to use your platform to encourage our community to not protect themselves and save their lives— my God sister, you can do better than that. You’ve got that platform, it’s a blessing. It’s a blessing that you got that, that people listen to you and they listen to you more than they listen to me. For you to use your platform to put people in the position of dying from a disease they don’t have to die from, oh my God. As a fan, as a hip-hop fan, and as somebody who is your fan—I am so sad, so sad that you did that sister.”
In response to Reid, Nicki tweeted: “This is what happens when you’re so thirsty to down another black woman (by the request of the white man), that you didn’t bother to read all my tweets. ‘My God SISTER do better’ imagine getting ur dumb ass on tv a min after a tweet to spread a false narrative about a black woman.”
She later posted screenshots of a past tweet from Reid where she expressed her distrust in the CDC and USDA about the vaccine and an article from Vox, adding, “I guess I can join in the reindeer games too right? Ppl can go on tv & lie on me, I can report on them, too right? Doesn’t have to be truths. It can be half truths. Uncle Tomiana asked who on earth would trust the US FDA guys… @JoyAnnReid”
Reid has yet to publicly respond on social media, but in the meantime, don’t take life-threatening medical advice from celebs, y’all. Go get vaxxed.