Limelight Barbie: Nicki Minaj Tells All, Part 1

November is here, and so is the first installment of Nicki Minaj: My Truth. I had my doubts about watching this three-part documentary, largely because of how dramatic the previews were. “Unprecedented!” (What, getting Nicki Minaj to sit still?) “Pop’s enigmatic diva!” (Who’s more enigmatic than GaGa?) But I decided to give the documentary a chance because suddenly, I had burning questions about Nicki Minaj. Plus, we could all use a break from the election coverage. What color is her hair right now? Does she really hate Mariah Carey? Can she spell enigmatic? In case you missed it, here’s a recap of Nicki Minaj: My Truth: Part 1.

I went into this with a baseline question: is she crazy, or does she just know what she wants? Before I watched My Truth: Part 1, I wasn’t sure which I thought. Everything I knew about Nicki Minaj came from listening to Super Bass on repeat, her SNL skits and her duet with Sophia Grace and Rosie on Ellen. Nicki doesn’t always make it easy for us to like her, but she also doesn’t have an easy time with critics. She’s always changing her hair and her personality (literally) and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. And not everybody likes that about her. But if they watch My Truth: Part 1, I think they will. It follows Nicki in the studio as she records her next album, on set of ‘The Boys’ music video, during prep for her first day of American Idol and on an appearance for her fragrance.

“I feel like people purposefully don’t see the strides that I’ve made for hip-hop and just for black women in general, and I feel like I’m an easy person for people to ridicule and tear apart.”

My biggest takeaway is that Nicki is a human – and a GIRL – just like us. She gets moody and sad and anxious and nervous. She gets upset when she doesn’t like how she looks. And ironically, even though Nicki is a judge on Idol, she feels judged, too. There’s a scene where she’s trying to pick an outfit for her first day of Idol, and the indecision is as cringeworthy as it is relatable. Underneath all of her success is someone with the same fundamental needs and desires as ours, someone who just wants to look good and be accepted, and that’s pretty refreshing.

“It is very overwhelming at times. Sometimes I just want to like, time out, just stop everything for a second and say wait a minute, because… (sighs) I’m one person.”

But there’s another side to Nicki that’s all business. She’s a hard worker and a perfectionist, and she’s not afraid to crack skulls. In the scenes where she’s in the studio, she describes recording as her “nine to five”, and the smiles and jokes are few and far between. When she’s on set of her music video, she keeps everyone on track and in their places. From music to appearances, Nicki takes her work very seriously, and prides herself on being professional. She really is building an empire.

“I just happen to be one of those artists that see the future.”

What seems to always bring her to life are her fans. I really appreciate how much Nicki seems to love and care about them – all of them. She’s genuinely in awe that anybody would voluntarily support her and love her and spend money on products she’s produced and endorsed. Nicki goes out of her way to have special moments with all of her fans, and I truly believe that she tries to remember each and every one of them.

“I think that if I were to stop having that kind of relationship with my fans, I would quit the business. Because that is sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed.”

Okay, I get it now, and I think Nicki Minaj is pretty bomb. She’s a businesswoman who knows how to get what she wants, but she’s also a human being who just wants to be loved. What do you think? Is she playing us, or is she perfectly innocent? Is she a mogul, or a moron?

We’re only a third of the way there – we haven’t even gotten to the beef with Mariah yet! There’s plenty more to come from pop’s enigmatic diva. Watch My Truth: Part 2 and Part 3 Sundays at 10:30PM ET on E!

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