Kit Steinkellner
July 31, 2014 11:59 am

Recently, Nicki Minaj, a rapper, singer, and songwriter who is so freaking talented she could probably turn a Gregorian monk’s chant into a catchy Top 40, released a sneak-peek (and maybe NOT suitable for work) look at the artwork for her upcoming album “Anaconda.”

As we can see, Minaj’s bubblegum pink-G-string plus matching bikini top plus bright blue Nike Air Jordans is about as cheeky as an album cover can get (pun ABSOLUTELY intended). The internet got mean fast about the album artwork because if there’s one thing the internet is good at, it’s being sexist, racist, and weightist all at the same time.

Leading the charge on this one was AllHip-Hop.com’s founder Chuck Creekmur, who, in an open letter on the blog Mommy Noir, gave Minaj an unbelievably paternalistic and mansplain-y talking to.

Creekmur, imagining that he was Minaj’s father, tells the singer “As a man, I can appreciate the virtues of your perfect posterior. The dad guy is not a happy camper, particularly now that his ‘lil girl is transitioning into a young lady.”

Of course, Creekmur ISN’T Minaj’s father, and this is a weird power play of a move, for a stranger of a man to assert control over a young woman by playing the father card (albeit a what-if/imaginary dad card). Also, even if Creekmur WAS Minaj’s father, he would have absolutely no say re: what she wears (or doesn’t wear). She’s a grown woman. She can wear whatever she wants to wear. That’s how being a grown woman works.

Creekmur wasn’t alone in his condemnation of Minaj. Twitter went wild with cries of “Slut!” and “Whore!” and “Toss her in the lake and see if she floats and if she does, burn her at the stake for then we will all know that Goody Minaj is surely a WITCH!” Okay, maybe not that last one, but still, Twitter can get pretty darned witch-hunt-y when it goes on a how-dare-you-be-a-woman-and-have-a-body-and-show-it slut-shaming tear.

It was Minaj herself who pointed out the sexism/racism/weightism of her detractors. She posted several images of skinny white girls prominently displaying their tiny behinds on her Instagram with the caption “Acceptable.” Then she posted a picture of her album artwork with the all-caps caption “Unacceptable.” And she’s absolutely right. We’ve made it acceptable for certain women to show skin and unacceptable for others. The charges of “sluttiness” are not based on how much butt a girl shows, but rather what kind of butt that girl was born with. And that’s messed up to the highest degree. Of course, there’s intense and complicated racism at play in this backlash as well. People are not just shaming Minaj for being a women with curves but rather a women of color with curves.

But while Nicki has her detractors, she also has plenty of smart supporters. In a response letter to Creekmur, Vice’s Vanessa Quilantan hails Minaj’s accomplishments and gives the mainsplainers a verbal slap in the face.

“[Minaj is] not just an artist anymore, she’s a fragrance, she’s a lipstick, she’s a nail polish, she’s a daytime talk show meme—she’s built herself an empire of glamor and female empowerment. And in doing so, she’s in full control of her image and public perception,” writes Quilantan. “I felt compelled to write you today to remind you that women, and girls, actually owe you nothing—especially when it comes to how we choose to express and interpret our own sexuaIity. That’s something women like me are having to remind men like you of all too often lately, and it’s getting a bit repetitive.”

And that about sums it up.

(Image via)

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