Last week the collective hearts of many men on the Internets skipped a beat as Rap star Nicki Minaj revealed the cover art to her latest song "Anaconda." Set to release via iTunes in early August the summer time swim wear rocked by the multiplatinum artist will surely be the stuff of many fantasies but honestly what else is new. Are we really shocked, appalled and outraged at this? It's no different to me that getting upset that the S.I swimsuit issue shows cleavage. This is what Nicki does and has been doing for years now. At what point do we look, briefly acknowledge and keep it moving?
Of course this is going to get many people pounding on their keyboards about overly sexualized images of women and how this is bad example for young girls but I can't genuinely support that position. I don't see Nicki's content as strictly youngster aimed. Minaj is an artist who's pop success is very much built on the ability to serve multiple demographics. She can give you the kid friendly "Starships" then flip that into gritty street themed content such as her "Lookin' Ass" track. The focus needs to be less on what Nicki Minaj is offering up and more on the receivers. Who is taking in and supposedly being damaged by this imagery?
It's difficult to cry foul here. What is being shown that is actually offensive? A thong bikini bottom is the ultimate evil of society now? Is the obviously sexual theme that comes with the word Anaconda creating more in the minds of viewers then is actually there? What is the context that makes this foul and degrading vs . what we see in Victoria Secrets? Our cultures hypocritical takes on sexuality never ceases to amaze. Rap is very much a business of entertainment and sex is a very entertaining element. Nicki has known this and applied this since the earlier work that introduced the mainstream to her. Is it over the top? Is it gimmicky? Yes of course it is and that is the character that has brought her success. Why the world stops at her doing what she's always done is a mystery to me.
In the end the question will be just what does the music say? In 3 days we get to hear if the hype matches the new tunes Ms Minaj gives us. If it turns into a summer smash then all will be forgiven as the masses dance and recite the lyrics no matter how raunchy they may be. If it flops then it's another publicity stunt fail. But maybe there is another aspect to all this. Could this no holds barred Nicki be the result of what she grew up dealing with?
“When I was younger, I felt like I had been taught that pre-marital sex was bad, and so I always felt like if I had pre-marital sex I would go to hell,” she said, according to ShowBizSpy.com. “So when I did, I really felt like, ‘Erm…’"
“I suppressed that a lot, so I really went through years of trying to make myself feel comfortable. Like, ‘OK, I’m not going to hell. It was scary at that time I was younger, and you know that’s all I’d been taught. So I spent a lot of time beating myself up.”
Without trying to put Nicki on the Psychology couch you can't help but read these statements and wonder if we are seeing the actions of a person who in claiming control of her own sexuality is giving the middle finger to all that told her how evil sex was? No matter what the root cause of it is, Nicki is an attention grabber. The only remaining question is what will she do next?