The Music Man: Am I still a fan?

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Justin Curto, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

I’ve been a fan of Nicki Minaj ever since “Super Bass.” I loved the idea of a popular female rapper from the start, and even though she’s been criticized for many career moves, I’ve still supported her—until now. Minaj recently released a lyric video for her song “Only,” which features frequent collaborators Chris Brown, Drake and Lil’ Wayne, containing allusions to Nazism and the Holocaust.

The video is completely animated, and depicts Minaj as, in essence, a Nazi dictator. Young Money logos replace swastikas, and are featured prominently throughout. Amid all of this are soldiers, tanks, missiles and gas masks, furthering the World War II imagery.

The incorporation of these symbols makes the video very offensive. Minaj is basically glorifying Nazism and the Holocaust through the video, along with trivializing the experiences of the approximately 11 million Jews, Roma, gays, disabled, political prisoners and others who died in the Holocaust. Also, the content of the song (namely a bunch of sexual references, innuendos and euphemisms) is very unfitting for the Nazi Germany backdrop, making the choice in video content even more inappropriate.

Although the director of the video, Jeff Osborne, stands by his decision for video content, Minaj tweeted that she will be responsible for the video’s controversy, saying she would “never condone Nazism.” However, she also said the content was all Osborne’s idea, which Osborne echoed in a statement to MySpace.

While this may be true, Minaj did have the opportunity to stop the video’s production. She must have seen the video before it premiered, and she could have told Osborne to nix the concept. Letting something as offensive as this video fly under her radar makes Minaj guilty as well, even though, according to her, the idea was Osborne’s.

So, I’m left in quite the predicament as a Nicki Minaj fan. On one hand, I can continue to enjoy her music, but be considered hypocritical by some for not supporting the video yet still supporting her. On the other hand, I can stop listening to her music and have my actions be in line with my thoughts on her video, which would entail giving up some music that I really like. No matter what, I’ll still stand by my belief that Minaj’s video is offensive, not art.

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