Monday, January 30, 2012

minaj--complicit or critical?

first, let's get right down to tights, since this is the LAST DAY for our tights giveaway.  to convince yourself that you really need some new tights stat, checkout the beautiful turquoise, sky, robin's egg blue-blue pair on minaj in the opening of "moment 4 life."

and then tell me if she hangs with drake to make herself appear, through juxtaposition, even more overwhelmingly rad and charismatic.

and THEN

we need to talk.

i read a fantastic discussion about "stupid hoe" on the blog nuñez daughter, linked by the super rad (and i actually mean rad as in radical this time) crunk feminist collective.

here are two bits from kismet nuñez's article:

Minaj hurts my head.  She perplexes me.  I think of her as Trickster, two-faced in her betrayal of global black feminist possibility and powerful in her contradictory elucidation of black woman’s power within the realms of celebrity and hip hop.  Reading her as Ellegua, that frightful guardian of the crossroads and the in-between and the everything-that-is-not-yet seems to fit an artist who switches alter egos as easily as she switches clothes.  Conjuring the ritual and physicality of possession seems to fit a celebrity who changes clothes as she changes personality, putting on her and taking off her tropes as each personality comes down.  The sometimes garish, sometimes delightful carnival of color, glitter and expression–even the repetitive dancehall/house music refrain–also fit a woman whose aesthetic choices continually find their footing in her Trinidadian roots.
In other words, I think of Nicki Minaj as diasporic black, as radical, and as speculative.


But what if she isn’t supposed to be the vision?
What if she is just the oracle?  The vessel?  A portent of things to come?
What if she is just the keeper of the crossroads?

the first time i was aware of radical re-appropriation was with madonna in the late 80's/early 90's.  and you might say that dolly parton presaged madonna in exploiting femininity/the male gaze to be "in charge".  to make $$, to change her personna like she changes wigs and one-piece zip up pant suits (minaj and parton share a proclivity for both wigs and one piece zip-up suits that highlight their outsized secondary sexual characteristics.)

& then

there's gaga.  but i don't wanna talk about her.  i find her as uninteresting as drake.

the points here are three:

1) can you radically re-appropriate, i mean really, in a HYPEr capitalist market?

2) this whole thing about women using their sexuality to be in charge of stuff, i mean, that's not new, right?  remember salome?

3) does shapeshifting/ changing your image frequently equal empowerment.

i'm with nunez that minaj is endlessly fascinating.  i want to know what feminists writing their dissertations on minaj are saying,  and if it's legit, or if it's a bunch of HYPE.

and yes, if you are, like me, of a certain generation, and not accustomed to the stuff the kids these days are listening, you might beware before watching this video.

unless, of course, you plan to take it all in stride as you de-contextualize minaj's (her producer's?) imagery and language and view it all through the lens of radical re-appropriation.

inspiration: radical re-appropriation of tights
legwear:  snakeskin jeans
looking forward:  to the sundance best of fest screenings tonight


  1. Replies
    1. How annoying that I can't even post a video in a comment. Cut and past, babies.

    2. i cut and paste. that's pretty damn good. i was thinking about the ken russell salome, too. not to mention my fav, the strauss opera salome.

  2. She reminds me of Grace Jones without the androgyny.

  3. And I love your comment about Dolly Parton and Salome, for that matter.