**Editor’s Note: Some profanity has been removed from this article.
Although most of us think the time of racism has passed, racial prejudice and discrimination are prevalent in the media. An example of this can be seen media outlets use the term “angry black woman” to entertain viewers. This issue has become commonplace in certain celebrity news sources, particularly when addressing the pop/hip-hop artist, Nicki Minaj. Multiple media outlets have taken advantage of Minaj’s conflicts with other artists, such as Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, to unfairly write about her in a way that portrays her as the stereotypical “angry black woman.”
Minaj has gotten into two conflicts in the past few months. She posted on Twitter about how none of her most popular videos were nominated for Video of the Year at the 2015 MTV Music Video Awards, and how only videos celebrating a skinny body type would be considered for that award.
“Black women influence pop culture so much, but are rarely rewarded for it,” Minaj said.
Swift responded to her on Twitter, asking why she was putting women against each other. That short interaction through Twitter sparked what most entertainment media deemed a “feud.” Although Minaj did not reply to Swift’s message, she was berated for being “angry” at Taylor. Nicki’s “anger” became the focal point of their interaction, without any mention of an emotional reaction from Swift, only mentioning how innocent she was. Hollywood Life called Nicki “furious” while Radio.com said she was “ballistic.” Entertainment Weekly posted a calm picture of Swift alongside a crazed photo of Minaj, clearly pushing the “angry black woman” agenda once more.
The second popular confrontation happened between Minaj and Cyrus. Cyrus stated in an interview with the New York Times that Minaj was “angry, selfish and rude”, and that her lack of nominations was not a race-related issue. If it was a race-related issue, Cyrus said she could have phrased it in a better way. The interviewer corrected her, and told her that Minaj practically said it in the best way she could.
“What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj,” said Cyrus. “Which, if you know, Nicki Minaj is not too kind.”
Cyrus hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, and the award for the best hip-hop video was given to Minaj for her song “Anaconda.” Minaj gracefully accepted her award, but also had a few things to say to Cyrus.
“Back to this b****, who had a lot to say about me the other day in the press,” Minaj said. “Miley, what’s good?”
Media outlets were quick to criticize Minaj as uncontrollably angry without reason. Hollywood Life called her “livid,” TMZ stated she “EXPLOD[ED]” and The Daily Mail went as far as describing Cyrus as “Hannah Montana,” framing her as an innocent childhood star. These outlets ignored the fact that Cyrus had previously spoken about the controversy to the press. Therefore, it could be argued that Minaj had the right to publicly confront Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Cyrus and Swift forcefully shut down Minaj’s concerns on racism, but the media painted Minaj as an “angry black woman” when she responded. Minaj originally addressed the discrimination in popular culture, and the only coverage she received was racist and problematic attention, thus bolstering her original point. When a white female celebrity speaks her mind in an “angry” fashion, she is passionate and fiery, but when a black female celebrity does it, she is dismissed as an “angry black woman” and her original message is invalidated because of it.