I try to stay current with American pop culture, but that’s not easy when one of the most-watched music videos in the country is flat-out pornographic. I’m talking about rap star Nicki Minaj’s new hit, “Anaconda,” which debuted in August. The video features dozens of women shaking and gyrating their naked rear ends in the camera while Minaj raps:
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
The song basically reinforces the stereotypical notion that black women have large posteriors, and that such women are open game to be exploited by men who prefer this body type. The song is crude, raunchy, vulgar and sexist—and it got 100 million views in 11 days after it was released, putting it at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. (You can figure out what that says about the state of our culture.)
Minaj, 31, is a powerful force in pop music today. The New York Times called her the most influential female rapper of all time, partly because she is the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the pop charts at one time. Born in Trinidad, she is known for her outrageous hair and costumes (she has sported blonde, pink, green, blue, orange, lavender and black hair) and her unusual personality (she claims that a gay man named Roman Zolanski lives inside her as an alter ego).
But what intrigues me most about Minaj is her religious background. Her mother, Carol Maraj, is a born-again Christian who found God during a traumatic time when her husband was abusing her. In a recent interview in The Christian Post, Maraj said her encounter with Jesus healed her marriage and gave her a ministry to women who suffer in abusive situations.
Meanwhile, her daughter Nicki (her real name is Onika Tanya Maraj) also claims to be a Christian, and last year she urged her fans to read a Christian book by a pastor friend. Yet in the midst of all of her God-talk and backstage prayers, Minaj’s sleazy new video makes Miley Cyrus’ infamous incident of 2013 look like a Sesame Street episode.
Excuse me if I sound a bit over-the-top, but I think “Anaconda” has set women’s rights back at least a decade. It’s shameful that the American music industry allowed Minaj to produce a song that is so degrading to women. And it’s beyond shameful that the daughter of a woman who suffered abuse from a drug-addicted man would turn around and produce music that encourages abuse and exploitation.
Nicki Minaj could have changed the course of rap music if she’d taken her cues from her Christian mom instead of her male counterparts in the rap industry.
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SOURCE: Charisma News
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His newest book, The Truth Sets Women Free, was released this week from Charisma House. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at themordecaiproject.org.