Shelly Bell, writer
Nicki Minaj is a jack-of-all-trades, yet a mistress of none. To push along the playing card analogy even further, she must have been a card shark in her former life because she is good at knowing when to throw down the joker at the most opportune moment. Arguably her most impressive play occurred most recently in her verse on Lil Wayne’s remix of G.O.O.D Music posse track “Mercy” from his new “Dedication 4″ mixtape wherein she mentions herself as a Mitt Romney supporter because “lazy b***hes are f***ing up the economy.” Upon hearing this statement, the blogosphere and news reports went wild like a rumble at a card game in a NYC basement. However wild that moment was, her most salacious and unbeatable cards that she’s continuously played, allowing her to run the rap/pop crossover table? The “bisexual card.” In personally identifying as a bisexual female, Nicki Minaj takes my cultural standard to an impressive new extreme. In curiously identifying as lesbian when it’s sexy for hip-hop culture, while toeing the line and appearing very much heterosexual for her pop audience, she’s setting an incredible, yet possibly dangerous new standard.
It is challenging enough to be the “B” in “LGBT” due to the fact that you’re urged to choose a side by homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. Is Nicki’s canny play the work of a smart chick or a dumb bird? Theories on the nature of the hetero/homo/bi-sexuality of female artists including but not limited to Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Missy Elliott have divided fans into between believers and non-believers leaving the artists to sheepishly grin and continue living their lives as they see fit. However, unlike the difficulties of artists of the past, what is it about Minaj’s bi-sexual play that’s so entertaining and successful?
The video clip for 2012 single “Starships” showcases the softer, singing and ostensibly heterosexual pop vocalist Nicki as an electronic dance girl in a bikini surrounded by buff male Barbie dolls. 2012′s “Beez in the Trap”? Hardcore rapper Nicki’s here as the “drop a bitch off if she act up” dominant female. Clearly, bisexuality has become a platform for her lyrics to stretch beyond the imagination of different markets. However, actually living life away from the lights of pop stardom lies in direct opposition to her success.
Nicki’s line in “Mercy” has absolutely nothing to do with her political stance or sexual preference. In embracing bisexuality, Minaj is brilliantly using stereotypical male dominant American societal norms as a way to attain financial success. Regardless of educational background, career choice, or ethnicity most heterosexual men deem lesbian activity as sensual, sexy, and fantastic. In the case of “Mercy,” men who are functioning members of society also care about politics therefore, by using these dominant societal forces, Minaj plays the cards that reel in the most attention.
Nicki Minaj is safe in her peculiar quest for stardom as hip-hop culture is clearly in favor of lesbian activity and clearly against gay male activity. If you’re wanting to belabor this point, there’s over forty years of history in video and rhyme that prove this true. Is Nicki Minaj pimping bisexuality, politics, and yes, even the system itself to gain attention and notoriety? Is this a smart move or a stupid one? Does the world care enough to indulge in her relevancy as an artists as a method deciding who to vote for? Does the LGBT community care enough about bisexuality that she is viewed as a representative for our community? If so, do we as a community deem her relevant enough to speak out for or against? The answer to all of these questions? Yes.
Nicki Minaj is not bisexual, a republican, nor a democrat. She is a chameleon for whatever the media deems popular to be at any given moment. This method of movement works for her, but does Minaj playing her cards right only allow her to become the queen by playing a royal flush, or does it set a new standard? The future of bisexual voices in not just hip-hop, but popular culture overall is an intriguing notion that deserves attention.