Nicki + her team have pissed off another cultural figure
Nicki Minaj‘s lyric video for her new single, “Only,” which features Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, was released a few days ago to some very sharp criticism. Accusations of promoting Nazi imagery were levied at Minaj and her team by Abraham H. Foxman, the director of the Anti-Defamation League. According to Foxman, the video is a “a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism.” The video, which you can view above, depicts the Young Money logo emblazoned on long red flags, similar to the ones used in ubiquitous Nazi propoganda, and Nicki Minaj as a leader, clad in apparel and adopting a persona that would make it less-than-difficult for someone to interpret her as a Hitler-esque figure, not to mention the army of soldiers all donning red bands on the sleeves of their uniforms. The criticism circulated from the Anti-Defamation League to several media outlets over the past couple days, and finally Nicki Minaj herself has decided to speak on it–something she rarely does (see: Malcolm X controversy surrounding her “Lookin’ A** N****” single artwork).
The artist who made the video for ‘Only’ was influenced by a cartoon on Cartoon Network called Metalocalypse and [the non–Cartoon Network-affiliated movie and graphic novel] Sin City. Both the producer and person in charge of overseeing the lyric video (one of my best friends and videographer: A. Loucas), happen to be Jewish. I didn’t come up with the concept, but I’m very sorry and take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I’d never condone Nazism in my art.
It didn’t help that Minaj released the video on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as “The Night Of Broken Glass,” the awful day in 1938 in which Nazis executed a series of coordinated attacks on Jews in Germany and Austria, resulting in the bombing of thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses. To offer some perspective on the release and context of the lyric video, the video’s director, Jeff Osborne, released a startling statement to Myspace in which he admitted some of the imagery in the video is definitely representative of Nazism, but there are several other elements of American military staples that haven’t been considered.
First, I’m not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism.
Osborne continues to say:
But a majority of the recognizable models/symbols are American: MQ9 Reaper Drone, F22 Raptor, Sidewinder missile, security cameras, M60, SWAT uniform, General’s uniform…
Before ending with:
And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?
Talk about unapologetic. Nicki and her director seem to be off-beat just a little bit. Maybe some PR coordination is needed here? Something tells us we haven’t heard the last of this issue.