Image Map

Sapphic Salon: Nicki Minaj and the lesbian problem in hip-hop

Yesterday, one of hip-hop's rising stars, Nicki Minaj Tweeted something that caught my eye:

nicki.jpg

A rumored lesbian (or bisexual, depending on who you ask), Nicki is not "out," but took to Twitter for this random piece of knowledge, which only furthered my curiosity about her and how it relates to closeted women in the hip-hop community. As the "First Lady" of Lil' Wayne's Young Money record label, she recently admitted to feeling a lot of pressure, being a new artist.

ransomnickiminajvibesource.jpg

On her 2009 mixtape, Beam Me Up Scott, she had songs like "Girls Kissing Girls," in which the first verse from Gucci Mane raps that you should beware of lesbians and bisexual women around your girlfriend. In "Still I Rise," she talks about haters spreading rumors about her, including:

You know her last name Minaj, she a lesbian
And she ain't neva comin' out, look at currency

And in "Go Hard," she says she "only stops for pedestrians, or real real bad lesbian."

So, is Nicki Minaj gay? Maybe. Will she come out of if she is? Probably not. So is her Tweet about not using the word "dyke" something that we should pay attention to? It's not that I think straight allies don't have the right to speak on gay rights — of course they do! But when it comes to someone that is somewhat closeted, does that change their statement's relevancy? It's a "consider the source" kind of ordeal for me, as I appreciate anytime that someone in the hip-hop community speaks out against homophobia; but I also wish that Nicki would push open the closet door.

nickiwayne.jpg

There are several queer women in hip-hop, but many of them will never speak on their sexuality, despite making many gestures or comments or lyrical references to relationships with women. But there are others who do not see the same sort of success, perhaps largely due to the fact that they are so out and proud.

Nicki_Minaj1.jpg

Nicki Minaj, or some of these others that I haven't named, would be risking their careers, I know, in coming out, but they are also the ones in the position of change. If someone who was successful first, gay second to the public came out as gay in the hip hop genre, it would benefit their fans, as many queer people (myself included) are listening to their music.

In regards to her actual statement, being called a dyke by someone who isn't queer is offensive. However, to many of us, reclaiming the word has given it a new meaning (i.e. Dykes On Bikes, Dykes to Watch Out For.) So does Nicki have the authority to decide what is offensive to our "community"? In my opinion, she can say what she'd like, but I'd respect it more if she was open about her supposed other-than-straight sexuality. In the meantime, I respect her being an ally and trying to put the word out.

Until Nicki says the word, I'll just be one of those fans looking for clues in Tweets and song lyrics.

Bitch Media publishes the award-winning quarterly magazine, Bitch:Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Pitch in to support feminist media: Subscribe today

Subscribe to Bitch


Comments

18 comments have been made. Commenting is set to read-only for this post.

Nicki Minaj was once a stud/dom/butch/whatever label you like...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujNFYKHTFWY

Here is a video for your perusal.

Here is an article link about the video...

http://sandrarose.com/2009/12/08/nicki-minaj-responds/

Nicki's reference to the word "dyke" was because yesterday, this video leaked all over the internets and she is trying to deny that it is her in the video.

Anywho, enjoy!

I actually thought Nicki

I actually thought Nicki Minaj was at least somewhat "out" -- a lot of song lyrics about hitting on/sleeping with women, at least. I also remember seeing a video in which an interviewer asked something like "How do a guy should approach you?" And she responded with something along the lines of "I'm not really checking for guys -- but if a girl wants to approach me..." and then spoke pretty frankly about what she looks for in a woman.

Of course in a perfect world she would be totally out and open. But so far, watching as she gets increasing recognition as a rapper, it's been really exciting to see someone who's at least as open as she is about her sexuality, particularly in the context of the usually-homophobic hip-hop community. Maybe that's asking too little, and I guess we'll see if that changes as she starts to blow up.

Nicki Minaj

I really don't care about a person's sexuality. I think the human race alone makes a big deal about the sexuality of men and woman. I really wasn't listening to Nicki when her music first came out. But as I finally came to the point of enjoying female music more and more, I did here in alot of her songs saying GAY,BI,LESBIAN and more! But if you ask me I feel like their is too much attention focused on the female and males in the rap game and music industry.

To me Nicki is a beautiful person and her sexuality is her personal business. If she wants to come out she may or may not.

Nicki Minaj A Gay?

I strongly agree with KJ. All she's trying to do is make a breakthrough for female rappers. Whatever her lifestyle, it is her business and may or may not come out. But my opinion is (NOT to be rude) that she's gay. But I don't see what the big fuss is about! Rosie O'Donnel is gay; Wanda Sykes is. Their choice of living didn't affect their comedy. So, Miss Minaj's condition won't affect her rapping and maybe her acting. She has a bubbly personality.

That's all I can tell you.

re:dyke

I usually love the word dyke, but once or twice, it's made my stomach curdle.

Minaj's statement seems simple and straightforward, and reflects her apparent situation. She's not-all-the-way-maybe-sort-of-out, and someone's running a mean web campaign to call her out, with some choice language. She's not saying whether this offends her personally, but she's definitely making it clear that it offends queerdom. I can respect that. She could get defensive and try to distance herself from anything gay, so I like this stance just fine. For now.

If you read that tweet in

If you read that tweet in context, she was upset. She was responding to a video, featuring a woman that may or may not be her (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujNFYKHTFWY) , alleging she was once not so "Barbied up" and in a relationship with Remy Ma. She said something to the effect of "So I'm a dyke now and used to sleep with Remy ma?!". Someone responded that the word "dyke" was offensive. This tweet was the end result.

Its cool

I dont see the big deal. If she decides to be a lesbian im sure most people would respect what she wanted. Most guys think it is cool to see a hot woman and know what she is up to haha. I dont see this affecting here carreer and she is most likely bi sexual not completely lesbian.

This comment has been deleted by the administration.

Please keep it civil, folks. http://bitchmagazine.org/about/faq#website

have you all heard her verse

have you all heard her verse in the song "little freak" with usher... if not you should check it out it sounds pretty straight forward to me what she wants

Thanks a lot for the post! I

Thanks a lot for the post! I was just discussing Nicki Minaj orientation the other day with my friends. . You know, strongly believe she is bisexual. I saw an interview with her where she said that she is not looking for a man this period of her life and she's need a real bitch. Probably you may still find this video on youtube.
And I wonder if she's mixed with Asian?

NOT "closeted"

She's not closeted. She's pretty damn open about her sexuality! How much more out can she get than singing about it??! I'm proud of her for vocalizing her choices on her sexuality and maintaining who she wants to be and not conforming her behavior or actions to fit in the "gay column" or the "straight column".

NIKKI MINAJ: BI, STRAIGHT, OR LESBIAN?

I THINK PPL SHOULD LEAVE HER ALONE. I THINK THE REASON SHES STILL IN THE CLOSET IS BECAUSE OF THE RUMORS AND WHAT PPL ASSUME. MAYBE SHELL COME OUT OF THE CLOSET IF PPL LEAVE HER ALONE AND GIVE HER SOME ROOM TO THINK AND BREATHE. HOW DO U EZPECT HER 2 CUM OUT ABOUT IT IF SHE HAS SO MANY FANS, KIDS INCLUDED. MAYBE ITS 4 DA BEST DATR SHE KEEPS HER SEXUALITY 2 HERSELF 4 NOW, BECAUSE SHE CULD LOSE HER JOB. SHE WAZ "on da plane wit da wayne", AFTER ALL, SO U MITE NOT NO. SHE MITE HAV CHANGED HER SEXUALITY AFTER BEING ACCUSED OF BEIN A HOE. I MEAN, HOW WULD U FEEL IF U WAZ HER. I LIKE HER MUSIC, CUZ SHE SPEAKS WATZ ON HER MIND. BEHIND ALL DAT 5STAR DAT SHE GAT GOIN ON, IS PROBABLY A GURL WHOZ SCARED 2 CUM OUT ABOUT HER SEXUALITY BECAUSE OF WAT PPL ALREADY THINK ABOUT HER. DATZ ALL IM SAYIN. LET HER CUM OUT WEN SHEZ READY, CUZ YALL MITE B MAKIN HER UNCOMFORTABLE. AFTER HEARING WAT THE "FANS" THINK ABOUT HER, SHE MITE TAKE A BREAK OR A VACATION FROM HER FAME, OR SHE MITE JUS GIV IT ALL UP IF PPL KEEP ASSUMING THINGS DAT MITE NOT EVEN BE TRUE. I NO I WONT BELIEVE IT UNTIL ITZ PROVEN 2 BE TRUE. IM OUT!

I don't see why not

I don't see why not announcing that you're a lesbian, or bi, would make you closeted. If a straight person doesn't announce to the world that they're straight, does that make them a closeted straight person? Why do we need to announce to others who we are, why can't we just BE who we are?

I don't understand why

I don't understand why people need to announce their sexual preference. Just be what ever you want to be and people can find out natural ways, not by you announcing it.

Dear Nikki,

For one thing, dyke is only offensive to people who arent one. For another, if you're so afraid of being outed, why the hell are you rapping about it?!?

For a third, why does anyone care?!

She is Out

If I were walking down the street and someone called me a dyke while I was holding my woman's hand... I'd be offended. I'm not a fan of "re-appropriating" words and their meanings. Don't call me anything that "used to" be offensive out of respect for a time when it was offensive.

Minaj will be fine in her bisexual positioning because even though she sleeps with women, as her name implies, she'll still sleep with a man (at the same time) because men think it's hot for women to sleep with one another if they can join (ask Gucci Mane, Trey Songz, Ray-J, or Usher)... This comes with an adverse affect for women who don't sleep with men:

I tell a guy I'm not interested. He keeps going. I'm in a relationship. He keeps going. And the person is a woman. And then he get's excited like I was going to ask him to join us in bed right at that moment.... Got me mixed up with Nicki Minaj, son. Get out my face.

Okay just go to youtube and

Okay just go to youtube and watch nicki's video.She talks about her being bisexual.She actually states that she likes girls more than guys.

i think she is hot

i think she is hot