There is no justification for using racism, sexism or other offensive language, symbols and behavior in music, comedy or other “art” – for the sake of getting people talking.
(We’re looking at you, Nicki Minaj.)
For her newest single, “Only,” Minaj settles for a cartoon music video and embellishes the Young Money logo to eerily parallel swastikas and places them on flags, billboards and soldiers’ red armbands, resembling SS-officers’ uniforms.
In addition to the morphed Nazi symbolism as accessories, Minaj sits on a throne at the end of several rows of tanks looking like a dictator while Chris Brown is dressed as an SS-officer.
Although the other artists affiliated with the song (Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown) have kept hush about the controversial video, a weekend after the video’s release, Minaj issued an apology via Twitter and stated the inspiration behind the video came from Sin City and Cartoon Network’s show Metalocalypse, which neither have displayed Nazi symbolism.
“Both the producer, & person in charge of over seeing the lyric video (one of my best friends & videographer: A. Loucas) happen to be Jewish,” Minaj said.
“I didn’t come up w/the concept, but I’m very sorry & take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I’d never condone Nazism in my art,” she said.
Really? Are you really sorry? The video is still posted on YouTube with over eight million views and the weak apology did not have any mention of taking the “Only” video down.
Not only did Minaj feel her apology would be taken seriously by reassuring her fans that she has Jewish friends, but director Jeff Osborne showed no remorse for his use of repulsive material.
Osborne took to MySpace to claim his defense where he admitted there was Nazi symbolism but that the video was meant to be treated as a reminder of the tragedy that was the Holocaust.
“As far as an explanation, I think its actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future,” Osborne said.
“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,” he said.
Adding to the list of performances that are problematic, rapper Eminem recently released a freestyle video in which he gruesomely claims he would physically assault singer Lana Del Rey and then compares it to the Ray Rice scandal which involved Rice physically assaulting his wife.
“Bitch, I’ll punch Lana Del Rey right in the face twice, like Ray Rice in broad daylight in the plain sight of the elevator surveillance ‘til her head is banging on the railing, then celebrate with the Ravens,” Eminem rapped in his freestyle.
Disgustingly, this is not the first time Slim Shady has used domestic abuse in his music as a lighthearted addition to some mediocre verse.
Back in his 2000 album “The Real Slim Shady,” the rapper dedicated a verse to mock actress Pamela Anderson’s abuse at the hands of then-husband Tommy Lee.
“Jaws all on the floor, like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door and started whoopin’ her ass worse than before they were first divorced, throwin’ her over furniture.”
The rapper, known to be misogynistic in his music, has targeted other female celebrities in the past such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Kim Kardashian, as a means to further his career and has not apologized or shown any regret for his words involving any of the said celebrities.
Offensive, vile language and behavior in pop culture benefits no one and makes light of serious matters that just shouldn’t be diminished or joked about, but should be treated with empathy.
The idea that there is no such thing as bad publicity is no excuse for such outrageous and offensive material.