Nicki Minaj is definitely in hot water over the release of her latest single "Looking A** N****z". While the title of the song was offensive enough for some, the video has also stirred lots of chatter as Minaj is seen firing a pair of M4s. However, the artwork used to promote the song is what sparked the immediate controversy.
On Wednesday, Feb. 12, the Pink Friday rapper released the cover art for the new single on her website MyPinkFriday.com. Minaj also posted the artwork via Instagram, but the image has since been removed from her timeline.
The grainy, sepia-toned, artwork features an embellished image of civil rights leader Malcolm X holding a large firearm while looking out of a window, apparently concerned for his safety. Considering her nominal use of weaponry in the video along with the song's title, its safe to say people are quite upset with the "Moment For Life" rapper.
The outrage has even inspired two petitions that have been established on Change.org. One petition was created by former Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, and the other by community activist and poet Kevin Powell.
Clemente's petition message to Minaj says:
You come from a rich legacy. Without the work and life of Malcolm X, you would not be able to do what you do. Unfortunately you have chosen to disrespect and dishonor the legacy that he left us. Why you choose to do this, we do not know, but we will not allow this disrespect to go unnoticed, unchecked or unchallenged. We demand that you remove the picture of Malcolm X on both 'Rise of an Empire' and 'The Pink Print' now!
Powell's message, however, went a step further, delving into the history of the assassinated Muslim minister's reason for carrying a concealed weapon. Malcolm X carried a gun as he feared for the safety of his family and himself, and was aware he would some day be killed by political opponents. The image of Malcolm X looking out the window highlighted that fear. Nicki Minaj’s use of guns in her new music video speaks to the gun culture in our society today where gun violence is an acceptable norm.
The chatter definitely got Minaj's attention. She issued a brief statement of apology via Instagram, along with a still from the video holding where she was captured holding an AK-47.
The caption for the picture read:
What seems to be the issue now? Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin A** N****z? Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single. I am in the video shooting at Lookin A** N****z and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!! It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy. I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. The word "n***a" causes so much debate in our community while the "n***a" behavior gets praised and worship. Let's not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u. The photo was removed hours ago. Thank you.
The statement is actually more of a defensive explanation for the reference instead of an apology. However, she did remove the image from Instagram, but it still remains on her website.
Image via Nicki Minaj, Facebook