Raptress Nicki Minaj provided an encyclopedic representation of artistic propaganda when her single “Lookin’ A** N***” was promoted this year with the image of civil rights leader Malcolm X at his living room window, rifle in hand, surveying bombers on his front lawn.
The iconic photo has long represented Malcolm’s stance on Blacks defending themselves and their families from unjust violence, by any means necessary. His daughter Ilyasah Shabazz was one of many to speak out against Minaj’s distasteful use of the image, saying that it did not support the preservation of her father’s legacy.
“Ms. Minaj’s artwork for her single does not depict the truth of Malcolm X’s legacy, is completely disrespectful, and in no way is endorsed by my family,” Shabazz said. “It is our family’s hope that the true legacy and context of Malcolm X’s life continues to be shared with people from all walks of life in a positive manner that helps promote the goals and ideals for which Malcolm X so passionately advocated.”
Minaj apologized for the use of the photo, which she said was not an “official” banner of her single. She has since revisited the controversy in a new song “Chi-Raq” in which she says, “Malcolm X’s daughter came at me.”