Nicki Minaj has broken her silence about the recent killings of unarmed Black men by police officers and slammed the grand jury decisions as “sickening,” but the reigning queen of hip hop also had a message for those who are condemning artists for not being vocal about such issues.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Nicki Minaj spoke out for the first time about racism in America with a particular focus on the killing of the Staten Island father Eric Garner.
Garner was placed in a fatal chokehold by New York officer Daniel Pantaleo and was heard on camera telling officers he couldn’t breathe 11 times.
Despite the video evidence, a grand jury failed to indict officer Pantaleo in Garner’s death.
The decision came shortly after another grand jury failed to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
“It’s sickening, and I’ve been reading so many people saying, ‘Why are we surprised,’ “ she told Rolling Stone. “That’s what’s really sad: that we should somehow be used to being treated like animals.”
The “Only” rapper said that such grand jury decisions are tarnishing any hopes that officers will ever be held accountable for their actions when a Black victim is involved.
“It’s gotten to the point where people feel like there’s no accountability,” Minaj added. “If you are law enforcement and you do something to a Black person, you can get away with it.”
The tragic killings are only some of the latest instances of unarmed Black citizens being killed by officers who are not held accountable for their deaths.
The lack of indictments against officers is the latest example of how racism still plagues major institutions and systems in America.
“I feel like when Public Enemy were doing ‘Fight the Power,’ we as a culture had more power—now it feels hopeless,” Minaj said.
Part of that, according to the hip hop star, is that fact that Black celebrities are afraid to speak out.
“People say, ‘Why aren’t Black celebrities speaking out more?’ But look what happened to Kanye [West] when he spoke out,” she said, referencing West’s appearance during a telethon to raise funds for Hurrican Katrina victims back in 2005 when he famously claimed that President George W. Bush did not care about Black people. “People told him to apologize to Bush!”
West actually said a lot more than just “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” but his rant about racism didn’t garner the same attention.
Instead, the focus was placed specifically on his comment about Bush.
He was “torn apart,” according to Minaj, for speaking out for something he believed in.
She believes that that moment sparked a serious fear in other hip hop stars.
“He was the unofficial spokesman for hip-hop, and he got torn apart,” she said. “And now you haven’t heard him speaking about these last couple things, and it’s sad. Because how many times can you be made to feel horrible for caring about your people before you say, ‘F**k it, it’s not worth it, let me live my life because I’m rich, and why should I give a f**k?’”