So, this happened last night— upon accepting the award for best Hip Hop video for “Anaconda,” Nicki Minaj blasted Miley Cyrus for comments she made earlier in the press regarding the feud between Minaj and Taylor Swift. Minaj who squashed the beef with Swift during her VMA opening performance took time to address Cyrus personally for basically saying that she wasn’t a “nice” person.
Once again, white women have totally missed the point and have taken the opportunity to call into question Black women’s loyalty toward the feminist movement, or rather, Black women’s loyalty to white women. Nicki may not be the posterchild for Black feminism like Angela Davis or many others that come to mind when thinking about the context in which Black women are ostracized by the white feminist movement, but she raises some very valid points about what is considered beautiful and artistic in the entertainment industry, and more often than not, that is white and white women, in particular.
Having no concept of the struggles that Black women endure being both Black and female, Cyrus spoke from a place that was lauded in stereotypes where Minaj, who justifiably defended herself, became the “angry Black woman” and Cyrus her victim.
Nicki Minaj does some questionable things in terms of representing Black women, there is no denying that. Arguably there are some aspects of her artistry that do not help alleviate the stereotypes. However, when white women come for her on the basis of her being a Black woman and for speaking to Black women’s issues of sexism, racism and intersectionality, we must support her. We must remind white women that there is more than one type of feminism out there and that our solidarity is not automatic, especially when they do not consider the very reality of our Blackness.
Black women are not just being denied equal pay, we are also dying at the hands of law enforcement, just like Black men. We are more likely to live in poverty than white women, but we are also attaining degrees at a higher rate than white women. Essentially, white women like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift can remain oblivious to Black women’s struggles—for they have the privilege of doing so.
What they don’t have, is the privilege of expecting us to comply without calling them out on it.