After being named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, Nicki Minaj is voicing her opinion on equal pay. The rapper says she learned early on that she should speak up about how much she earns from her performances.
“One thing I learned along the way in business is the necessity for you to be unapologetic about asking for how much money you deserve,” she tells Time. “At a very early stage in my rap career, I was making six figures for shows…If I heard there was another rapper making that, I thought, ‘You know what? I get out there and demand or command a crowd. I get out there and make my fans happy. I get out there and give a real show. I want that, too.’ And I pushed myself to be better with my showmanship, but I also decided, you know what? I want to be compensated well.”
She says women should have that same attitude in their own careers, regardless of outdated gender expectations that women are timid and not as good at their jobs as men.
“I would tell women starting out in business, if you know you’re great at what you do, don’t ever be ashamed to ask for the top dollar in your field,” she said to the magazine. “If I’m great at what I do, I can’t be denied. Some things may be overlooked but no one can deny my brand, and that’s the words of wisdom I would give to other young women.”
Minaj has frequently been outspoken about matters of gender and race. In 2014, she tweeted simply that “racism is alive and well.” She compared the U.S. prison system to slavery the next year, reflecting the current high rates of Black male youth incarceration.
According to Spin, race – specifically Black male youth – is what caused her to join J. Cole, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Pusha T and Common to meet with President Barack Obama on April 15 to discuss his two-year-old initiative, My Brother’s Keeper. The federal program is dedicated to helping younger generations of Blacks and other minorities stay on the right path. After the meeting, Minaj took to Instagram to share her impression of the meeting.