No one really knows if the boiling tension between raptress Nicki Minaj and legendary singer Mariah Carey on the set of American Idol is authentic or staged. What we do know is that if Minaj keeps acting out, the stereotype of “angry black woman” will soon continue to trail her name.
Or maybe, not so much. Because she’s expected to be…bad.
American Idol did a major overhaul to its judging list, doing away with the original cast and inserting star-studded names that are expected to draw views to the aging singing competition show. Out with J.Lo and in went Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, two divas who apparently haven’t been getting along. TMZ obtained video footage of the argument on the set of the auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina, showing Minaj annoyed and frustrated after seeing a contestant.
“I’m not f—–‘ putting up with her f—–‘ highness over there,” Minaj retorted during a heated argument between the two entertainers. Carey responds smoothly, likening Minaj’s behavior to that of a three-year-old, while Minaj let’s the expletives rip.
You could say the duel between the divas is expected. It’s hard to put two strong-minded and self-achieving women in a room and not see them try to take each other to be a the top. Let’s remember that Mariah Carey has come a long way since her TRL breakdown and Glitter days, and she definitely sets the stage for being among the best vocalists of our time, right next to Whitney Houston. No one can really sang like that anymore. Go ahead. Rack your brain for some of the top R&B artists today. How many of them have auto-tune wired into their microphones? Given all that Carey has been through personally and professionally, the singer does deserve some respect.
Minaj is no short of a wonder story herself. She rapped her way up from nothing to something that many women like and many don’t like. However, Minaj’s bold style and hood mentality makes her a force to be reckoned with as an emerging artist. In an industry where thick skin is a requirement and being nice is an afterthought, Minaj is pressured to stand her ground and own it.
And it’s okay if Minaj gets mad. The fact that’s she’s already a winner in the rap game affords her a protective coat if she spins the “angry black woman” record. People in hip-hop have the glory of getting away with doing “bad” things. There is no shame in a game where everyone has had a rocky past. Hip-hop is an industry that let’s bad boys ride stolen Harleys all the way to the bank. It’s a space that celebrates turf-owning, freestyle wars, and bad raps. Without beef, hip-hop just isn’t as grade-A.
Given her background, Minaj’s spat is just another case of “b*tches behaving badly”, Nicki clearly getting the final word and showing the 90s songstress that she “ain’t neva scurred”.
But is it terrible to expect more of hip-hop women? What greater claim to fame could Minaj have if the roles had been switched? If Carey had been the one firing the dirty curse words and Minaj had sat back calmly, watching? The nearly 30-year-old rapper could have set a different tone, but would it have been authentically Nicki? Probably not. That’s because rapper’s game themselves up. They hype themselves so high up out of their heads that staying quiet and calm never serves as an appropriate response when their egos have been challenged. Feathers are ruffled, panties are gathered all up in a bunch and the fury ensues. Or at least today.
A rewind in the hip-hop mix shows a totally different landscape all together, especially at the dawn of the industry’s birth in the late 80s. Social-conscious music had yet to be ridden with tantalizing dancers and meaningless lyrics. More importantly, it showed female rappers paving the way, being leaders of their own kind.
If Queen Latifah had been in that chair, do you think she would have spazzed in the same way? I don’t think so.
Minaj may have gotten her first-strike in and who knows how Carey’s behavior on the show will play out for her career. However, what matters is when these two leading ladies will break bread and move forward. Does Minaj have it in her to tame Roman for the sake of a better image? Because it doesn’t do women of color any better if the rapper (no matter how bad her music allows her to be) is sipping on the same cup of tea that the Basketball Wives were. Ignorant bliss can calm a big ego. The next time Minaj thinks of spewing her rap stew she should perhaps consider how ignoring the heat could help pop a big ego.