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Taylor Swift Proves Once Again: #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen

Nominees for the annual MTV Video Music Awards were announced on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio today, and noticeably missing from the “Video of the Year” category was Nicki Minaj’s feminist-as-fuck summer anthem “Anaconda.” Shortly after the nominations were posted, Minaj tweeted the following:

Nicki Minaj: “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year ?????????????”

As it is wont to do, all of Twitter exploded with speculation about Minaj’s hidden meaning – including Video of the Year nominee Taylor Swift:

Taylor Swift: “@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot..”

Taylor Swift: “@NICKIMINAJ If I win, please come up with me!! You’re invited to any stage I’m ever on.”

Unfortunately it seems a lot of Twitter, including Swift, missed her point. And it didn’t take long for the (predominately white) entertainment media to jump onboard:

cali94612_2015-Jul-21

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.45.22 PM

EDIT: Both Entertainment Weekly and Ryan Seacrest have now deleted the above tweets, and Entertainment Weekly issued an apology

Minaj won’t sit idly by and let people drown out her very legitimate point. She, along with many others, responded to both Swift and the media:

Nicki Minaj: “Huh? U must not be reading my tweets. Didn’t say a word about u. I love u just as much. But u should speak on this. @taylorswift13”

Nicki Minaj: “They’re not missing the point, they’re just attempting to overshadow the point. Oldest trick in the book.” 

Quoted Tweet by @OnikasCubbyCatt: “Its really a shame that everyone is missing the point Nic is trying to make”

Nicki Minaj: “Nothing I said had to do with Taylor. So what jabs? White media and their tactics. So sad. That’s what they want.”

Nicki Minaj: “Ryan posted a headline of Taylor saying she loves & supports me. But not me saying the same to her. Lol. Their headline says I took a “jab”?”

Janet Mock: “Dear : Let’s reverse the imagery & not uphold the stereotype.” (Attached Image: “Normal” picture of Nicki Minaj next to “scary” picture of Taylor Swift)

Mikki Kendall: “Glad spoke up. It’s sad didn’t engage with the reality that racism is a factor in some women’s lives.”

I unabashedly love both Swift and Minaj’s music, and have been cautiously optimistic about Swift’s baby-steps toward feminism as of late. But she clearly has a lot to learn when it comes to intersectional feminism. For too long, “Support All Women” has been a battle cry for #WhiteFeminists being called on their privilege. As Maisha Z. Johnson wrote last month:

Sometimes, being “in this” with mainstream feminist campaigns actually means supporting harmful institutions.

For instance, pro-choice campaigns have worthy goals of increasing access to abortion care. But Margaret Sanger, called the founder of the birth control movement, also advocated for eugenics, a racist ideology focused on wiping out people of color.

Many leading pro-choice advocates won’t acknowledge this awful history or address the impact it still has today – like forced sterilization of Black women. Instead, they’ve lead a movement that hurts many of the people relying on reproductive justice.

“Unity” has too long been an excuse for white women to silence women of color. You don’t get to put on blackness like a costume and then throw black women under the bus. And you certainly don’t get to put on your best Miss Millie impersonation when they inevitably call you on your shit.

Was Nicki calling out Taylor Swift? She says no, and even if she was I couldn’t blame her for backtracking. After all:

Ayesha A. Siddiqi: “last person to point out Taylor’s work pales in comparison 2 black contemporaries spent an entire chapter of their career publically atoning”

Taylor, instead of taking things personally, why not use your enormous influence to support Minaj’s incredibly valid point? If you’re such a fan of backing fellow women up, why not do so?

Oh right. #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen.

Featured Image by Jennifer.

Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional feminist. Her talents include sweary rants, and clogging your social media with pictures of her dogs (and occasionally her begrudging cat). She's also a political nerd, whose far-left tendencies are a little out of place in the deep red Texas.

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19 Comments

  1. July 22, 2015 at 9:18 am —

    The Video of the Year nominees are;

    Beyoncé – “7/11?
    Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
    Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
    Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

    Only Beyonce and Taylor Swift’s videos (and maybe Ed Sheeran’s) feature “women with very slim bodies”. Either Nikki was making a general statement about MTV without the nominees in mind or she was speaking to these people.

    To think that Ms Minaj was not at least a little bit talking about TS is disingenuous. Having said that Ms Swift should have let this one go by since she wasn’t called out by name, or else she should have agreed (since Nikki did have a point). The way she responded (regardless of intent) reads as very defensive and with the second tweet rather condescending. And since TS is white and NM is black this automatically becomes about race (despite the fact that the OP was only about body types), if Beyonce has answered with the same tweet I believe this would be a non-issue.

    At this point it’s a no win situation for Taylor Swift. If she tries to “speak on this” as Nikki Minaj suggests it will be seen as too-little-too-late and if she tries to ignore it she will be vilified as insensitive to the subject.

    I personally would love to see TS and NM sit down and discuss intersectional feminism (maybe on The Talk or something) but I won’t hold my breath since it wouldn’t really be in either’s best interest.

    • July 22, 2015 at 11:27 am —

      “Either Nikki was making a general statement about MTV…”
      “To think that Ms Minaj was not at least a little bit talking about TS is disingenuous.”

      Which is it? Was she making a (valid) blanket statement about MTV, or was she making a (valid) point T-Swift? Personally, I don’t care which it was because her point stands either way.

      This didn’t “become about race” simply because of the parties involved. This “became about race” (seriously, can we drop that phrase from our vocabulary?) because white women have a long and storied history of making black women’s conversations about them.

      • July 22, 2015 at 12:53 pm —

        I think it’s pretty obvious looking at the tweets that weren’t included here that she was talking about the “girls” who were nominated (or at least in nominated videos) so yes it at least seems to have been pointed at T-Swift, and maybe even Beyonce, even though it wasn’t.

        As to whether it was about race, well from what I’ve seen (and I am not on Twitter all the time so I may have missed it) Nikki did not call out race specifically but made references to the “other” girls and how ppl were doing the choreo, the cover art, the outfits for Halloween, she even mentioned Ellen but she never said race. I don’t doubt that she was thinking that race was an issue but I haven’t seen where she or any of her supporters mentioned race until Taylor tweeted, then it was all about how white feminists are always talking over black women and making it all about themselves.

        It’s true that white feminists talk over black women all the time (and that this is an example), but initially this was about how Anaconda got overlooked despite being enormously popular and influential and the reasons for that slight. The only reason specifically called out was about “slim bodies” but no doubt race, genre, and the sexual nature of video (especially as expressed by a woman) and probably several other factors played heavily into it.

        But I guess it all comes down to believing what you’re told. Nikki says she wasn’t talking about T-Swift so I have to believe that. The fact that the tweet came shortly after the nominees were announced and specifically talked about girls and slim bodies lead me to understand how Ms Swift could have thought that it was aimed at her, but answering it with a defensive tweet was not a good response in any case.

        Nikki Minaj deserved the nomination, I think that really goes without saying.

        Taylor Swift should never have answered in this way, again it goes without saying.

        I just find it ironic that the internet is melting down over T-Swift talking over Nikki’s valid point and by focusing on that fact are creating the shitstorm that keeps us from talking about Nikki’s valid point.

        • July 23, 2015 at 10:21 am —

          She did call out race specifically… https://twitter.com/nickiminaj/status/623617003153035264

          • July 23, 2015 at 11:05 am

            Which was in response to T-Swift’s tweet, which was my whole point.

            Again, I agree with most of what you were saying but this wasn’t explicitly about race until Swift jumped in. Now it probably would have gotten there, and rightly so since it is about race and so much more, but it wasn’t there yet.

            Also, if TS hadn’t jumped in would anyone have noticed what Nicki (who’s name I misspelled before, for which I’m sorry) was saying since society has a tendency to sweep aside racial issues (and any issues that make us uncomfortable for that matter)? Not that it excuses Swift’s behavior.

            I’m hoping that there is some out of the spotlight communication between these two because, like you, I’m a fan of both (as artists and as people) and I really wouldn’t want to see this turn into a beef that I would need to (for my own edification) choose sides.

    • July 23, 2015 at 7:52 am —

      I’m left wondering if Minaj is suggesting that she’s not slim. Or is slim a dog-whistle for white?

      • July 23, 2015 at 10:20 am —

        Women with large butts, as celebrated in Anaconda, are not considered slim by society… But nice try with your weirdly racist phrasing.

        • July 23, 2015 at 10:47 am —

          I didn’t understand what in Minaj’s initial statement indicated that she was referencing Taylor Swift or white women. I wasn’t using weirdly racist phrasing, I wanted to know if “slim” was code for something I wasn’t getting.

          You know how some words, depending on how they’re used end up having a different meaning. Like how some people use “articulate” to describe a black speaker, when what they really mean is “look at the black person talking good, like a white person” and their ‘compliment’ was actually a racist statement. I was wondering if people were taking something from her tweet that I wasn’t getting, since the Beyoncé video is full of slim women too.

          Also, for the record, big butt or not, I wouldn’t consider Minaj or any of the women in her video anything but slim. I’m not society but I do have a big butt and I’m fat. I know the difference.

          • July 23, 2015 at 11:40 am

            The more I look at what Nicki was actually saying before Taylor jumped in the more I believe she was talking about the business in general.

            She was referencing (in general) not only Taylor Swift and Beyonce, who were nominated this year, but also Miley Cyrus (who won VOTY last year) who is naked in “Wrecking Ball”, and Britney Spears (who was nominated in 2004) who was naked in “Toxic”, and Lady Gaga (who won in 2010) who was in her underwear in “Bad Romance”, and Katy Perry (who won in 2011) who shot sparklers out of her tits in “Firework”, and the list goes on and on. I’ll add there is nothing wrong with any of those performances.

            But you see, Nicki Minaj had a point. Thick women like her don’t get nominated, black rappers like her don’t get nominated, hip-hop women like her don’t get nominated, and if you want to talk about or show sexy stuff in your video and get nominated then you damned sure better be white and thin or a man. She. Had. A. God. Damned. Point.

            It’s really what we should be talking about.

            And yes, she is specifically talking about her “fat ass” and how her men “don’t like ’em boney” and “fuck them skinny bitches”. It’s all in the song and while it was okay for Sir Mix-A-Lot to say basically the same thing in 1992, even 23 years later it’s not okay for a black woman to say it even when speaking about herself.

            That’s the double standard she was talking about.

          • July 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm

            Sam, I think what Alex was referring to was your use of dog-whistle. It’s usually used as a way for bigots to tell other bigots what they are “really” talking about.

            Like saying they don’t want welfare recipients to get “reliant on handouts” which really means “lazy as fuck”, or how the American Civil War was about “state’s rights” which really meant the ability to “fucking own black people”, or that “47% of Americans are takers” which means “Ayn Rand was right, the 1% really are the downtrodden”.

            The best current example is Donald Trump. who is just a great big dog-whistle in a shitty toupee.

          • July 24, 2015 at 11:59 pm

            Really? I’ve seen dog-whistle used before to mean a word or phrase that sends a message that the general population wouldn’t pick up on but that people “in the know” would. I had no idea it was used exclusively for bigots. I mean, I know that it is used to describe coded, bigoted language but I didn’t think that was exclusive.

            Sorry!

          • July 26, 2015 at 11:43 am

            Sorry for the assumption! As mrmisconception pointed out, it definitely has a tendency to be used that way.

          • July 25, 2015 at 12:59 am

            I wouldn’t say it is exclusive, just that it is almost always used that way. It can be used the way you described but as a Google search will show it rarely is. That was the reason for the assumption.

  2. July 22, 2015 at 9:57 am —

    Can you caption the tweets? Twitter.com is blocked at my work so I can’t see them at all.

  3. July 22, 2015 at 11:05 am —

    I have a lovely image of TSwift pouring over this article.

  4. July 30, 2015 at 5:19 pm —

    I don’t see how “very slim bodies” translates to whites over blacks. I also don’t see how Niki’s song Anaconda had anything to do with feminism. To me it was about guys who only want to have sex with women with big butts

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