As I was reading Who(se) am I? The Identity and Image of Women in Hip-Hop I couldn't stop thinking about Sophia Grace and Rosie Brownlee -- two tutu-wearing princesses that sing and dance to rap songs on Ellen Degeneres.
At the end of the article the author suggests that we shouldn't blame artists for the tension between their words and the image that they project -- they're a commodity and their image is shaped by their record labels.
"Imagine an artist looking lustily into the camera while critiquing the gaze she is giving you, or discussing the sexism implicit in the sexy dress she is wearing. Although the strategy might simply give rise to further conflicted images, there is the possibility that it would force the listener to critically read the image."
Watch Sophie sing Nicki Minaj's Super Bass (with commentary on why she likes the song, and what she thinks it means).
What is this? A little girl -- dressed in a ruffly tutu and tiara with a back-up dancing cousin, singing about a boy who has deep pockets, buys her diamonds, and makes her panties come off... What! How's that for "forcing the listener to critically read the image"?
But wait, there's more! Now watch this.
Enter Nicki Minaj in her own tutu-type getup, belly and cleavage prominent repeating the message for the young girls to stay in school. Again... What!
It's hard for me to take this message seriously, especially after watching her video (see it here) and reading the lyrics. I admit, these are not the nastiest lyrics out there, but still seem quite inappropriate for an 8 year old to belt out in front of a crowd (whether or not she knows what she is singing about). Although the author says we should, it is hard to get past the sexual images and grown-up material present it Nicki's typical presentations to the world.
Nicki Minaj Google image search.
myprinkfriday.com (Nicki's website for her new album).
An example of what the author is talking about in the article -- speaking one way but looking another: Fly.
The opposite *viewer discretion advised*: Stupid Hoe