We joked that Nicki Minaj‘s sacrilegious Grammys outfit was an attempt to upstage M.I.A. after the latter flipped off the country during the Super Bowl. Though we were kidding, it’s clear that Nicki wasn’t a fan of her collaborator’s gesture. She told Billboard that it was respect for Madonna that makes her uncomfortable with what M.I.A. did:
“I’m a cuckoo lady too, but I would never be able to do it off the strength of Madonna. There are fines that go into these things, and I just thought, ‘Oh my God. I hope they don’t penalize Madonna.’ Madonna knows the artist that M.I.A. is and it was her decision to take the risk with all of us. We were kinda all firecrackers and she took that risk. She’s done some crazy things becoming the icon that she is, so I think that’s why she was able to forgive M.I.A.
“I love M.I.A. and I don’t want to say anything that is the wrong thing, but me personally, I couldn’t see myself doing it, just for the respect for Madonna. I wouldn’t want any backlash to come back on Madonna.”
It’s surprising to see someone like the brash Nicki sound so cautious. And as she said, Madonna chose her and M.I.A. knowing that both artists were controversial. After all, this is the woman who brought virginal pop princesses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to the VMAs in wedding dresses and tongue-kissed them. Of course, everyone only remembers the Britney/Madonna kiss even though Christina got some action, too. Maybe that’s Nicki’s fear, of becoming the Christina in a Madonna act.
But Madge herself wasn’t entirely happy with M.I.A.’s spontaneity, either. As she told NME, she was irritated because it messed up her big “world peace” message at the end of the performance: “It’s kind of a teenager irrelevant thing to do in one respect, but there was such a feeling of love and unity there so what was the point? It was just out of place.”
So to continue the metaphor, Nicki = Christina, Madonna = Britney, and M.I.A. = Madonna. Also, Nicki’s choice of words means I can’t not post this video: