Are you tired of the press comparing women to other women simply because they both happen to make music? Nicki Minaj is, and because she’s bad ass, she called a journalist out on it on last night’s episode of Nightline.
When JuJu Chang asked her the obnoxious leading question “does that kind of comparison offend you?” in reference to Lady Gaga (which was led into, I should note, by the incredibly patronizing voice-over “but if you know what’s good for you, do not compare Nicki Minaj to Lady Gaga” while footage of each wearing wigs on the red carpet played side by side), Nicki responded with an amazing amount of even-handedness, considering how hard they were trying to prod her:
“Offend me? No. Irks me? Yeah. First of all, I’m a rapper. First of all, I’m from Southside Jamaica, Queens. What other similarities? Why don’t I turn the cameras around and ask you?”
Rather than admit she had no clue what she was talking about, the accomplished
music journalist journalist about stuff that is not music doubled down on her inane line of questioning. “You both wear wigs?” she offered, to which Minaj responded, “every female in this game wears wigs.” “Over the top costumes?” she offered, grasping. “Eh, try again.” Left without a rhetorical leg to stand on, Chang accused Minaj of getting mad (“so it DOES make you mad!”), because God forbid a woman should correct a fallacious line of thinking without being perceived as “getting mad.”
Nicki then had to explain as one would to a child that she is a rapper (i.e., someone who speaks in rhythmic and rhyming ways) while Lady Gaga is a pop musician, and those two things are kind of like apples and oranges. Sigh.
Maybe I’m extra sensitive to this because I love music the most, but I’m not sure why otherwise good journalists think it’s okay to be lazy, sloppy, sexist and clichéed when they report on musicians. And if you still don’t believe me that this is a dumb comparison to make, why don’t we try doing it with men and see how ridic it sounds?
Juju Chang: “Does it make you mad when people compare you to Adam Lambert, Kanye West?”
Kanye West: “Why would anyone ever compare me to Adam Lambert?”
Juju Chang: “Duh, you’re both musicians and you both wear really cool clothes!”
Kanye West: “I’m not sure how that m–”
Juju Chang: “So it does make you mad! U MAD!”
For more on this, see The Village Voice‘s handy guide on How Not To Write About Female Musicians.