How does the video for Nicki Minaj‘s “Right By My Side” (featuring Chris Brown) disappoint me? Let me count the ways.
First and most obviously, it features Chris Brown, who is still The Worst. The fact that I’ve known this for a while does not make it any less annoying. As an allegedly positive female role model, I’m not sure why Nicki Minaj thinks it’s okay to pal around with someone who, not too long ago, hit his girlfriend until she almost died and doesn’t even seem very sorry about it.
Then there’s the blandness of it all. This is by far the most “normal” (i.e. boring) video Nicki has ever done. Or single, for that matter. She wears drab colors, and barely raps at all. I get it that she wants to show different sides of herself, and she still manages to pull a few faces, but compared with the hallucinatory, cute/scary, candy colored visions of the past, “Right By My Side” falls a bit flat. Oh look, she’s with a man. Then she’s not anymore. And then she is! What groundbreaking territory for an R&B video.
Most irritating, though, is the way Nicki seems to want to have it both ways with Chris Brown. She wants the attention (positive or otherwise) that will inevitably come from working with the “controversial” singer, but she knows that appearing to work too closely with him will make people even angrier with her than we are now. So she confines him to some sort of grey alternate universe in which she rarely appears with him, saving 99% of the interaction for her love interest, Nas. Besides being the most superfluous part of the video, this is so not Nicki Minaj’s style. Nicki minaj commits to things. Go big or go home! Could it be that Nicki doesn’t want too much of Chris Brown in her video because it’s a decision she doesn’t fully stand behind?
I could never stay mad at Nicki for long, but this video just doesn’t do it for me. If it’s management that is to blame for this, I suggest she use her star power to stand up to them post-haste.