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Why BET’s Mean Tweet About Nicki Minaj Was Counterproductive To The Culture

"Hate her or love her, Nicki Minaj has been a staple in hip-hop ..."

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History was made this past weekend at the 61st annual Grammy Awards with Childish Gambino having the first hip-hop song to win both record and song of the year, and Cardi B becoming the first female artist to win best rap album.

Shortly after the ceremony, I scrolled through social media and saw an article posted via BET News entitled, “Cardi B Is The First Solo Female Rapper To Win Best Rap Album, And Fans Are Weeping” with the post caption that read “Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj is being dragged by her lace front.” I cringed.

In response to the negative social post, Minaj announced that she and Lil Wayne will no longer play the BET Experience concert in the lead-up to the 2019 BET Awards. Unfortunately, this is not the first-time BET has disrespected a Black woman in hip-hop. During the 2012 BET Awards, they shaded Lauryn Hill with a poorly written joke about her unpaid taxes, that was delivered by the teen singing group Mindless Behavior while they presented the award for Best Female R&B Artist.

I was super excited to see both Cardi B and Nicki Minaj headline The BET Experience, but I can’t blame her for bowing out. Hate her or love her, Nicki Minaj has been a staple in hip-hop for 10 years and has sold 100 million units worldwide. She has achieved historic greatness and should be treated with respect. With a new album and tour on the way this year, Nicki Minaj is showing no signs of slowing down.

In all fairness, the disparaging posts were likely curated by an intern manning BET's social channels over the weekend, but I expected more from the network that pioneered Black visibility in a time when networks like MTV refused to showcase our talent. How and why would you use Nicki Minaj to sell tickets and disrespect her all at once? It’s Black History Month, the month where we celebrate the accomplishments of our own. It’s counterproductive to our culture to perpetuate division amongst women of color. We must celebrate and respect each other in the same way we ask others to.


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Bradley Cannon is a writer with a passion for equality. His work has been featured on JetMag.com and Blavity.com. He is a graduate of American University’s Strategic Communication M.A. program. He has previously worked in advertising at The Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education. You can follow him on social media @bradascanbe