Nicki Minaj was pulled into a real-life Black History Month lesson Thursday (Feb. 13) when she posted to her Instagram account an iconic image of Malcolm X reworked to include the title of her latest video release, "Lookin A-- N---a."
"What seems to be the issue now?" she asked after deleting the pic. "Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin A-- N----z? Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single."
"The song is bad enough: a berating assault — laced with the n-word, in hideous quantities — on men who don't spend money on her; complaints about men staring at her assets even as her whole video is a pathetic display of such assets; a reduction of all male-female relationships to dollar signs," wrote BK Nation president and co-founder Kevin Powell in one petition. Whereas, "... Malcolm X frowned on Black self-hatred, anti-intellectualism, and materialism. He was about the upliftment and empowerment of our communities, and he was a husband and father, not a n---a."
The image used for the "not official" cover art was first published in Ebony magazine in 1964 and shows the human rights leader holding a military-grade gun while peering out of a curtain. It was a time in his life when he was most fearful for his and his family's safety. He was assassinated — by gunfire — five months later.
In her video for "Lookin A-- N---a," Nicki fires off a similar weapon, alone in a desert, clad in a fishnet dress.
Nicki maintains, however, that she meant no disrespect. "It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy," she wrote. "I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. The word 'n---a' causes so much debate in our community while the 'n---a' behavior gets praised and worship. Let's not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u."
As of press time, the pic — with a "Parental Advisory" label on it — is still posted to her website; and the online petitions have collected over 1,000 signatures combined.
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(Photo: Cash Money Records)