Nicki Minaj Apologizes for Use of Malcolm X Image

YMCMB rapper explains why she posted the controversial pic.

Posted: 02/13/2014 05:26 PM EST

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 original post almost immediately drew the ire of social media users, some comparing it to Lil Wayne's egregious invocation of Emmett Till's name, and spawned several petitions.

"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.

BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.  

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo: Cash Money Records)

Videos You May Like

From Our Partners