Nicki Minaj criticized for using Nazi imagery in her ‘Only’ lyric video

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj’s new lyric video for Only takes her stunt-queening to ridiculous, exhausting heights. I don’t even know where to begin. We can’t embed the video because of its NSFW lyrical stylings, but you can watch it here.

When I first heard the outrage and criticism over this video, I thought for sure people were exaggerating. Nicki wouldn’t be dumb enough to straight-up include Nazi imagery in her video, right? Wrong. She is totally awful enough to do it. Less than one minute into the song, Nicki’s likeness sits atop a throne in manner of Hitler. She’s flanked by war tanks and soldiers wearing red armbands that bear the Young Money logo, which looks a lot like the Nazi swastika. Then Chris Brown shows up as a dictator, and Drake (who is half Jewish) appears as a Pope. Yes, Breezy and Drake appear in a song together, and that’s the least WTF thing here.

I often find myself in the position of wondering whether artists’ actions are truly offensive or if I’m oversensitive to the possibility of offensiveness. In this case, there is no doubt. Nicki’s lyric video is absolutely offensive. Even worse, this wasn’t an accident at all. Nobody would create this video unless they intended to offend. Like I said, Nicki is a total stunt queen. She’ll say she only wanted to portray herself as a powerful leader, but she could have achieved that without invoking the symbols of Nazism. Nicki’s ignoring the controversy on Twitter, opting instead to endlessly retweet praise of her uneventful EMAs hosting gig.

If you were wondering whether Nicki has complete creative control over her career, look no further than her latest cover feature with Billboard to promote The Pinkprint. Nicki says, “I’m on 15 to 25 conference calls every few days strategizing with my team. I think a lot of artists sit back and have it done for them.” Oh, and the Nicki-Iggy feud is still alive and well. The journo asked “an innocent question” about Iggy and was met with a “withering, wordless stare.” Then an Iggy song started playing on the radio, and a Nicki staffer raced to change the channel. Ha.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & Billboard; screencaps courtesy of YouTube

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140 Responses to “Nicki Minaj criticized for using Nazi imagery in her ‘Only’ lyric video”

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  1. Greata says:

    Serious question….I know very little about the HipHop scene, can someone comment on whether Niki has geniuine talent? Thanks.

    • Farah says:

      Yes, but she’d rather be a stunt queen or “one of the guys” so she often ruins it. Plus her features are way better than her actual material. So don’t listen to her songs.

      • Greata says:

        @Farah…@elo…Thanks. I am always distracted by her behavior. Will listen to a few of her features.

    • elo says:

      @Greata, deep down inside, believe it or not, yes she does. Check out her guest spot on Monster by Kanye. She does some amazing cameos, but for some reason it’s like it doesn’t transfer to her own music. She can do some neat, pretty impressive stuff with her voice but it just is under utilized in her own stuff.

    • Belinda says:

      If I can just add my own question for the Nikki experts. Why is she so mad at skinny girls? I dont think I ‘ve ever heard a song where she praises her curves and doesnt in the following line denigrate other body types. I mean was she bullied at school, is it a pointed dig at some rival female rapper or what? I ask because Beyonce and others are able to talk up their bodies without crushing others. Whats with Nikki?

      • Adrien says:

        It has something to do with reclaiming the black girl’s booteh. She’s sick of white gals like Miley and Iggy twerking so she’s showing them DA Booteh.

      • Lex says:

        That is not her natural body. She too was once a skinny girl she seems to hate so much. Google it!

      • Kosmos says:

        I would just criticize her for the time I saw her on American Idol. What a terrible impression she gave off, she had a really offensive personality. I will neverforget that and I actually hope she fades away and loses any appeal she has gained.

      • Grant says:

        See, I disagree with that. I’m not trying to be a Nicki apologist because I can really take her or leave her but I actually liked her on American Idol. I thought she was the only one of the panel who gave constructive criticism unlike, say, Mariah, who was just a caricature that provided really shallow, vapid commentary. I remember listening to her critiquing the performances and agreeing with the recommendations she gave the girls–because most if not all of the guys were eliminated early on that season.

    • Jules says:

      She is a corporate creation. Like she has any creative control. She is just a pawn.

      • Someonestolemyname says:

        She just always seems in a bad mood, to me and that’s a turn off.

        Aretha knows true talent.
        When I watched Nicki on the grammy award show a few years ago she was AWFUL.

    • Adrien says:

      You know what Greata, I’m not even sure if she’s famous famous, as in Riri or Katy Perry famous. Idk if she could sell tickets for an arena concert. I feel like she’s only famous by default. Superbass is a good song tough, quite underrated too. She probably has talent but like Lady Gaga, she prioritizes stunts over artistic integrity/talent.

  2. Sarah says:

    I haven’t watched it yet, but I am leaning towards giving her a pass because – ahem – she’s black, and for that reason dressing up as a Nazi is a subversive thing to do (maybe I put that wrong – its a way of parodying Nazism, or poking fun at it)? Interested to know what other people think though.

    • Belinda says:

      I’m inclined to agree. The Jews may have been the biggest victims but lets remember that NAZI ideology dehumanised all non Aryan races. With that in mind this stunt is subversive rather than offensive.

      At the very least it must leave Neo Nazi really conflicted to have your imagery appropriated by a very wealthy black woman. I bet their message boards are going crazy about now. Its not you shes trolling, its the people who own that imagery. The fact that shes earning money from it just adds to the troll factor.

      • Asha says:

        Aryans, which I’m sure there’s a big debate about who is Aryan and who isn’t, suffered their faire share too. Nazis used to take what they considered to be nice Aryan looking young people to a farm and force them to have sex until the women got pregnant. As soon as the baby was born, it was taken away from the mother and given to families they considered were the Aryan prototype and followed the Nazi regime. So they were used as cattle too.
        Dictatorial goverments are always very f-ed up with everyone.

      • Jayne says:

        Asha, do you have a source for that claim?

      • Nanea says:

        As I can’t reply directly to Jayne, I want to post this here:

        there was a Nazi program that set up maternity homes for single mothers, then took the kids away to have them adopted by worthy party members. And yes, those “homes” existed in occupied territories.

        Scary stuff:
        “The organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” serves the SS leaders in the selection and adoption of qualified children. The organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” is under my personal direction, is part of the race and settlement central bureau of the SS, and has the following obligations:

        1. Support racially, biologically and hereditarily valuable families with many children.
        2. Place and care for racially, biologically and hereditarily valuable pregnant women, who, after thorough examination of their and the progenitor’s families by the Race and Settlement Central Bureau of the SS, can be expected to produce equally valuable children.” …

        Just imagine the horror and mental anguish of the kids finding out about their origins after the war – and they did – without proper resources for therapies.

    • cr says:

      I don’t give her a pass whatever her color, I don’t think she was parodying anything. If she was, she didn’t do it well.
      Parodying Nazism can be done. Mel Brooks has done it, but he’s also Jewish and fought in WWII, and has talent.

      • Dena says:

        Mmm. No. No pass for Nicki. Hitler was hideous. There are more ways to incorporate that sort of iconography that are equally compelling than what she and her team have done.

        Back during the 1936 Summer Olympics, Jesse Owens, an African American sprinter & former soldier, won 3 maybe 4 good metals. The games were held in Berlin. Hitler refused to shake his hand.

      • Artemis says:

        +1 to both comments

        As a fan, I can defend her for a lot of things but this? BYE GURL. She’s been problematic before but not like this.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Satire or parody are entirely different things, yes. It can be done. Chaplin did it masterfully as well.

      • Mira says:

        +1. I have zero faith that Minaj was doing anything but exploiting the Nazi taboo for commercial gain.

        So sick of this trend of doing something provocative just for the sake of gaining attention.

      • Leen says:

        My question is WHY is Drake involved in this? He’s Jewish (even got a bar mitzvah and all).

      • Katija says:

        @ Leen

        Considering it’s just a lyric video and not an actual video shoot that he would have had to appear at, Drake probably had no idea about it.

    • Pinky says:

      Anyone remember when Madonna actually DRESSED as Hitler while performing in Israel?

      Was she as well being subversive, provocative, stupid? Were her actions also unforgivable, disdainful, defensible, forgettable, artistic, smart? Discuss.

      • MsMercury says:

        @Pinky, I didn’t know that Madonna did that yuck. My goodness I haven’t liked her or cared about her in a long time she doesn’t get a pass and Nicki doesn’t either.

      • Anna says:

        It would depend on delivery, in my opinion. In my mind parody requires some sort of extension ad absurdum that makes it clear that it’s parody. Simply using the imagery and being a part of a group that would have been oppressed doesn’t rise to that level, for me. It’s just ignorant stunt-queening and the only point she’s trying to make is “look at me, psy attention to me!”

      • Katija says:

        I’m Jewish and might have given some sort of pass – I MIGHT have – to a Jewish person who was doing it for some sort of artistic statement. But Madonna… URGH. Love how she joined a fringe Kabbalah sect and decided that she was entitled to a Jew-pass. Disgusting.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I haven’t watched it yet because I’m at work but there doesn’t seem to be much of a question here. She uses Nazi imagery, yes? And to that I say: No. No pass for her. I’ll go further and say she’s gone from stunt queen to a**hole.

      This is NOT okay. Remember Pharrell Williams and his “Native American” cover? Everybody and their mother lost their sh*t over it. He’s black. What was the problem?
      The problem is that whatever race or ethnicity you are, this is not okay. “I didn’t do it so I can use it.” is not acceptable or subversive. I’m pretty sure if Native Americans started running around with their faces painted black to be “subversive”, she wouldn’t find it funny at all. Because it’s not.

      As a German with Greek heritage, I’m rather sensitive to this particular issue. As time goes on, people seem to get more and more comfortable invoking Hitler or the Nazis or their symbolism to make a point (especially politically) or be, as you said, subversive or shock others. They like to sell it as art but it’s just hurtful, offensive, and trivializes a horrible chapter in German, European, and human history. I guess Nicki would say I don’t get it and I want to censor her. Whatever. She’s an idiot.

    • atrain says:

      I don’t give her a pass, and I highly doubt she’s smart enough to have made the video for the reasons that you suggest. It’s disgusting, and it was made to get a rise out of people and to get them talking about her – nothing more. If she were more talented she wouldn’t have to rely on this stunt queen shtick.

    • Lex says:

      No no no. Noone gets aby passes for anything like this. Would you be okay with a non white or mixed race person dressing as KKK? It’s not okay for anyone at all.

      • Anna says:

        Actually, yes. Dave Chappelle did it on his sketch show and i believe he did it to lampoon how racists will blindly follow anyone who spouts their idiotic philosophies, regardless of that person’s character or attributes. It was very clear that he did not believe in those philosophies nor was he encouraging anyone else to take them straight, but because of course, many racists totally missed the point of his satire and did take it straight. Which just shows to go that sometimes you can’t satirize enough to out-crazy the truly crazy.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      This doesn’t seem like a parody or poking fun at Nazism. It sounds like the is holding it up as a power structure to emulate.

      • jwoolman says:

        I doubt she understands enough about it to realize what it really means. Reminds me of my older brother and his friends in grade school in the fifties, the first post-WWII generation born right after the war ended. They were always scribbling swastikas on their book covers and doing Heil Hitler salutes and goosestepping. I thought it was awful even when I was very young, I knew enough about what the Nazis did. They didn’t grow up to be Nazi sympathizers. They did it for shock value and thought themselves to be very funny, but also had an attraction to the power it represented. And of course they didn’t even think how their behavior might affect someone who lost family to the Nazis. Very weird to me. I suspect she has similar mixed motivations, but she doesn’t have the excuse of being a clueless twelve year old boy.

    • Falkor says:

      Oh Sarah, what an ignorant thing to say. It’s not that bad because she’s a black woman? Give her a little more credit, she knows exactly what she’s doing. Can you actually support that argument or was it just something fun to say?

      • Chris2 says:

        It’s astounding that there is even a debate! The answer is, always, ‘No’… cannot use Nazi symbolism to be faux-subversive, nor to pretend to ‘detoxify’ history. Just don’t touch it, you have no need….let alone any right. It’s always commercially-rooted and therefore doubly offensive. (Punk soon ditched that notion and embraced anti-Nazism, a much better use of notoriety)

    • Anne tommy says:

      I agree with all who are saying no pass. ethnicity is not relevant. She should have more sense or better advisors . And my opinion of madonna was never high .

    • LAK says:

      Sarah: I’m sorry, but this statement is ignorant (Oxford and urban dictionary definitions).

      To say that Black people can dress up as Nazis or pseudo Nazis as some sort of subversive statement is to show your ignorance of what they did in Africa.

      Yes, there were concentration camps in Africa too, but I guess it’s easier to think of Nazis as only European dominating force. Look up Nazis and Namibia (one example) and come back and tell me that it is a good subversive thing to dress up as a Nazi or pseudo Nazi simply because one isn’t Jewish.

      Asha: And also, Hitler was wrong in his definition of Aryan race. He interpreted Aryan to be ‘purity of race’. And *he* decided that blond/blue eyes were the pure races. Well call the man a dummy because science has proven that Aryans by that definition are actually Persians and Kashmiris.

  3. Farah says:

    I would love to hear Drake’s thoughts on this. How offensive must it be for your friend to mock your heritage like this? This isn’t like accidental or anything. The Nazi parallels are blatant. This is straight up image for image a copy of a 1935 nazi propaganda film. I thought Drake and Nicki only recently reconnected after a falling out. Way to end your friendship, Nicki.

  4. Birdie says:

    As a german this is not only tasteless (and against the law in Germany) but dangerous. Young people look up to her. Disgusting famew****.

    • Farah says:

      The timing of it all. This was released days before the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She knew it would be fresh on people’s mind. SO disrespectful.

      • Sara says:

        the 9th of november is a very important day in german history because a lot happened at that day. not only the fall of the berlin wall (1989) and the exclamation of the Weimar Republic (1918), but also the Hitlers first big public stunt for which he got arressted ( 1923).

        But whats really tasteless is that in 1938 the Kristallnacht happened on the 9th of November.

      • Erinn says:

        And, I mean, tomorrow is Remembrance day for us, Veterans day in the US, Armistice day across a few other countries (not sure which ones, I’m Canadian and only for sure know what happens on Remembrance day here). Terrible, famewhore timing, from what I can tell. It’s ridiculous and sad. I can just imagine the reaction my grandad would have over this kind of sh-t.

    • Original Lola says:

      As an Austrian implant i want to cosign this 100000 times.

  5. Mia V. says:

    Wow, how stupid, it’s ridiculous to use those kind of associations, especially in the Nazi case, it was a horrible regime who killed millions of people. If you wanna portray yourself as a leader, ok, just don’t as a leader of hate speach. DUMB AND RUDE.

  6. Sixer says:

    She was on BBC News this morning, caterwauling 500 Miles at a hapless crowd of Scots at the MTV Europe Awards. I swear she shattered my TV screen. I’m not sure about Scottish ears, but I suspect tinnitus.

  7. Dena says:

    Too close for my taste. She could have done it but she should have had more of an ex-Soviet Union flare or pulled from the look of Chinese shoulders on parade under former Chairman Mao. Hell, she even could have gone a little more in the direction of Aoen Flux as well. But then those things may not be universal enough to elicit an emotional response which in turn creates buzz for her. Controversy sells.

    • cr says:

      Even mirroring the militarism of the old USSR or Mao era China would have been unnecessary. While there’s going to be a certain superficial similarity to the perception of ‘military’ strongmen/women I think it can be do without having the first thought be of Nazism.

    • Tapioca says:

      I’m sure the use of this imagery is to promote serious discussion about the ever-present danger of countries falling into fascist dictatorships – it’s not like she’s the kind of artist who shoves her greased-up butt in people’s faces and then complains when they remark upon it.

      Oh, wait…

    • Mia V. says:

      She could use another approach, try a pink army, something to show she’s a powerful woman, there are millions of ways to mirror the army without violence. She knew people would talk about and wanted that.

    • Frida_K says:

      Why is it ok to use Chinese people’s suppression and suffering to make a point in a song? I wonder how my Chinese professors would feel about it. Probably vaguely appalled but also maybe a little hurt, which they would not show openly.

      Granted, it’s not the same as the offense of using Hitler imagery but it’s still a case of ignorantly using something significant to another in a flippant, disrespectful manner.

      For some, the Cultural Revolution and Mao’s regime is just a story. For others, it’s the reason why they are small at the age of 54–mom didn’t get enough to eat while pregnant with this person–and for others, it’s the reason why their faces get frozen and they shut down if you ask certain questions. It’s definitely worth more respect than that of which Nicki Minaj is capable.

      Other people’s national tragedies maybe could be treated with concern, interest, and respect I think. They should be, especially by people who can’t be bothered to really learn on a deep level.

      • tifzlan says:

        Why wouldn’t it be at “the same level of offense” as using Nazi imagery? It absolutely should be.

      • Frida_K says:

        @Tifzian: yes, you are correct. I was trying not to be inflammatory so I tried to soften the message slightly, true, and I do think that there is a certain degree of needing to set the Holocaust apart, also, but yes. It is the same level of offense.

      • Asha says:

        Read again. In Western cultures, and that includes the US, Nicki’s main market, WWII is the most well known of this kind of regimes and genocides. That’s why, choosing Hitler and not Papa Doc, for example, creates an instant scandal (and publicity).. And we could mentions hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have committed heinous acts like these. But this one is easier to recognize by her audience; that’s why she used it.
        Pol Pot was a heinous savage. He decimated his nation’s population in a few years. So Minaj could have made the same point using him as inspiration. But using Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge’s imagery wouldn’t have been as recognizable for her audience, therefore not provoking the same reaction and scandal, and that’s why they’ve gone with Nazis.
        But that doesn’t mean Cambodia’s, or Haiti’s, or China’s, or Italy’s, or Russia’s, or Spain’s, or France’s, or Britain’s, or Ireland’s, or Chile’s, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s, or anyone’s struggles are lesser.

    • Dena says:

      Ok. Wait. Let me clean this up. I was NOT trying to say that’s it’s okay to use Chairman Mao, etc., and the repression of millions of people under that regime. What I was trying to say is that Chinese repression or the images of it aren’t as cemented or visceral for some of us (in the US in particular) as are the images of WWII, Hitler, etc. Those images are easily found in history books and they are more broadly circulated and have a longer “running history” as are those of the red army.

      I was trying to say that in using Hitler-esque imagery/iconography that Nicki and her crew were going for an instant gut punch, low-hanging fruit, an immediate reaction then say a more gray and nuanced amalgam images of them all (those across the globe). And I didn’t mean to imply that she should use an immediate apple-for-apples swop–take out Jews and gypsy & send in the Chinese. No. I didn’t mean to say or imply that. That was not what I was trying to convey.

  8. elo says:

    Ok the video is awful, so is the song. I only got through a Drakes part. My ears…they are so much more offended then my eyes.

    • ScrewStewrat99 says:

      That video is retched. I watched it on mute because I can’t stand Nikki and holy crap. Does she write her own songs? Those lyrics looked like random crap thrown in with b*** and n***. I don’t understand how she has a career.

      • ORLY says:

        The lyrics aren’t randomly at all, she’s addressing the rumours about her butt being fake, her breasts being fake, that she slept with Wayne and Drake.

      • ScrewStewrat99 says:

        I honestly couldn’t tell that she was addressing any rumors. The way all of the words were put together seemed random to me. It read like a lil wayne song. You can tell he mentors or inspires her. Maybe I should have watched with sound

  9. Sara says:

    on the 9th of November 1938 the Kristallnacht happened:

    is this a coincidence with the release? does her team have access to Wikipedia?

  10. Talie says:

    Her fanbase wouldn’t get this. They’re already defending her on Twitter like the dimwits they are — talking about “Hitler wasn’t that bad.” I can’t…

    • Kip says:

      That is truly terrifying.

    • cr says:

      “Hitler wasn’t that bad?!” Well, I guess in comparison to Stalin or Mao, but are they really that stupid/ignorant?

      • Sozual says:

        Hitler was INSANE. Go watch Shoah.

      • Anne tommy says:

        I’m sorry cr but if we are in the business of genocide league tables -And I don’t think we should be – hitler and his vileness are at least as bad as Stalin and Mao.

      • cr says:

        I study genocide, I’m well aware of how evil Hitler is. And Mao. And Stalin. Perhaps I should have used the ‘snark’ tag.

      • Asha says:

        I don’t think “evilness” is countable. We can count the death toll, and I think both Mao and Stalin killed more people than Hitler, so cr is right in that sense. That being said, Stalin and Mao were longer in power, so they had the time to kill more. Still, it’s all pretty fucked up.

    • Sara says:

      lol what? thats so bizzare i cant be offended about it.

      • cr says:

        Maybe because I read a lot on genocides/atrocities and denial that I’m still offended by it. Maybe they don’t realize it’s denial, but it is.

    • MsMercury says:

      I saw some of them on other websites defending her their defense was that Nicki was just glorifying other dictators not just Hitler. Because that makes it better rme.

      • ScrewStewrat99 says:

        Glorifying other dictators….is ok?? Oh humanity, where are we headed?? I can’t deal with all of the stupid today.

  11. Tiffany27 says:

    Onika, this is nagl and you know it. Remove this damn video and start over.

  12. Holly says:

    Holy hell. Ok, maybe I’ve moved into old lady, pearl clutching territory, but that was a lot of bitches, ni**as, and fu*ks.

    • elo says:

      Omg, Holly! I felt the same way. Like so many it was offensive. Even Gangsta rap wasn’t that bad. It inclines me to think these people have little writing talent. I will stick to my old school thinking man hip hop. The Roots, Tribe, Atmosphere, Outkast. Those are my jams.

    • sigh((s)) says:

      I went to look up some of her lyrics the other day because I really can’t understand a word she’s saying. I randomly clicked into about a dozen songs, and every single was about her being a badass *itch and hooking up with rich guys. Every. Single. Song. Not even remotely intelligent lyrics. No wonder I don’t listen to her.

      Just watched video. Yep, it’s exactly the same lyrics as every other song of hers. No thanks.

  13. Londerland says:

    I’m sure there is a clever, subversive video to made using Nazi imagery, but this isn’t it. I don’t know what it’s trying to say, and I don’t think anyone who made it has a clue either, except to generate easy outrage.

    Also, the track itself is just…crap.

  14. annaloo. says:

    Call me old fashioned, call me stuck but I don’t see anything that is even remotely redeemable about that video. The lyrics are disgusting and objectifying not empowering. Any woman (or person) who thinks being defined by her sex organs is empowering is a limited thinking fool: and it doesnt help the problem of sexism that has been around forever. Twerking is not empowerment. It’s lewd. And has Minaj ever stayed in school long enough to know BASIC world history? The Nazi and fascist influenced styling is vile- what kind of statement does she think she’s making? What does it actually mean to have a black woman with an exaggerated ass walking amongst soldiers clearly styled as Nazis?? As a black woman myself, I am baffled and embarrassed by this ignorance. I’m even more baffled it sells

    The entire group of people we celebrate as top selling rappers or popstars are disgusting, I don’t care I will say it. The most awful traits of excessive materialism, shitty attitudes and egotism are revered as aspirational. Most of these “top performers” have manic chips on their shoulders and contribute nothing constructive to societ, except lining their pockets with the short sighted, ignorant and self defeating culture they cultivate.. When was the last time we saw some one like Chris Browm contributing something constructive instead of his anger issues and attitude problem to the world? You get this gift of fame and success and you act like human trash with it. There are other artistz more deserving, there are other artists that we need today to get better messagez across. I dont care how “talented” you are, the glory and sexification treatment given to a time where a vicious genocide was committed just proves to me how uneducated and straight up disrespectful pop culture has become. WHY ARE WE ARE REWARDING LOSING BEHAVIOR culture? Why are kids upholding the Nicki’s, the Chris Browns, the Kanyes, the Kardashians? They are straight up poison!

    “Unimpressed by material excess.
    Love is free, love me say hell yes.”

  15. whatsmyname? says:

    I’m suprised that anyone would defend this, her fans trying to come up with excuses for her are ridiculous it’s blatant as hell what she is doing. She is getting messier and messier.

  16. Crack Fox says:

    The Young Money symbol looks NOTHING like a swastika, which btw, was co-opted from African symbolism by the Nazis.

    I realize that I am very jaded, but I was unbothered by the video.

    • FingerBinger says:

      It’s also a symbol that was “co-opted” from Buddhism. There are also some Native American tribes that have used that symbol.

      • Nina says:

        Um, the swastika is an ancient INDIAN symbol and Aryan comes from a SANSKRIT word (Arya) which means “noble blooded.” Aryan remains a common term used by North Indians to describe their ancient heritage as well as a common first name within this region. The Nazis adopted Indian symbols and language, not African.

    • Falkor says:

      That’s cool that it didn’t hurt you. Rest assured it has hurt others. You not understanding how or why doesn’t lessen that pain.

    • Nina says:

      Um, the swastika is an ancient INDIAN symbol and Aryan comes from a SANSKRIT word (Arya) which means “noble blooded.” Aryan remains a common term used by North Indians to describe their ancient heritage as well as a common first name within this region. The Nazis adopted Indian symbols and language, not African.

    • cr says:

      The swastika as a symbol has been around in many cultures for thousands of years. But post-Nazi, that’s the immediate association.
      And while the YM isn’t a swastika, to me it looks like it’s trying to invoke that type of swastika/militaristic imagery.

      • Nina says:

        The “swastika” has absolutely no afiliation to any culture other than Indian. Swastika comes from the Sanskrit term Svastik which means auspiciousness. While there are other cultures that have similar symbols, the fact that the Nazis kept the original Sanskrit name and adopted the term Aryan is a very clear indication of which culture they were co-opting.

      • cr says:

        Swastika as word is derived from Sanskrit. But the symbol itself, and its variations, appear in many many cultures over thousands of years.

      • FingerBinger says:

        @Nina That is not true. The symbol has been found in Egypt and as I’ve said Native American tribes like the Hopi have used the symbol. Like cr said it’s a symbol that has been used in many cultures.

      • Nina says:

        My original comment stands; while the symbol is found in many different cultures, the Nazis were making a very clear statement when they co-opted the symbol and terminology from North Indians. While India was under British rule, linguistic (Indo-Aryan or Indo-European languages) and cultural connections were being discovered in India that created links to Europe.

        It is not just some “happy accident” that the symbol also exists in India. Nazis chose the symbol SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE of its association with the Aryans of India. During the 18th century many European scholars, such as Immanuel Kant began to create parallels between the origins of India (because of the linguistic ties) and the West. In an attempt to distance European culture from Judaism, German scholars became convinced that the origin of Western culture was found in India rather than the Near East.

        It was very much about India. They had no interest in creating similar links to the Hopis or the Egyptians.

  17. Falkor says:

    As Baldwin might say: what a rude, thoughtless little pig. Invoking Nazi imagery is never done without the intent to hurt people and there are still survivors of the camps alive today. Should a survivor of mass genocide have to endure a popstar glamorizing the criminals responsible for their suffering? I think not. Die screaming Nikki.

  18. Bridget says:

    This woman has no finesse. She wants to court controversy? She dresses up as a Nazi (or does a fake exorcism with a fake priest, or gives a lap dance in a video). This is the most basic, uninspired controversy courting, that a 12 year old would think was edgy.

  19. RN says:

    The bigger problem will be that Nikki’s fan base is as ignorant as she is, and not recognize what a horrifying period of time that was in human history. Some will give her a pass because she’s black (which is the most moronic and disrespectful thing I’ve read – as if no black Americans lost their lives fighting in WWII); the rest will be drooling and looking for the next picture of the Kardashians. It’s always so disappointing to realize just how many mouth breathers there really are in the world.

  20. Jay says:

    So how do you feel about Pink Floyd’s The Wall? “In the Flesh” and the hammer icon had very similar imagery.

    • elo says:

      @Jay, Pink Floyd definitely had more artistic integrity and the lyrics of the wall had so much meaning. Nazi symbolism and the swastika is used in art many times, as the holocaust and WW2 is something that our current culture is still coping with, that being said, Minaj isn’t using it to make a point, she is rapping about her T and A there is absolutely no artistic meaning or integrity here. The imagery is unnecessary, makes no sense and is just added in for shock value. The song sucks, the video sucks, and she sucks…the same can not be said for the artistic powerhouse that is The Wall.

    • cr says:

      The Wall was deliberately invoking Nazi/fascist imagery as part of the storyline of Pink.
      I wouldn’t put Nicki in the same category of storytelling.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Using the Nazi imagery as a comparison to an oppressive and evil regime is a far different thing than holding it up as a power structure to be emulated, which is what Nicki is doing here. This is not the same thing AT ALL. In The Wall, the main character’s father is killed by Nazis. “In The Flesh” is supposed to be horrifying, because they are acting like Nazis.

      I have seen “Nazi-like” used as a short cut to show who the antagonist/evil guy is in a story before, but I have NEVER seen it held up as something admire like it is here. It is like she is saying, this is how you act like a Boss.

  21. Nicole says:

    The upside is that we live in a society where free speech is tried and tested against good taste and free speech wins. Nicki Minaj is, apparently, an a****le, but it is nice to know that free speech lets her do and say outrageous, tasteless things. I’ll take this society over a repressive one any day.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Very true. While I don’t agree with her, I am glad that she has the right to say and do stupid things, and that we all have the right to verbalize our disagreement.

  22. Joanne_S says:

    Alright, this has gone far enough. I’ve always thought of her as a rather dumb, annoying, but ultimately harmless excuse for a rapper, who resorts to flinging her ass about as a means to garner attention (from what I hear, she needs all the help she can get). But now she really crossed the line.

    I’m Polish, and she pissed me off so much that I swear, I would actually go for it and try to slap some sense into her if I met her in person right now. Me, in all my scrawny, white girl glory. This is kind of a, coughcough, *touchy* subject where I live, so no one would tolerate this kind of ignorance for a second, she would be called out for her bs and forced to give a public apology.
    Hope that will happen anyway…

    • Venuslotus says:

      I hear you, she really plucks my nerves. LOL @ “flinging her ass about”..not there’s anything wrong with that, but stfu and don’t complain when you get attention for it. And certainly do not body-shame others who aren’t blessed with those assets. OMG her album cover – jeez louise! The first time I saw it, my first thought was “wow that’s one big, fake butt”, but my second thought was “doesn’t she care what her mum or grand-mum thinks?!”

  23. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    ‘Oh, you stupid chattering classes, are you being stupid and immature and hysterical? I’ll teach you how to to be less stupid by telling you how stupid you are. As for stoicism, in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (yes, again), he–oh crap, now that I’ve actually got some information it turns out you guys were right!’

    This seems to be happening a lot.

  24. Sofia says:

    “She’ll say she only wanted to portray herself as a powerful leader, but she could have achieved that without invoking the symbols of Nazism.”

    So I guess the only powerful leaders were mass murderers? Because she couldn’t chose anyone else? Like positive, pacifist leaders?
    I’m really tired of “artists” using controversy about really important issues just to sell and be talked about. This would be prohibited n Germany for a reason. How disrespectful! And then she tries to come across as a smart feminist!??? Someone smart and sensitive wouldn’t dare to make this video. But a greedy, ambitious person with no limits and taste? Oh yes.

  25. aang says:

    Have you heard this song? The Nazi stuff is the least offensive thing about it. Disgusting.

  26. fancyamazon says:

    I tried to watch that video. The images aside, which are horrendous, and on the eve of Remembrance Day too, but does she know any words that don’ rhyme with itch, suck and tigga? I’m old, I know that, but although I use NSFW language from time to time, probably too much, I very much feel that exclusive use of expletives to explain yourself shows a lack of imagination. It is shock for shock value’s sake, nothing more.

  27. Dommy Dearest says:

    Um, one of the writers here made a Holocaust joke in the comments not too long ago. Hypocritical.

    • Falkor says:

      Well they shouldn’t have done that, it’s a shitty thing to make light of. Was it Bedhead? If she didn’t say it, she’s not the one accountable for it. Whoever made the comment definitely has strong douche tendencies, but it’s not hypocritical for Bedhead to pen this post if she didn’t say it herself. For it to be hypocrisy, the person who made the joke would also be penning the article critical of such behavior, therein displaying a double standard. It was definitely a faux pas on behalf of whoever made that comment, but it’s not technically hypocrisy if it wasn’t Bedhead’s double standard. None of this rambling is of particular importance, just a word nerd gettin’ my word nerd on. :)

      • Asha says:

        If this site allows for that type of comment, it is hypocritical to say how awful it is while collaborating in a place where this kind of “jokes” are okay.

      • Falkor says:

        That is absolutely valid, Asha. My train of thought was bedhead may have been totally unaware of the comment, and therefore oblivious to it rather than actively setting a double standard. Either way, whoever said it needs to go sit in a corner with a dunce cap and a history book and educate themselves.

      • vvvoid says:

        Ok, I’m gonna get skewered for this most likely but there is a big difference between a pop star making a music video which glamorizes the Third Reich and seemingly promotes Hitler as a “boss bitch,” or someone to be admired and emulated, and someone making a holocaust joke. I’m not saying holocaust jokes are in good taste, neither are dead baby jokes, but I think someone can make a dead baby joke and still be disgusted by anyone who sought to glorify Casey Anthony or Marybeth Tinning as some sort of hero the way Nicki is casting Hitler as some kind of personal hero by adopting this iconography.
        Humor, even dark, sick humor, is one thing. When someone makes a really sick, tasteless joke, they are being subversive. Nicki is not being subversive, nor does she know the meaning of the word. Holocaust jokes are cheap and tired and offensive, but rarely do they actually seek to PROMOTE the Holocaust.

      • Falkor says:

        vvvoid, I can see where you’re coming from with that, but I can also see why someone would be critical of that behavior when there are rules against that very behavior written right at the bottom of every comment section. The rules say don’t go there, so folks (including contributors) shouldn’t go there. This isn’t the right setting for risque and offensive comedic stylings. *kanye shrug*

  28. vvvoid says:

    It’s only when you consider the abject suffering so many endured at the hand of this regime that you fully understand how unconscionable this video is. This is not subversive, this is ignorant. This is a pop star so self-centered and thoughtless that she feels it is somehow “OK” to appropriate imagery from one of the worst eras in human history to promote the perception she crowned herself with as a “boss” and a “bad bitch”…I’m not even entirely sure she is smart enough or aware enough to realize the controversy this would cause, I think she may actually be dumb enough to think that we have collectively as a culture digested the horrors of WWII and are now at a point where that period of time, much like 80′s fashion which was once reviled and touted as a perfect example of that decade’s clueless self-indulgence, is now “cool” and “retro.” Sure she probably thought it would rile a few people, but she believes [and rightly so] her fan base will process the Nazi imagery as though it were any other fashion accessory.
    The scary thing is, we have reached a point in our society where almost anything can be appropriated and turned into a mere fashion accessory, devoid of the human emotion and true history it represents. I have a good bit of Native American heritage and it indeed does offend and even hurt me to see our culture picked over and reprocessed into props for music videos and photo shoots.
    This trend trivializes our history, cheapens it. Be it the suffering of the Holocaust or the genocide of the Trail of Tears, our history is a patchwork of individual human experience, real people suffered and died and lost their entire families under the Nazi regime. If you just sit for a moment and close your eyes and imagine those people, their agony, their fear, and then you imagine not too many years later some vapid pop star dressing up like THIS as though it is just symbolic of her “power” and fame, as though the pain that came with that imagery has somehow been forgotten?

    • Falkor says:

      Your comment and I are planning a beach wedding next Spring. We’re registered at Papa John’s just fyi. All kidding aside, the fetishizing of all things culturally significant is such a huge and disheartening issue of our time. The Native American war bonnets being used as oh-em-gee kewl accessories by the ignorant is a perfect example of this intellectual and empathetic disconnect. I can’t understand why some people feel entitled to heritage that is not theirs, that is madness!

      • Vvvoid says:

        I will admit that I never understood what the uproar was about until it came to Native American heritage, then I understood why that kind of MISappropriation was hurtful and offensive. I am a history and anthropology nut and now when I see Anyone’s culture worn like a chic purse it infuriates me. And I agree that if the guidelines of this comments section prohibit something, so too should it be prohibited in a post but even the guidelines here aren’t always enforced fairly. Even the bloggers here are human ;)

  29. Ky says:

    Why are we even giving this ignorant slag the time of day. She is a prime example of a puppet, ignorant & easily manipulated by money/fame then sold off to sell an image based on ignorance/and cheap sex while in the guise of empowerment. Sadly, those who are equally ignorant buy this trash and sold a lie of what empowerment is. This trash imagery is a prime example, & those who sadly defend her are so brainwashed due to the lack of true social empowerment. Sad!

  30. Grrl says:

    (FYI, you cant be ‘half Jewish’ – You’re either Jewish from your Mother or you’re not Jewish)

  31. imp says:

    correction UNLIKE Iggy Nicki made a sincere apology maybe y’all should check that out.

  32. moo says:

    i think she and her people did it for attention knowing the reaction they’d get. more publicity for the song.