Nicki Minaj: My abortion ‘haunted me all my life’ but I’m still pro-choice

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj covers the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and her girls are on full display. I cropped the cover, but you can see the full version here. When I saw the shoot, I immediately thought of Uncle Terry. Yep, he was the photographer. His harshly-lit aesthetic is obvious from miles away. Nicki’s hair and makeup look lovely and natural, and then the Terry vibe sets in below the shoulders. Sigh. Rolling Stone finally released some excerpts, which are pretty heavy. Nicki covers a lot of ground, including her recent long-term breakup, her teenage abortion, and her feelings on hip-hop’s current lack of a voice:

On The Pinkprint: “One of my goals was to give people a glimpse into my personal life, because it’s something I’ve kept very private.”

The end of her 11-year relationship with Safaree Samuels: “I had to learn to do something as simple as sleep alone. I struggled with ‘Do I express these feelings?’ And I decided there’s no reason for me to hide. I’m a vulnerable woman, and I’m proud of that.”

The more mature Nicki: “With a video like ‘Anaconda,’ I’m a grown-ass f***ing woman! I stand for girls wanting to be sexy and dance, but also having a strong sense of themselves. If you got a big ol’ butt? Shake it! Who cares? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be graduating from college.”

Her teenage pregnancy: “I thought I was going to die. I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.” She ended up having an abortion, a decision she says has “haunted me all my life,” though it was the right choice for her at the time. “It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.” She first rapped about the experience on a mixtape track called “Autobiography” she says she “didn’t expect anyone to hear.” Now the world is listening to every word she says very carefully: “Millions of people are gonna hear it. And you gotta watch everything you say — people find an issue with every f***ing thing.”

Nicki shades other artists’ lack of craftsmanship: “I hate when artists brag about not writing rhymes, or doing things really quickly, and then it’s not great. It’s ill when Jay-Z or Wayne say it, because the results are great. When they’re not? Sit your a** down and figure out something new to say!”

On what happened to Kanye: “I feel like when Public Enemy were doing ‘Fight the Power,’ we as a culture had more power — now it feels hopeless. People say, ‘Why aren’t black celebrities speaking out more?’ But look what happened to Kanye when he spoke out. People told him to apologize to Bush! He was the unofficial spokesman for hip-hop, and he got torn apart. And now you haven’t heard him speaking about these last couple things, and it’s sad. Because how many times can you be made to feel horrible for caring about your people before you say, ‘F*** it, it’s not worth it, let me live my life because I’m rich, and why should I give a f***?’”

[From Rolling Stone]

When Nicki talks about Kanye being shredded for his words, she’s referring to Kanye’s Hurricane Katrina telethon performance. No one can forget the alarmed reaction of Mike Myers and Chris Tucker to Kanye’s off-speech words. Nicki has a point about Kanye not speaking out about “these last couple things” (Ferguson and Eric Garner), but I don’t think Kanye’s being quiet because he’s afraid. Much of what he says (and does not say) now must be filtered through his Kardashian konnections. Even before the Kimye relationship, Kanye jumped the shark on relatability, except to one-percenters.

Nicki brought up her experience with abortion because she raps about it on one of the Pinkprint tracks. I appreciate that she’s still pro-choice despite her sadness on the subject.

By the way, a new-old video surfaced of Nicki acting at LaGuardia High (the place that wouldn’t let her guest speak). She did her best Naomi Campbell.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Photos courtesy of Rolling Stone & WENN

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50 Responses to “Nicki Minaj: My abortion ‘haunted me all my life’ but I’m still pro-choice”

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  1. Smallwonder says:

    Maybe Kanye learned he was sounding like a jackass and ruining his credibility and decided to sit down. Take note Nikki.

    • Artemis says:

      If that where the case, douchebags like Mark ‘I could’ve stopped 9/11′ Walhberg wouldn’t be credible either yet he still has a platform and he’s very successful.

      Like bye, Kanye was right, sure he’s often problematic but he was just stating the obvious in that case.

      • QQ says:

        Exactly… Kanye is Problematic as f*** mainly due to that twit he married and the whole Paparazzi and my Civil Rights BS when we know who calls the paps BUT of all the things Kanye has said THAT is where the Lie IS NOT

        Same with Nicki, she IS correct on Many of the things she says about “acceptable butts”, the politics of being a woman in Hip hop, the Iggy Azalea Stuff (which I’m sorry but it makes me CACKLE that there is such a momentum on side eyeing that mess… That Complex Article about “The Grinch Who Stole Hip Hop” has the whole thing nailed down PERFECTLY BTW) … she is just brash about it and a little ridiculous so that rubs tons of people the wrong way

    • IcyBlue says:

      That is the one time Kanye didnt sound like a jackass. It may have been wrong time, wrong place, but lets not forget what made Kanye say what he said about Bush. It is all over the tv for the whole world to watch.

      • IcyBlue says:

        That is the one time Kanye didnt sound like a jackass. It may have been wrong time, wrong place, but lets not forget what made Kanye say what he said about Bush. It was all over the tv for the whole world to watch. Of course unless Kanye mentioning the great unmentionable about what was happening in Katrina is what makes him a jackass.

  2. Maefabulous says:

    I think it’s good she’s bringing the abortion discussion to the table with her own experience and some humility.

    Unplanned pregnancy is still a very real problem faced by not just teens but also young women.

    Having somebody as influencial as Nicki speak out about her experience, in a sensible and calm manner is pretty refreshing.

    • bettyrose says:

      Agreed! The political discourse surrounding abortion is absurd. Yeah, it’s not a garden party. It’s a difficult decision often made quite young, and some women (not all) have lingering doubts after the procedure. Which is precisely why it needs to be left to women and doctors to made decisions on a case-by-case basis. Our whole society would benefit from a more intelligent level of discourse on this topic and less polarized “with us our against us” rhetoric.

      • homegrrrlll says:

        It’s odd, I’ve never had an abortion and I’m almost 50. I am lucky to have followed the right trend; birth control was considered “cool” in my heyday, and condoms were the hottest accessory. I am pro choice, but have major anger issues with women who use abortion as birth control. I find it’s self abuse and as well as spiritual violence. Abortion haunts all women, but it’s a misogynistic culture that puts the burden of birth control on women. We can put satellites in space, but there’s no male birth control pill? I find this absurd and commend this pop star for her forth coming feelings on the subject.

      • bettyrose says:

        homegrrrl –
        Like you, I’ve never had an abortion, a result of my never having had an unwanted pregnancy. I attribute this to several factors: 1. growing up in a liberal environment where I had access to birth control years before I actually needed it (and the knowledge of how to use it properly, should I need to). 2. Never having experienced sexual violence. 3. An element of luck for the handful of times I took risks by not using birth control.

        I believe that all women of child bearing age should have those same privileges to control their own bodies. Abortion is a band-aid over deeper societal ills. We have the power to stop unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place. But we do not live in a world of open acceptance of sexuality along with zero tolerance of sexual violence, so abortion is a necessary option for women to have – and I personally have never met a woman who uses it casually as birth control.

      • laura.e says:

        I had been on birth control for almost 15 years, took it at the same time each day, without fail. When my partner and I split up, I ran out of my prescription and thought, “Well, I’m not sleeping with anyone so for the moment I’ll give my body a break”.

        Fast forward two weeks (yes, only two weeks after I stopped it), I (STUPIDLY) yes I KNOW how stupid it is, I slept with a friend after a drunken night out and he wore no protection. He didn’t even come inside me..yet I still got pregnant.

        Like Nicki says, an abortion is the most haunting and heartbreaking decision you will ever make, don’t think that I didn’t go into this without a lot of thought, tears and sleepless nights. If the timing is right to have a child, I want to be able to offer them the best. And I had nothing to offer. I think about it quite a lot, there’s still a few tears and ‘what if’s…’ but it was the best decision for me, at that time, and I don’t regret it.
        And yes, I’m back on birth control. It’s 2015 and there’s no excuse.

      • bettyrose says:

        ** hugs Laura ** I think we’ve all had nights like that (as I said, there’s an element of luck involved) and you deserve not to have your entire life defined by a single night.

      • laura.e says:

        Thanks Bettyrose. I just couldn’t believe it.. I went to a (new) doctor a couple of weeks after the drunken night out and asked if there was a possibility that I could get pregnant from him not, ahem, finishing the job. I was told quite bluntly “No real possibility at all really, chance is very very small.. “.

        She checked my iron levels because I mentioned I had been feeling tired. If the fool had actually bothered to check my hCG levels as well perhaps I could have found out much earlier. It wasn’t until I went to another doctor almost 8 weeks later complaining of no period that it was finally checked. “Running though your iron levels, all good, no deficiencies,, Oh by the way, did you KNOW that you were pregnant?”

        I almost had a heart attack..

        But you’re right, I won’t and should’t let it define my whole life and if anything, it’s made me extra diligent to always make sure me and my partner are protecting ourselves and maybe my story will help someone else xx

  3. olly says:

    I like everything she said. It’s easy to dismiss her due to her in your face nature of her music but I think she is a fighter and makes no apologies for it.

  4. Kiddo says:

    She’s gorgeous, and like her or not, she has a brain. I don’t, however, think that Kanye has stopped speaking truth to power out of fear. His priorities changed, and his ‘truth’ is now solely self-centered, in a bubble, and seems to no longer extend to the community at large. He has a case of celebrityitis.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Yes, agree that she’s quite pretty and smart. Can’t comment on Kanye or his reasons for anything, as I’ve never “gotten” him.

      Terry Richardson is so disgusting.

      • Kiddo says:

        Terry Richardson IS DISGUSTING.

      • littlestar says:

        I love Kanye’s music, but I agree, it’s all about KANYE now and no one else. His rants are all about him, just like his wedding speech was (LOL).

        And 100% agree – Richardson is disgusting. Can’t believe Rolling Stone used that POS to photograph the cover.

      • M says:

        I liked how she called Kanye out & said he has come to the conclusion that he’s rich & doesn’t give a f#%k anymore without being combative. His priorities have changed.

    • Kitten says:

      Yep. Kardashian Kanye is not the Kanye of 2006.

      Why are people still employing Richardson? Beyond being a disgusting pervert, his photos are so damn mediocre.

      • MCraw says:

        I completely disagree about this attitude about kanye completely silencing himself. Have yall heard YEEZUS?? He says some pretty gripping, insightful, hilarious things to say with such poetry. Just reading thru his lyrics, you’ll see that clearly. He hasn’t silenced himself, per se, because he’s still the kanye of 2006 on wax. He’s just not the same way in interviews, which is sad. I think he’s really confused with the over-saturated world he’s immersed himself into.

        As far as nicki goes, I truly respect this woman and wish her continued success.

  5. scout says:

    She looks beautiful without too much makeup.

  6. Anna B says:

    I have a huge amount of time for her – she’s talented, outspoken and has carved out a great career for herself.

  7. MonicaQ says:

    I love her when she’s not trying to be all Lady Gaga ish with the craziness. But her hair game is always on point.

  8. noway says:

    I don’t see a conflict between pro-choice, and not pro abortions. I appreciate Nikki’s voice in this matter, and if it makes one person think that maybe they should do something before they end up in an abortion situation then Nikki has accomplished something positive. I find it interesting that to this day it still affects her, and it is a good comment to make with all her success she thinks about it.

    I know I personally am pro-choice, but not pro abortion. I wish that more women, girls and guys would take responsibility for their actions before they have to decide on a medical procedure or a child that may affect them and others for the rest of their lives. Still I am not pollyanna enough to believe this will happen, and it is still a woman’s body to have a baby or not and not my choice to make. Before I get slammed I am not talking about the cases of rape and incest, obviously no one but the rapist or perpetrator is responsible for that.

    • Amanduh says:

      Having an abortion IS taking responsibility for your actions. It may not be YOUR preferred method, but since it’s not YOUR body, then it shouldn’t concern you.
      It’s a woman’s choice *no matter the circumstances* and she shouldn’t have to justify the how and the why to anyone.

      • Bear says:

        That’s just as arbitrary a statement as the one you took exception to.

      • Amanduh says:

        How so? Saying it’s the woman’s choice to abort or not abort without having to justify it?
        Or saying that it’s no ones business what you do or don’t do with your body?

      • Bridget says:

        Good grief. She said that she’s pro-choice but wished that people were better about practicing in safe sex so that they can prevent those unwanted pregnancie. Its okay for people to say that they think abortion is wrong, but to also say that they recognize that a woman has the right to choose what she does with her body.

      • Amanduh says:

        Yeah…it’s the ‘buts’ I take exception to. They kinda negate the first clause.
        Yeah, go ahead and have one if you’ve been raped….BUT you should really think twice and be remorseful if you’ve just been sleeping around and ‘irresponsible’. Lame.

      • M says:

        Amanduh- I totally agree with you. Women like to say “I’m pro-choice” but will still side eye or shame women for having abortions. I’m glad Nikki spoke about her feelings but I have to wonder if it’s societies shame around the subject that caused her to feel so bad about her choice. I’m reading this thread & a lot of women say “I’m pro-choice but never had an abortion”. Great for you….why add the “I never had….” part? It’s sad that women still shame women for this.

      • perplexed says:

        What I understood from the comments was that that one should be concerned and possibly vigilant about using proper methods of birth control during sex in order to avoid having to deal with such a life-altering decision that might haunt an individual. I don’t think that’s shaming, but rather pointing out the practicality of thinking the consequences that arise from not being pro-active enough about preventing pregnancy in the first place (this excludes people like Ross and Rachel who did use protection, but found themselves part of the .1 percent who fall pregnant despite using condoms and other forms of birth control).

        I also think it’s possible to be pro-choice, but also feel uneasy about deciding on the choice of terminating a pregnancy. That doesn’t seem odd to me. People are different — some people probably aren’t bothered by having to make the choice, but I can also see how it might emotionally impact another person deeply, in this case Nikki Minaj. I don’t think it’s possible for everybody to have a uniform reaction to having to make this unique kind of choice, even if the stance is decidedly pro-choice.

  9. Angie says:

    I really appreciate her speaking out about her abortion. I like that she makes it clear that she’s still Pro-Choice but honest about the emotional impact it’s had on her. It’s not the same experience for all women but I think some feel pressured into acting like it was just surgery for them when in their particular case it was not. Women shouldn’t feel ashamed or bad if it’s a more emotional experience for them than it is for others. I know women who seem unbothered by having an abortion and others who almost seem to go through a mourning process (and sometimes feel compelled to have a child later).
    Anyway I admire her honesty and openness

    • Kori says:

      Yes I think it’s important to acknowledge that for some women, not all, it can be a devastating decision even if its their correct choice. There’s little attention paid to what happens afterward and I would imagine a lot of women don’t get needed counseling afterwards. A close relative of mine had a college abortion and she buried it for years. Then when she was married and had a son, it all came roaring back and she had a horrible time her son’s first few months. I think in the days of the abortion wars, we don’t like to discuss the emotional aftermath of the choice because we can be hypersensitive to seeming judgey or anti choice. But it’s real for a lot of women.

    • Kitten says:

      +1. This is a point of view that we really don’t hear too often.
      She’s obviously a religious woman who is conflicted about it, but ultimately understands that support of a woman’s right to choose does NOT automatically equal support of abortion.

      • Whatwhatnot says:

        Politically, I’m pro-choice. No one should be able to tell a woman what to do with her own body. Personally, however, I am pro-life, although not big enough that at one point in my life I did consider that I may have had to make that choice when I was younger (though thank goodness I didn’t have to), but it was that exact moment that I realized that with so many BC options out there that I needed to be more responsible with myself in order to avoid having to take that next step. 20 years later and a whole lotta sex in between, I’ve been successful in my mission. I also had two close friends that had abortions who ended up regretting it and it still haunts them. So the conversations on the flip side of that coin are always appreciated without bashing or sounding judgy.

  10. happymama says:

    I respect that she’s spoken out on women’s reproductive rights and she’s creating awareness. Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. Danielleisgodess says:

    Surprisingly, she comes off like able and relatable here. Although I don’t agree with anything she said about black celebs not speaking their mind out of fear or something and definitely anything about Kanye, I can see the point she’s making. I just read something on here the other day about a black actor from Grey’so speaking eloquently about racism. And just a few weeks ago there were some great Chris Rock interviews as well. It’s the individual speaking that makes the difference in beig heard by how/what they say. Kanye may be a great artist, but he never comes across as eloquent in interviews, red carpets, etc. To just blurt out the president doesn’t like a whole race after a national disaster while you’re on tv trying to raise money for said disaster, yeah that’s not how you get your point across. That’s how you get to be the punchline in every late night show.

  12. Mimz says:

    I love the way she came accross in this interview, and I do think she is talented. Like most highly successful artists nowadays off course she does things that annoy me and I think are unnecessary but such is life when you are a superstar I suppose..
    I am pro choice, and understand that abortions need to happen in certain situations. I have never been pregnant and I am obssessed with the use of condoms and never had unprotected sex in my life which goes to show that we are able to make a choice to avoid having to go through this very painful experience… Obviously I also know that accidents happen and that sometimes life doesnt allow us to bring a child into this world if we dont have the means to support it. Financially or psychologically… not to mention rape and other coercive situations that result on unwanted pregnancies… (religion, etc).
    Unfortunately I have had to see my older sister getting pregnant with twins at age 21 and now, 15 years later her life is still a mess..still living with my parents and jobless.. it probably made me obssessed with not making the same mistake.
    Anyway I am pro- Choice but I sure wish less people chose to “risk it” for the sake of a “better” sexual experience and because “it wont happen to them” and if they fall pregnant they’ll “take care of it” and unfortunately I know a lot of people with this mindset. Men and women… the same ones who make fun of me because I never had unprotected sex.

    Ok im done projecting/ranting.

    • snowflake says:

      good for you for not having unprotected sex. those other people are fools. personally, i dont understand why there are so many unplanned pregnancies when it’s so easy to get birth control. I’m 38 and never been pregnant. I do not want to be, so I use birth control. I don’t understand why more people don’t do that. Even if you’re poor, you can go to the health department. it’s ignorance, imo. so easy to protect yourself. and why would people want to risk STD’s by not using protection? keep doing what you’re doing, you’re being smart.

  13. Duckie says:

    This was a nice interview, she’s very talented and I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves in the hip hop world, even though I must admit her choice of singles is horrible. The Pinkprint is a good, solid album but the singles she chose to represent it? not much.
    I disagree on the Kanye issue, mostly because ( as a Kanye fan myself) I think Kanye has changed his views increasingly over the years, and you can notice it in his music too. Sometimes there are glimpses of the old, conscious Kanye in his songs and interviews but just a few. I mean lately he has talked about classism being worse than racism (because Kim couldn’t get a Vogue cover) and compared the lack of privacy of celebrities to the treatment of black people in the Jim Crow era…

  14. feebee says:

    I’m glad she spoke out about her abortion and feelings about it. We need all the little hits we can to help the cause. Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. It’s a sad necessity for some women and they need support not vilification.

    As for Kanye. The one time I was with him was his Bush statement. I don’t even subscribe to the wrong time, wrong place theory because it wasn’t altogether wrong. It was actually brilliant. Do you think the reaction would have been the same if he’d put it in a song or as part of some nonsensical radio interview? Unfortunately with storming the stage on Taylor Swift to bitching about not getting adoration for his fashion work, he is losing his voice because who can be bothered with the wrong kind of WTFness so often?

    Nikki however can keep talking. She occasionally makes you go ‘what’? But she comes out with good stuff. That cover though hurts my eyes. I knew I shouldn’t have clicked the link after reading it was a Terry Richardson. How has that guy not been dealt to already?

  15. Lex says:

    Anaconda has nothing to do with College! It’s about popping pills and boning dudes and having an a$$ stuffed full of Silicon

    I cannot take her seriously; she is too much of a cariacature (an unlikeable one).

  16. ToodySezHey says:

    She is spot on about the Kanye stuff..but wrong about the conclusion. I don’t think the Bush controversy stops kanye speaking out (remember the VMAs?) Kanye is just crazy like that glue.

    But she is right in that popukar mainatream hip hop used to be political and be about social consciousness. Now it’s that garbage , stripper music rap crap that dominates. Lil Wayne and his nonsense. Young Thug. I don’t even hardly listen to hip hop and barely know the names but the music is garbage,bitches , money, ass, boots bling. Rinse repeat. .I could maybe tolerate it if the music was good, but the beats are horrible and none of those fools can even rap. Takes them 2 minutes to say 8 words.

    But it sells and white people love it so it is what it is. There are a few decent artists out there that are popular like Kendrick Lamar…but hip hop , not rap, Hip Hop has sort of retreated underground.

  17. Veronica says:

    Some of Kanye’s lack of credibility is due to his own behavior, but she makes a very good point about his less favorable qualities being exaggerated to overwhelm the better statements he’s made about race in America. Mainstream black celebrity is becoming the modern minstrel show – we want blacks to entertain us, but we don’t want them to dare speak about anything meaningful. When black football players support Ferguson, they’re told to “shut up and play ball.” When Nicki shades Iggy, it’s seen as “girl shit,” and not a black female artist exhibiting frustration with a foreign white woman exploiting black American culture and music for her own benefit…while having a history of making shifty comments about minorities on her twitter. That’s more what I think Nicki is getting at, and I understand her frustration with it in that regard. As white people, we want to believe the civil rights war was over in the 60s – we don’t want to hear about how much we’ve failed toward building an integrated America.

    • cyndi says:

      This isn’t a one sided problem. I believe both sides are failing to integrate. But our children (most anyway) are working on changing things. Maybe by the time our grandchildren come along, we will have succeded. 😃 🎋

  18. Alexis says:

    I like Nicki. She’s so pretty and smart, and an underrated talent as a rapper.

  19. Blythe says:

    A lot of things that come out of Kanye’s mouth are smart. However, he doesn’t know how to say it. He ends up ranting and many times, sounding crazy. That turns people off. Even Kanye admitted that he needs help on how to get his point across.

  20. M says:

    I am sad at all the women on this thread saying “I’m pro-choice but never had an abortion….” & being judgey towards women who had abortions. First- I’m am SO glad people can distinguish between their personal feelings & putting that on others so kudos to that!!! I wonder what amount of guilt & shame that Nikki felt was the result of other women side eyeing her decision.

  21. Nibbi says:

    She sounds pretty intelligent, cool, and likeable in this interview.