In 2014, much ink was spilled debating whether rapper Nicki Minaj was making a bold feminist statement with her controversial song (and album cover) “Anaconda.”
That this conversation was happening around her music seemed to mark a moment for Minaj. Whether she intended it or not, the new album helped her transition from a rising star fighting to establish her place in the genre, to someone whose work might have an impact on a broader social and political debate.
Now Minaj has more to say. This time she has opened up about two fairly controversial issues: her abortion as a teenager, and the recent wave of protests sparked by the deaths Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
In a revealing interview with Rolling Stone, Minaj discussed her pregnancy while in high school and her subsequent abortion.
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Minaj has alluded to the experience in her earlier music, on a mixtape track that she said she “didn’t expect anyone to hear” according to the magazine.
But she explained in more detail that the unexpected pregnancy was the result of a relationship she had with an older New York man while she was a student at the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan. The decision to end the pregnancy “haunted” her.
“I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through,” she said in the interview, which will be published on Friday. “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.”
Minaj suggested that these revelations come reluctantly. But with her rising fame, she noted that millions of people are suddenly scrutinizing and judging her every word.
Minaj was also asked why black hip-hop artists seemed largely reticent to comment on the recent wave of protests following the non-indictment of two white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men, Brown and Garner.
She noted that hip-hop’s cultural power has diminished since Public Enemy made a statement with “Fight the Power.”
“People say, ‘Why aren’t black celebrities speaking out more?' But look what happened to Kanye (West) when he spoke out. People told him to apologize to (President George W.) Bush!” Minaj said.
“He was the unofficial spokesman for hip-hop, and he got torn apart,” she added. “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, ‘(Expletive) it, it’s not worth it, let me live my life because I’m rich, and why should I give a (expletive)?’” she added.