Playing Victim: Is Nicki Minaj allergic to accountability?
This is all said with love.
Writer Blue Telusma is a Nicki Minaj fan and initially after listening to Nicki's tearful Beats 1 interview, she felt compassion for the Queens rapper. But upon a second listen, Blue noticed something she hadn't before and it made her re-think the real reason for those tears.
Thursday, Nicki Minaj broke her silence to address her fans about what she’s been up to since she was publicly shamed and went into hiding.
The nearly two hour confessional on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio was an unexpectedly candid discussion about the backlash that caused one of hip-hop’s most undeniable talents to seemingly go mute.
As Nicki wept on air, got surprise phone calls from Lil Wayne and Birdman reminding her of her greatness, and explained her side of the story – I found myself moved, and legitimately feeling bad for her as the misunderstood starlet.
“Did we all get it wrong? Was this poor woman set up by friends who were supposed to have her back?”
Being attacked for your confidence, hustle and big personality come with the territory when you’re an alpha female. So I am pretty much the exact sort of person who would relate to Minaj’s heartache and feelings of betrayal – on a cellular level.
I gotta admit. I was Team Nicki during that whole interview.
Until, I went back and read my notes.
Tasked with the tedious job, of transcribing the “Chun Li” rapper’s sit-down, for this article – I quickly noticed that something pretty major was missing from all of Minaj’s anecdotes.
From the beef between Drake and Meek, to the confusing story behind why she didn’t show up on set for the Motorsport shoot with Migos and Cardi B – story after story Nicki’s accounts all came down to one central talking point, “None of this is my fault.”
And just like that she lost me again.
As someone whose created curriculums centered around “emotional intelligence” for the last 15 years, I can tell you with a fair amount of professional certainty, “That’s not how life works.”
All situations that involve two or more people are co-created.
Sure there are exceptional circumstances when someone is victimized, oppressed, and totally disempowered beyond reason – but I don’t think a bunch of millionaire rappers arguing over a video shoot constitutes as one of those exceptions.
Keep it 100
Whenever something happens to you – repeatedly – at a certain point you need to woman up and say to yourself, “Ok this is becoming a pattern. What role am I playing in this? What accountability do I have here?”
A lot of times when we feel blind-sided by an unjust sequence of events, like the Queens rapper, we tell ourselves, “None of this is my fault,” and then proceed to play victim in every subsequent incident moving forward.
But what I wish someone would have had the compassion to tell Nicki a year ago is, “Just because something isn’t necessarily your fault – doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility to address it.”
We all know that your energy and presence announces itself well before you ever open your mouth. We’ve all experienced a person with a funky negative attitude walking into a room and completely changing the vibe that was there before them.
So when Nicki says, “Quavo asked if it was okay to put Cardi on [Motorsport]. And I still have the text in my phone where I said – ‘Yeah, lets do it!” — In her mind that one text clearly absolves her and shows she was this warm, agreeable team player on that project.
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But communication is 93% nonverbal and several sources have come forward and said that Minajs attitude towards Cardi in person was so offputting, that it caused the Bronx rapper to (understandably) be weary of her.
That’s a reasonable response. And no text in the world is gonna change that.
In fact, just this morning a reader of theGrio shared with me a clip of the original Motorsport verse that Nicki recorded where she very clearly takes a dig at Cardi (Listen for yourself here).
How are you going to say you’re okay with collaborating with someone – but then clown them to their face DURING that very same collaboration? Nicki is street smart and knows exactly what kind of message that would send to fans.
Luckily, both Cardi and Atlantic records had the good sense to request she change the verse. Which probably saved Minaj from coming off like the very bully she’s been accused of.
Key facts like that are what shows just why Nicki is alienating people around her, while remaining completely oblivious to how she’s actually co-creating the very drama she cries about.
Bruised Ego ≠ Broken Heart
Fam – as always, I say this with a ton of love – but please stop mistaking a bruised ego for a broken heart.
Emotional Life Hack: If the crux of your sadness and pain amounts to “Do they know who the F**K I am?!” – even if that question is valid, that’s 100% your ego talking. The heart doesn’t ask those types of vainglorious questions.
And based on that very simple (and handy – thank me later) rule of thumb, suddenly it becomes very obvious that it was Minaj’s ego we heard weeping on Beats 1 radio.
She repeatedly speaks on how someone of her “stature” and influence should not have to even be bothered with the blatant disrespect that she experienced at the hands of Cardi B. And is aghast that her “baby” Quavo wouldn’t immediately take her side despite her motherly love towards this grown ass man.
She even self-righteously starts handing out forgiveness to folks who never even asked her for it, fully immersed in her role-play as the maligned demi-god who has seen fit to spare the mere mortals around her from the wrath of her vengeance.
Honestly, the second time I listened to the interview I actually started chuckling and kicking myself for missing all this the first time. Because that sit-down was a grade-A, textbook example of what I like to call an “ego flare up.”
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The soul purpose of the ego is to protect what is insecure (literally das it folks). All humans harbor varying levels of insecurity, so a balanced amount of ego is healthy and will allow you to conquer things that you technically shouldn’t be able to.
So ego – on it’s own – isn’t an issue.
But an overfed ego will have you walking through the world in a fog of delusion where everything that happens around you is happening TO you, without any responsibility on your part.
Nicki’s waistline may be slim – but that ego has been eating GOOD you hear me? A steady diet of “woe is me” and “how dare Cardi think we’re equals,” every day for the last several months – to hear her tell it.
One of the Best Rappers Alive
Which is a shame, because the funny part about all this is – this woman’s talent is undeniable. You will never hear me come out my mouth and say Nicki isn’t one of the best rappers (male or female) of our time. Never.
Even when I give some of her questionably cheesy pop gimmicks the side-eye, my longterm memory reminds me of how she ‘ate the mic’ on her verse in Monster, which causes me to sit down and tuck my judgement back into my purse.
Minaj is a beast of a talent, an amazing business woman, gorgeous, and probably has a heart of gold underneath that tough exterior.
Trust me – I’m aware of why (and how) she’s gotten to the top.
So any Nicki stans looking to educate me on her resume can save their Twitter fingers for a more noble cause.
This article isn’t about talent – it’s about emotional maturity and social intelligence, two things that Minaj has very glaringly been lacking as of late.
THAT is the real reason why she fell out of public favor the last year – not some conspiracy orchestrated by a bunch of fellow musicians who are already winning – with or without her queenly approval.
Which brings me to my last point.
If anyone in Nicki’s personal life cared enough to pull her aside and tell her any of this, she probably could’ve saved herself a world of heartache (and confusion) eons ago.
When I see someone unknowingly acting like a donkey – I blame their friends. Because it’s your tribe’s responsibility to not only clap when you succeed, but also check you when you’re making a complete ass of yourself.
She obviously needs better people.
Nicki, if you see this – after you finish cussing me out in your head – call me girl! I’m only saying all this cause I sincerely care and want you to (finally) get out of your own way.
“The truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem
Follow writer Blue Telusma on Instagram at @bluecentric