Nicki Minaj’s Malcolm X Artwork Provokes Outrage

Nicki Minaj has got herself into a spot of bother after the artwork for her new song, “Lookin A** N*****,” which depicts Malcolm X carrying a gun, provoked huge criticism.

The rapper posted the photo onto her website and Instragram page on Wednesday. However throughout Thursday the 31-year-old has been attacked for using a sensationalist picture of the black nationalist who was shot to death in February, 1965.

Minaj has now issued an apology for the promotional material, taking to her Instagram page to write:

“What seems to be the issue now?

Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin A** Ni***z?

Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single.”

She then continued:

“I am in the video shooting at Lookin A** Ni**z and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!!

It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy. I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued.

The word “ni**a” causes so much debate in our community while the “ni**a” behavior gets praised and worship. Let’s not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u. The photo was removed hours ago. Thank you.”

Kevin Powell, a community activist, launched a petition against Minaj and the record labels, Young Money Entertainment and Universal Music Group, which criticised the artwork and the singer’s use of guns in the video.

The project was launched on Change.org to stop “disrespecting Malcolm X, Black History and Black People.”

On the page, Powell notes:

“Malcolm X carried a gun as he feared for the safety of his family and himself, and was aware he would some day be killed by political opponents.

The image of Malcolm X looking out the window highlighted that fear. Nicki Minaj’s use of guns in her new music video speaks to the gun culture in our society today where gun violence is an acceptable norm.”

The picture in question was taken just five months before Malcolm X was killed. He was carrying the weapon to protect himself from possible assassins.

Meanwhile, Powell also isn’t a big fan of the song too, as he critiqued:

“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.”

Minaj also took to her Twitter account to reiterate to all of the people offended by her latest song, there is actually a clean version available too:

Are you offended by Nicki Minaj’s Malcolm X artwork?

[Image via Joe Seer/Shutterstock]