Nicki Minaj Use of Malcolm X Photo Angers His Family


Nicki Minaj, the famous rapper-singer, used a photo of Malcolm X on her new single cover, which was deemed inappropriate and angered Malcolm X’s family. The photo on the cover depicted Malcolm X holding a rifle upright, with a racial slur for the artwork of her new song.

Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, described the use of her father’s photo as disrespectful and unacceptable to his family. Moreover, she was annoyed by the fact that the artwork failed to represent her father’s principles and ideologies. Thus, she, as well as a great number of Malcolm’s X’s fans and supporters, demanded the immediate removal of the photo.

On the other hand, Mark Roester, the CEO of CMG Worldwide responsible for handling the licensing and merchandising issues for the Malcolm X estate, described Minaj’s artwork as humiliating. Most of Malcolm X’s supporters showed their disapproval of the artwork. Consequently, Minaj removed the photo after seeing a lot of criticism on social media.

Minaj also posted an apology on her Instagram account, saying  she did not intend to disrespect an iconic figure such as Malcolm X. She asserted that she only wanted to teach children about the activist and respectful leader in a simple humorous manner. She was also sad for being misinterpreted and harshly criticized, especially since the cover that was distributed everywhere was not the official artwork for the single. The image was reportedly a mere discussion of ideas, and she assured fans that her intentions were purely positive.

Not only does the controversial image for Minaj’s new single remind people of civil rights leader Malcolm X, but also the commemoration of the iconic leader’s death is later this month. Malcolm X was assassinated Feb. 21, 1965.

Malcolm X was a black human rights advocate, a Muslim minister and human rights activist. His mission in life was to end the segregation that was ongoing in the United States during that time.  He fought for the rights of black Americans who, according to history, were not fairly and equally treated with white Americans. He was an eloquent, intelligent leader, who was, by all reports, against racism. He might have been a controversial character, but this controversy is what made him popular and allowed him to utilize newspaper columns as well as radio and television to convey his message to the world to end racial tensions. Malcolm’s vivid personality not only influenced people, but he also captured the government’s attention in the 1960s. Undoubtedly, he was a man with a vision that made him one of the most influential American leaders in history.

Malcolm X’s daughter felt angry and furious when she saw a photo of her father placed in the background of a racial slur that Malcolm X had been fighting against all his life. This, perhaps, may have been the reason behind his assassination. Minaj, on the other hand, explained that she was only trying to help people enjoy her songs and have fun, rather than feel disrespected.  

By Mona Salman



Daily News

USA Today

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