Superstar rapper Nicki Minaj is currently under fire by what appears to be a large portion of the internet, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, following the publication of a lyric video for her latest single, “Only,” over the weekend. The song itself features Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Drake – members of the Wayne-led collective Young Money – who, along with Minaj, are depicted in a manner that appears to reference the Third Reich and the Nazi Party.
The video, which was directed by Jeff Osborne, was released on Saturday afternoon and has already garnered well over a million views on YouTube. It has also been the subject of countless bits of analysis, argument, and punditry from all corners of the internet, particularly on YouTube itself, as well as social media outlets like Twitter. Osborne himself has been retweeting both compliments and choice bits of criticism.
Earlier today, Abraham H. Foxman, who is the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, issued a statement condemning the animated lyric video, saying: “Nicki Minaj’s new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism. The irony should be lost on no one that this video debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” pogrom that signaled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust… It is troubling that no one among Minaj’s group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release… This video is insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era. The abuse of Nazi imagery is deeply disturbing and offensive to Jews and all those who can recall the sacrifices Americans and many others had to make as a result of Hitler’s Nazi juggernaut.”
Ms. Minaj, who has been having a banner year in terms of impact and coverage, both within and outside the music industry, is signed to Young Money Entertainment, a major subsidiary of Universal Records. In recent memory, Minaj has released work like the music video for her “Baby Got Back”-sampling single, “Anaconda,” which has garnered nearly 300 million YouTube views.
The whole matter has, at present, become a subject of coverage for innumerable media outlets, some of which have noted that “Osborne would hardly be the first person to evoke Nazi aesthetics for fun and profit.” Neither Minaj nor anyone representing her has issued a comment regarding the video and its thematic motifs, though Minaj continues to remain active on Twitter and Instagram, retweeting messages of support from fans and posting about high fashion. Yesterday, she appeared at the MTV European Music Awards in order to perform a medley of the songs “Anaconda,” “Bed of Lies,” and “Superbass.”