Nicki Minaj has caused a backlash amongst Londoners with the release of her latest music video for her slick new tune No Frauds.
Unlike the usual outrage found with Minaj – the way she’s dressed or her brash demeanor, this time Nicki has caused controversy by releasing her video despite the fact it was shot at the scene of a subsequent major international crime. On 21st March Minaj was in London joining Drake on stage for the last UK night of his Boy Meets World tour (read more). She also used the trip to create her video and headed over to Westminster to shoot some scenes. One day later and London was in lockdown facing a terror attack at the same site, near Parliament (read more). Despite the earlier recording of this, it was an intentional decision to go ahead with the release. Many are finding this decision not to replace the scenes to be distasteful in light of the recent events, especially after sources close to Minaj had suggested that she would remove these.
In her video Minaj is seen looking stern and posing in a sinister manner with Parliament in the background. But it is the bridge she gyrates on, Westminster Bridge, that is the most disturbing. It is the exact same bridge where less than a month ago five lost their lives and many more were injured. Mothers, fathers, partners all died. Why then go ahead and release the video anyway? It is hard to watch it as a Londoner and not feel uncomfortable. You cannot help but feel it was a crude and insensitive choice not to cut the scenes. Did Nicki and the army behind her think it would be more powerful now, or even that more people would watch it. No matter how they informed this choice surely using an act of terrorism to your advantage is inherently and obviously wrong?
The counter question is, however, did they release it in the face of terrorism, as a big old fashioned middle finger? Perhaps Minaj thought – let’s go ahead anyway and prove London isn’t scared. She does love London after all and it could, in some way, link back to the hashtag that was trending around the world that day: #wearenotafraid. Politician David Davies MP is among the few Londoners who see the video positively, saying he was ‘happy for Westminster Bridge to be associated with singing and dancing and not terror’. But one of the problems, is that this isn’t a colourful, celebratory song. If it were she could have probably got away with the scenery, but the tune is actually quite sinister. Good, catchy, but sinister. It is a very grey sky and this brings with it a feeling of darkness. Combined in this way with knowledge of what happened, it can almost come across as adding to the problem, fear mongering even, a feeling that the producers want you to be scared.
The video comes on the same day it was announced that London police are receiving extra training to be ready for imminent tube attacks. Later the same evening two policemen were also shot in Paris, in what is being treated as a terror attack. No matter how it was intended, it does leave a sort of sour taste in your mouth.
Watch the video below and decide for yourself:
This piece is also published at www.london360.org/author/josepha