By Julissa Catalan
Soon after the release of Nicki Minaj’s new music videowhich features an animated version of the singer as a dictator, along with German-style propaganda posters, a fascist army, red armbands and a symbol that closely resembles a swastikaviewers and media immediately called the video anti-Semitic for its use of Nazi imagery.
“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 76thanniversary 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.”
While it took Minaj three days to acknowledge the scandal, she eventually issued a public apology via Twitter, saying:
I didn’t come up w/the concept, but I’m very sorry & take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I’d never condone Nazism in my art.
NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) November 11, 2014
The artist who made the lyric video for “Only” was influenced by a cartoon on Cartoon Network called “Metalocalypse” & Sin City. NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) November 11, 2014
Foxman raised an important point in his statement when he noted the video’s debut on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht. DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti has called out the use ofracism for profit in the past, arguing that scandals like these are never a coincidence but rather deliberate publicity stunts.
Earlier this year, rapperMacklemore was accused of being anti-Semitic for wearing a prosthetic nose, fake beard and wig on stage at a Seattle concert. The singer maintained that “it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semitic.”
Perry was called racist for dressing as a geisha for her performance of her hit “Unconditional” at the 2013 American Music Awards, as well as for her Egyptian-themed music video for the song “Dark Horse”which even sparked a Change.org petition.
Lavigne, meanwhile, was heavily criticized for her music video for the song “Hello Kitty,” for associating the Japanese culture with sexual innuendos.
Both pop stars have said they aren’t racist, but rather are showing their appreciation for other cultures.
The ADL later issued anotherstatement accepting Nicki Minaj’s apology.
“The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed today’s statement from pop artist Nicki Minaj apologizing to her fans and taking full responsibility for her music video containing Nazi imagery released last week.
“‘We are pleased that Nicki Minaj has taken full responsibility for the video and recognized that it was indeed offensive,’ said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. ‘Her clear renunciation of Nazism is an important step. We hope that she will take further steps to educate herself and her fans about who the Nazis were and why we should never take genocide or the Holocaust lightly.'”
Watch Nicki Minaj’s music video for ‘Only’ here (warning: explicit language):