When the MTV Music Awards nominations were announced on Monday, 21 July, it ruffled the feathers of two artists, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. To be clear, both the artists have received nominations this year. However, Swift leads the list with nine nominations, including the coveted Video of the Year award.
Unfortunately, Nicki Minaj's colourful and energetic performances have earned her nominations in other categories, including best hip-hop video.
The star expressed her frustration and anger on Twitter. Minaj's ire at not receiving a nomination for her video "Anaconda" is not irrelevant. After all, the video identifies and celebrates female sexuality, while satirizing perceived ideas of the female body. Minaj's style is unique in the video, which managed to get over 500 million views on Youtube. Ellen DeGeneres has also made a spoof on it.
This was surpassed by Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood", which received one billion views and a nomination. So when Nicky Minaj expressed her disappointment on not being able to bag the same nomination, Taylor Swift tweeted, "I've done nothing but love & support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot."
Swift couldn't understand what Minaj meant when she tweeted about being a different kind of artist. Minaj tried to point out that African American women artists don't have the same privilege as white women; their ability to impact society is limited, or ignored. Ironically, Minaj was shooting another video when she was tweeting about the MTV VMAs on Tuesday.
Swift, who shares the coveted prize's nomination with Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, glossed over coded messages on racism and female sexuality and tried to make things better with an extended hand of friendship. Swift added, "If I win, please come up with me!! You're invited to any stage I'm ever on."
Swift's message was sweet and redolent of camaraderie between music artists. But, Minaj's attempt to state her difference from "other women" and her feelings of being slighted were pushed under the rug by Swift's one sweeping gesture to share the stage with her.
The MTV Video Music Awards will be aired on Sunday, 30 August.