Girl, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been
somewhat obsessed actually, ever since your provocative "Anaconda" video
slithered its way into my path. I have recently had somewhat of an epiphany
about my feelings towards you, so I figured it was time to write you this
If I had written you a letter four months ago, it would’ve
been filled with bitter, Tipper Gore-like chastisements about how you chose to
portray yourself in the "Anaconda" video. I’m down with some sexy rump-shaking (I’m
purposefully avoiding the word "twerking," BTdubs), but watching that video through
the eyes of a mom of two little girls, I was horrified and disheartened that
you chose to use your platform as a superstar to showcase women in that light.
wrote a heated blog post about my disappointment that received support from
fellow moms, but I also encountered several people who stood up for you and
your, um, choices. Though I wanted to rip the tongues out of their mouths for
disagreeing with me, I decided to listen and absorb.
After three months of thinking probably way too much about this
subject and your bare-naked-lady video, I came up with this:
1. You are an artist and I need to appreciate that.
That doesn’t mean I have to like it, but it does mean that you can do whatever
the bleep you want to do in your videos because that’s the right living in this
country affords us.
2. My daughters are going to see things I don’t
want them to see—that’s just a fact of life. It’s not your fault that life is
moving at warp speed in this teched-out society, and kids are being exposed to
adult content at far too young an age. Getting all crazy-mad at you doesn’t
help this plight. It’s just a waste of my energy that needs to be focused on
I was struck by your poise and your talent, and by how hard you have worked to get where you are in an industry ruled predominantly by men.
3. You are not a role model for my daughters. It
is my responsibility to step up my parenting game and make sure that, even if
they do see videos like "Anaconda," I talk to them, a lot, about what it means to
be a girl and a lady and a woman.
4. If I try to hide your videos and make them a
big deal, my daughters will undoubtedly push away from me and watch the videos
anyway, when what I really want (and need) is for them to trust me and want to
talk openly with me.
5. After coming to all of those conclusions over the past few
weeks, I then watched you perform on Saturday Night Live recently and,
Nicki, I sort of fell in love with you.
Your performance was real and vulnerable and showed a side
to you that I had never seen.
I was mesmerized by your performance, by your heart that you
wore on that mesh sleeve and by the powerful lyrics your were spittin’
(isn’t that what they call it?).
I was struck by your poise and your talent, and by how hard
you have worked to get where you are in an industry ruled predominantly by men,
in a society where being both black and a woman puts you in a place of needing
to scratch and crawl to get your way to the top, which you have managed to do.
I get you now.
I’m still not a fan of your videos. IMHO, you don’t need to make videos like that
to make a name for yourself. You are so clearly talented. Taming down the
tramp-factor and letting your talent speak for itself may seem like
career-suicide in a society driven by boob and booty-ogling, but now that
you’re on top of your game, and pretty much have pole-position in your industry,
maybe just try to show us more of the SNL Nicki—the strong, brave, talented,
self-respecting woman that you are.