A couple weeks ago, some of my friends introduced me to Nicki Minaj’s song, “Anaconda”. “Just get ready, the whole video is her ass”, they told me. “Sounds great?” I said, “I guess I’m down to watch Nicki Minaj’s ass for a couple minutes”.
What I wasn’t expecting was to be blown away with Nicki Minaj’s bold feminism, and to be inspired by all the booty in the video.
“Anaconda” is all about repurposing “Baby Got Back”, and pushing a big booty narrative from the female perspective. Where as Sir Mix-a-Lot describes the female body as solely an object of male sexual desire, Nicki Minaj raps about the power of having a bootylicious butt.
“Gun in my purse, bitch I came dressed to kill / He can tell I ain’t missing no meals / And he’s telling me it’s real, that he love my sex appeal” are just some of the lines in Nicki’s rap. With the combination of powerful choreography and the rap lyrics themselves, Nicki uses female sexuality to fire back against age-old booty politics that have objectified women’s bodies solely for male pleasure.
Now, why is this important? Because for decades now, women’s bodies have been sexualized, objectified, cut up into pieces, and dehumanized all in the name of appeasing male viewers. Songs like “Anaconda” can help combat a culture of fatphobia and body-shaming by showing viewers and listeners that what women choose to do with our bodies is OUR decision alone. The song demonstrates, in an in-your-face manner, that women can own our bodies and choose to express our sexuality in whatever manner we like. If Sir Mix-a-Lot can say “I gotta be straight when I say I wanna fuck / till the break of dawn”, then Nicki Minaj can sure as hell say “Come through and fuck ‘em in my automobile / Let him eat it with his grills”. Nicki doesn’t care if you “get sprung” when she walks in with her “fat ass”, she’s already celebrating her body, and doesn’t need your attention to do so.
And let’s not forget, at the end of the video, Nicki Minaj gives also famed rapper, Drake, a lengthy lap dance while she calls out her other “fat ass bitches in the fuckin’ club”. Some critics have claimed that the lap dance empowered no one but Drake, but it is also important to note that Nicki didn’t allow Drake to touch her during the lap dance. Nicki had complete control of the situation, representing the lap dance as a symbol of her sexual desire.
In the end, “Anaconda” is a very bold and daring music video that has forced both good and bad reactions from the viewing audience. I think it’s important to remember though, that Nicki Minaj’s feminism isn’t about your comfort zone, and probably never will be.