Minaj raps MTV's racial bias

Pop star Taylor Swift  gave a tweet retort when rapper Nicki Minaj (above) hinted she was passed over for Video of the Year as she is a good-sized African-American woman.
Pop star Taylor Swift gave a tweet retort when rapper Nicki Minaj (above) hinted she was passed over for Video of the Year as she is a good-sized African-American woman. PHOTO: REUTERS
Pop star Taylor Swift (above) gave a tweet retort when rapper Nicki Minaj hinted she was passed over for Video of the Year as she is a good-sized African-American woman.
Pop star Taylor Swift (above) gave a tweet retort when rapper Nicki Minaj hinted she was passed over for Video of the Year as she is a good-sized African-American woman. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK•Singer Taylor Swift led nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards, but was quickly embroiled in controversy when rapper Nicki Minaj suggested she was passed over because of racial bias.

The premier music video event announced on Tuesday that Swift was in the running in nine categories for two hits from her blockbuster album 1989.

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran garnered six nominations, while R&B singer Beyonce and DJ- producer Mark Ronson each scored five nods.

The host of the Aug 30 gala, to be held in Los Angeles, will be singer Miley Cyrus, who twerked at the 2013 awards and brought the bottom-thrusting dance move typically associated with African- American women into the mainstream.

Minaj, 32, one of the top female stars in hip-hop, criticised MTV's choices and hinted that she was ignored for Video of the Year as she is a good-sized African-American woman.

She noted that her video for Anaconda, which is dominated by twerking, broke what was then a record for first-day views and turned into a popular meme.

"When the 'other' girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture, they get that nomination," she wrote on Twitter.

"If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year. Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it."

Anaconda was nominated in three categories including Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop Video.

Swift, 25, broke Minaj's first-day view record with Bad Blood, in which the pop superstar appears as an action hero with a bevy of fellow stars including actress Jessica Alba and model Cindy Crawford.

Swift, who has cast herself as a feminist, responded to Minaj by inviting her to share the stage if Bad Blood wins Video of the Year.

"I've done nothing but love and support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot," Swift tweeted.

Minaj said she was baffled by her comments and urged her to speak out on portrayals of African-American women.

Two African-American artists were nominated for Video of the Year - Beyonce and rapper Kendrick Lamar.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Minaj raps MTV's racial bias'. Print Edition | Subscribe