How Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj Represent a Growing Divide
Written by: Troy McDonald
Taylor Swift is the most popular musician on the planet. Bar none. Her album “1989” is a smash. Over 5 million albums sold, in an era where 1 Million sold is a benchmark few ever reach. Accolades poured in. Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, and unparalleled live touring success. She has done this by keeping her clothes on (for the most part) and portraying herself as America’s Sweetheart. She’s cool enough to be popular, yet clean enough for America’s parents. Taylor has stood up to corporate giants Apple and Spotify, and even baked cookies and allowed fans in to her real house(s).
However, her latest act may have her embroiled in a deeper conflict than she anticipated. The conflict of White Twitter vs Black Twitter. It all started with these tweets yesterday between superstar Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.
Taylor was nominated for the MTV Award for “Video of the Year” for “Bad Blood.” Which does highlight the slim bodies of Taylor and her group of super hero like warriors.
What is Black Twitter? Black Twitter is a group of Twitter users who believe that white culture gets ahead because its mainstream and popular and in the process Black culture gets relegated to the back seat. Pun intended.
Take this tweet that Nicki Minaj re-tweeted after her original post.
For Black Twitter, the fact that Nicki Minaj was snubbed in the category, is proof that the “man” is against them and does not value their art.
The systemic racism that has plagued minorities for generations has found a new home on Twitter. Why wouldn’t it? Its the place where people vent. Times haven’t changed. Instead of getting ripped off by white acts in the 1950's, today’s black artists just aren’t nominated.
“The systemic racism that has plagued minorities for generations has found a new home on Twitter.”
It is hard to argue the pure sales volume and power of Taylor Swift. The Bad Blood video set Vevo records. Recently she sold out almost 90,000 seats in two nights at Soldier Field in Chicago. A football stadium. No other contemporary urban “black” act is doing that. A black act hasn’t captivated the world in the way Taylor has since Michael Jackson.
Nicki Minaj’s last album “The Pinkprint” was a commercial disappointment. The album has sold less than 700,000 copies as of July 19th. The video for the single “Anaconda” was a huge success and set Vevo records. Some would attribute the views to the controversy about the video. (Too much bare ass)
“A black act has not captivated the world in the way Taylor has since Michael Jackson.”
Even if black artists focused on making Taylor-like music, He/she would be considered a “sell out” to white culture for going “mainstream.”
Maybe Taylor Swift gets ahead because she is that damn good and has the numbers in mass to prove it.
The answer is simple. If people want the ass shaking, cuss word filled music to be what is “mainstream,” then they have to buy the record and see the artist live. If 100,000 people wanted to see Nicki Minaj in Soldier Field, It would have happened already.
“Maybe Taylor Swift gets ahead because she is that damn good and has the numbers in mass to prove it.”
White Twitter is oblivious to this because they just exist. They buy the record, see the artist live, and tweet their love and admiration.
What if White Twitter was the most welcoming of all? One that allowed people to just like the music. No matter the creed, sexual orientation, or other factors.
Ask Tyga how Black Twitter treated him after his alleged transgressions with a transgender women. The tweets were rude and condescending. Taylor Swift would never support a fan of hers getting bullied. It is the right thing for her to do, but the best thing for her business.
The reason mainstream culture is “mainstream” is because people feel welcomed. When you use the N-word, cut down people, and threaten to “pop them off” via song, you will alienate a segment of the buying population. Can you make it through a Nicki Minaj concert without the N-word being used?
For some reason we believe each generation is the one that will get it “right.” Racism didn't die when The Beatles told us “All We Need Is Love.” Although the dream is as fantastic now as it was in the 1960's.
What if you are black and identify with White Twitter? What if you are White and identify with Black Twitter?
We might be living in the most divided and convoluted generation of all time. One where whites and blacks, and those who sympathize with those identities, co-exist in the real world, but air out real differences and opinions in the digital realm.
“Now we’ve got Bad Blood.”
The MTV Video Music Awards air live Sunday, August 30th at 9/8pm Central on MTV.