Oh, joy! Y'all have no idea how excited I am to be writing this post, especially given the pivotal role rapper and budding actress Nicki Minaj's image played in the inception of this blog. I've had my share of criticism for the politics behind Minaj's image for consistently wearing blonde wigs and for exploiting black women's bodies, but lo and behold - this is a turn for the better!
Minaj has recently moved towards a more natural and sophisticated look on her Instagram account as well as on the red carpet. It all started with (what I thought was a one-time stunt) Minaj revealing her natural hair for the video shoot of "Lookin Ass," the first single from her upcoming album The Pink Print. The transformation continued, however, as Minaj made her appearance at the premiere of The Other Woman, which is also her acting debut. Minaj has attributed the style transformation to both wanting to shock her audience and becoming more confident over time, but as she endeavors to return to her hip hop/rap roots with The Pink Print and to take on more acting roles, she may be aiming to be taken more seriously as well.
It is no secret that Nicki Minaj underwent a major style transformation upon signing with Young Money/Cash Money Records to literally become the Black Barbie, or that her music was largely pop-oriented by her management on her first two albums. One could arguably only see Minaj rapping true to her ability when being featured on other artists' songs, where she would always defend her title as the Queen of Rap with a great verse. She was perfectly packaged as America's favorite crossover diva, marketable to most audiences with her rap verses and pop choruses, and with her fierce sexuality and childlike element of fun.
However, this current change strongly signifies Nicki Minaj's maturity. Not only is she aiming to return to what she loves as a performer, rap and acting, but she is avidly working to build a brand around herself. In less than 5 years, Minaj has signed endorsements with Pepsi, MAC Cosmetics, OPI Products, Adidas, and Beats Electronics with her own "Pink Pill" speaker. She has also released the fragrances Pink Friday and Minajesty, the "Nicki Minaj Collection" at Kmart, and her own brand of moscato, Myx Fusions. Minaj has exhibited amazing business savvy by securing multiple streams of income as an entertainer, and with another album set to be released this year, one can only imagine what else she has up her sleeve.
But the greatest part is this: Nicki Minaj's style transformation, stated to be a result of her increasing confidence as a woman and desire to be her authentic self, is a sign to women everywhere that the latter is enough. Being confident in how you look and your abilities to perform, whether on stage or in the boardroom, is, indeed, enough. She has boldly given up signature aspects of what originally made up her brand: heavy make-up, colorful wigs, and outrageous costumes. It's a great statement on embracing change gracefully as life calls for it, and speaks well to the growth that all of us naturally experience in identity.
Again, check out her Instagram @nickiminaj. There are too many gorgeous photos for me to ever post. As Dove continues its "Real Beauty" campaign and Beyonce begins her "#WhatIsPretty" campaign to promote the natural, diverse beauty of all women, Nicki Minaj's transformation couldn't have come at a better time.