WOMEN
01/29/2015 10:13 am ET Updated Jan 29, 2015

Lessons From Beyoncé And Nicki Minaj's Feminist Friendship

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Anyone paying attention to the world of pop culture knows that it’s a hostile one, with feuds and rivalries between artists being the norm. When it comes to relationships between female artists, infamous Twitter battles between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks and notorious showdowns between Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim lead many to think, as T.I. recently put it in an interview with Vibe, that women simply can’t get along. In an industry known for its long history of female rap beefs and cutthroat competition, the inspiring and sisterly relationship between Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj is a welcome change. Since we could all learn something from their fierce feminist friendship, here are five lessons from the Queen of Rap and Queen Bey.

1. Beyoncé and Nicki celebrate each other’s sexuality. Their recent collaborations, “Flawless (Remix)” and “Feeling Myself,” are feminist anthems that honor and elevate sexual empowerment and agency. The artists’ message is especially important when taking into account the long history of sexual exploitation and stereotyping of black women. Womanist scholar Emilie Townes explains that the stereotyping of black women is an example of “the history of dominant culture resorting to denigrating myths to maintain the status quo.” Townes explains that the contrasting images of the asexual Mammy and the highly sexualized Jezebel show how white culture has destructively shaped perceptions of black women’s sexuality. Beyoncé and Nicki’s musical collaborations challenge and deconstruct these damaging stereotypes and celebrate a sex-positive view of black women and their bodies.

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