BLACK VOICES
10/13/2015 04:15 pm ET Updated Oct 13, 2015

Nicki Minaj Parody Forgets That Black Women's Bodies Are No Laughing Matter

Is Minaj's big booty really that funny?

A recent Nicki Minaj parody that aired on an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" has simply gone too far.

The sketch, which aired on Monday's broadcast of the daytime talk show, was set up as a "sneak peek" of Minaj's recently announced ABC Family sitcom based on her life. Styled as a kitschy '90s sitcom, the skit's one and only punchline is that the Minaj family -- Nicki, mother, father, and even pet dog -- all have gigantic backsides. 

The Ellen Show

Ha, ha, ha. 

There are so many questions that the parody brings up. How much money were these poor actors paid in a display for which minstrel show would be the only fitting description? Who wrote the sketch, and did they think it was actually funny? Who, in their right mind, would actually clear this to be aired on television? How much longer will black women's bodies be mocked and disrespected for entertainment?  

While Nicki Minaj is known for proudly showing off her large, round bum, she does so on her terms. She isn't perfect, but she has a certain kind of agency in her videos and performances that the sketch completely strips away, deconstructing Minaj into merely an ass than an actual human being.

Being objectified and sexualized while simultaneously being told we are undesirable based on society's standards is something most black women must face before they even hit puberty.  So the fact that one of the first shots of the skit is of a young black girl bending over to reveal a huge, padded butt is not only unfunny, it's also just plain sad. 

Nicki Minaj has been a guest on DeGeneres's show numerous times, and the two seem to have a good relationship. But each time Minaj visits, DeGeneres makes a point of adding some bit in which she gets to once again zero in on the apparently fascinating subject of Minaj's ass through ridiculous skits or by donning her own Minaj costume. It's the same fascination "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen seemed to have when he recently asked Minaj, repeatedly, if he could take a "selfie" with her butt. This kind of fascination subtly recalls that of the carnival goers who attended Saartije Baartman's "human zoo" exhibits way back when.

It's pretty evident that "The Ellen DeGeneres Show's" producers and writers think a sketch based around making fun of a black women's ass (be it real or "fake") is just some good-natured ribbing. The end result, though, is something more like complete and utter disrespect. 

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" did not immediately respond to request for comment. 

Watch an explainer of the controversy surrounding the sketch from Now This News. 

 

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