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OPINION: Nicki could’ve simply let the courts deal with the drama surrounding her husband’s convicted assault of a Black woman. But instead, she chose to make matters worse.
Nowadays, it seems like facts and Nicki Minaj don’t get along.
Last week, the internet was breaking over the famed rapper’s public hesitancy over vaccinations — and some of the ridiculous misinformation/trolling she spread on social media as a result. Such a situation could appear as a minor blemish for an entertainer who has captivated audiences for over a decade and is usually on the right side of the conversation.
But it appears that more lies and misconceptions from the recently-wed Mrs. Petty was reemerging.
On Wednesday, daytime talk show The Real aired an exclusive interview with Jennifer Hough, a Black woman who has accused Minaj’s husband Kenneth Petty of raping her in 1994. For his involvement in the act, Petty was arrested, charged with first-degree rape, and served four and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted rape at the time. Hough is now suing both Minaj and Petty for directly and indirectly threatening and harassing her for going public about her assault. She has even alleged that Minaj attempted to bribe her with $500,000 to stop her from further discussing the incident with Petty.
Sigh, none of this is OK and whether you’re a “Barb” who stans for all things Nicki — you gotta admit that your fave got some explaining to do.
For starters, Minaj has already shown her hand by attempting to discredit Hough with information that would later be revealed as false. Before Hough’s appearance on national television, Minaj had told the public lies about Hough to try to build sympathy around her husband. For example, during a 2019 episode of her Queen Radio show, Minaj told listeners, “…something that he was wrongly accused of doing when he was a 15-year-old…all because he didn’t have $7K to get himself bailed out. Because when you’re in the hood you don’t have that kind of money and neither does your family. And when the alleged accuser wrote a letter to the judge asking to take these recanted statements, she was told that she would go to jail for 90 days, allegedly.”
To add insult to injury, she further added, “but white is right,” to give her fans the impression that Hough was a white woman (she’s Black) falsely accusing her husband of rape within a criminal justice system that unfairly punishes Black men. In other instances, Nicki Minaj has also previously responded to those commenting on her Instagram that Hough was a former girlfriend of Kenneth Petty — when Hough has constantly reiterated in interviews that the two never had a relationship or sexual encounter prior to her alleged assault.
For Nicki to go to such lengths to discredit a rape victim speaks volumes. And quite frankly, we shouldn’t be too surprised by this. In 2015, Minaj spent $30,000 on a wedding for her older brother Jelani Maraj, who would later be sentenced 25 years to life in prison in 2020 for raping an 11-year-old girl multiple times. Prior to his sentencing, Minaj defended him consistently, even paying to bail him out of jail shortly after paying for his wedding in 2015. In 2018, she doubled-down on collaborating with controversial rapper Tekashi69 in the song “FEFE” before he was given four years probation that year on charges that involved using a child in a sexual performance.
“I wanted him to perform with me at the VMAs,” Minaj told the press at the time. “And somewhere along the line he didn’t get approved to perform by the powers that be. “I don’t want anyone to think for a second that I wouldn’t invite him to perform his hit record. I want everyone to know my character. I really fought.”
Nicki further added, of the controversy: “It is what it is. When I know somebody there’s nothing you can tell me about him. That’s just how it is.”
So perhaps “that’s just how it is” for Nicki when it comes to her husband and brother, too. Perhaps her blind allegiance to those close to her has made her ignore the glaring facts while the rest of us are beginning to notice. It’s a shame that during a time when Black women accusers are already silenced enough in the industry — to see someone like Minaj, who has previously shared that she has been in abusive encounters with men in the past — do this is a low blow. Whatever the reasoning behind her actions are, Nicki Minaj has definitely lost a fan in myself and others who thought she was better than this.
Her music was good, but standing in solidarity with victims is better.
Ernest Owens is the Editor at Large of Philadelphia magazine and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. The award-winning journalist has written for The New York Times, NBC News, USA Today and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and ernestowens.com.
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