Everything you need to know about Taylor, Nicki and Katy's Twitter feud
That escalated fast...
Two of the most influential women in the music industry – Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift – are butting heads on Twitter over the recently announced VMA nominations. It all kicked off with this tweet from Minaj on Tuesday:
"If I was a different 'kind' of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year"
Minaj is referring to her mega hit released last year – Anaconda – that saw a whopping 19.6 million views within the first 24 hours it was released and for weeks and months after, was a major talking point. The track enjoyed enormous chart success and was the subject of countless parodies and memes. All part of Minaj's carefully crafted plan. Its popularity was immense. The video has received nominations for 'Best Hip Hop Video' and 'Best Female Video' but Minaj feels two big nominations have been unjustly snubbed. Minaj followed her initial tweet with:
"If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year" (side note: which weirdly has since been deleted by Minaj.)
A message that Swift decided to interpret as a personal attack, since her video for Bad Blood does celebrate women with very slim bodies and it is nominated for 'Video Of The Year'. Her response, caused the conversation to take a meaningless detour away from Minaj's intended target:
This wan't supposed to be a petty exchange between female artists, but rather a message to the music industry, calling out the racial bias that exists. As the Guardian coverage of this story rightly points out: "Minaj's [behind] is considered too sexual, too crude, too shockingly unpalatable when she deliberately and provocatively, puts it on show, whereas the same pose struck by white models is taken as sexy, friendly and OK." That is what Minaj was getting at with her tweets.
Minaj is obviously confused by Tailor's response and decision to commandeer the conversation, a move that some have put down to her "inflated ego". Maybe it is ego, maybe its naivety. Swift is young, and has come from a notoriously white music background –country music. Perhaps this is a learning opportunity for her. She has the power to influence, as we saw with her request for Apple to pay artists during the three months free trial for the new Apple Music streaming service. One Tweet from Taylor and Apple buckled after less than 24 hours, declaring that artists will be paid after all. We know she has a heart, this was just a very poorly judged interjection on a matter she clearly doesn't fully understand.
But perhaps the worst culprit is Katy Perry, who took an opportunistic jibe at Swift. Weighing in with:
"Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalises on the take down of a woman..."
The feud between old pals Swift and Perry has been bubbling for some time, and it is widely thought that Swift's most recent hit Bad Blood was written about her. But this has even less to do with the more pressing issues at hand.
In many ways, the instinct of 'white media' to side with sweetheart Taylor Swift (numerous titles have chosen to entirely ignore the issue of racial bias within the music industry and portray this as Swift 'taking down Minaj') only serve to further make Minaj's point.
But what do we make of the presence of Beyonce's 7/11 video in the 'Video Of The Year' nomination list? Has Queen Bey's ubiquitous and resounding success and influence elevated her above this racial inequality in music as an exception, or is she perhaps a key to helping to change perspectives in the industry?
Taylor’s last word on the matter was to unfollow Nicki Minaj on Twitter. Not her most mature move, but hopefully this experience will open hers and all of our eyes to the issue of racial bias in music. And we hope they can all get back on the same page soon.