Nicki Minaj Calls out the Fashion Industry for Profiting Off Black Culture

Turn ya goofy down #NYFW #Plein

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Saturday night, at an after-party for Philipp Plein’s Spring 2018 extravaganza, singer, songwriter, actress, hip-hop queen and Wilhelmina signee Nicki Minaj criticized the fashion industry — an industry notorious for excluding people of color — for appropriating and profiting off of black culture.

“Thank you Philipp Plein for including our culture,” began Minaj, one of the evening’s many performers. (21 Savage, Yo Gotti and Rae Sremmurd joined Minaj onstage at the post-party; Dita Von Teese performed her sparkly burlesque routine at the show; Future provided the runway soundtrack.) “Designers get really big and really rich off of our culture, and then you don’t see a motherfucker that look anything like us in the front row half the time,” continued Minaj, who’d sat front row at Plein’s show (and presumably been paid to do so). “So let’s make some noise for Philipp Plein tonight.”

Say what you will about his designs and attention-seeking, big-budget runway shows, but the German designer routinely prioritizes inclusion. His Spring 2014 show featured exclusively models of color, as did the corresponding ad campaign. Last season, he was one of the few designers to cast a transgender model.

Spring 2018 was no different. “Despite the impossible door (crowds were left stranded out on 34th Street), the man is inclusive. His cast had everyone from Teyana Taylor to Kinoshita Manama to Rae Sremmurd to Matthew Noszka to Adriana Lima,” noted Vogue reviewer Nick Remsen.

Also included in Plein’s “Gone Gone Bad” lineup were Irina Shayk, Stella Maxwell, Jasmine Saunders aka Golden Barbie, Daphne Groeneveld, Elsa Hosk, Rich the Kid, 21 Savage, Snoop Dogg’s father and son (Vernell Varnado and Cordell Broadus, respectively) and Kanye favorite Teyana Taylor, who closed the show with a memorable dance number. At first glance, that’s quite an impressive, diverse lineup. (After NYFW wraps, we’ll give you the hard stats.)

Minaj, for her part, has long used her seat at both the music and fashion tables to advocate for the black community. As Refinery29 points out, in July 2015, Minaj blasted the MTV VMAs on Twitter, writing, “If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” and, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, two white, slim female artists who felt targeted by Minaj’s comments, took offense. In a follow-up interview with The New York Times, Minaj clarified her position (note: the “you” in Minaj is referring to is Miley Cyrus; Swift had already retracted her subtweets and apologized by that point):

“The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls. You’re in videos with black men, and you’re bringing out black women on your stages, but you don’t want to know how black women feel about something that’s so important? Come on, you can’t want the good without the bad,” stated Minaj. “If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn’t not want to know that.”

Nicki Minaj, master of the mic drop.

[ via Harper’s Bazaar ]