And she was rolling along so smoothly. Taylor Swift. Friend of Everyone. Protector of Artists against Apple. It was world domination. And then…a MAJOR stumble.
So the MTV VMA nominations came down yesterday. As expected, the Bad Blood video led the way with 9 nominations. Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, however, was only nominated for 2 awards, and not in the Video of the Year category. Social media has shortened our pop culture memories. But it was the Year of the Ass, wasn’t it? Remember how Asses took over? It was a significant pop culture moment. And the Anaconda video was right in the eye of that. Nicki wasn’t happy about it not being recognised. So, as you do, she tweeted about it:
Hey guys @MTV thank you for my nominations. 😘😘😘 Did Feeling Myself miss the deadline or...?— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
If I was a different "kind" of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well. 😊😊😊— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
When the "other" girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
Oh but trust me. I'll be on that stage to collect my awards for vid of the year. Feeling Myself & Anaconda. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
I'm not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it. https://t.co/2xOvJzBXJX— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
Award shows have been doing this a long time, relegating artists like Beyonce and Nicki Minaj to the “hip hop” categories and excluding them from the top tier. You know exactly the issue she’s addressing here, you don’t need me to explain it to you.
Or, actually, maybe she wasn’t clear enough because, um, Taylor Swift thought it was all about Taylor Swift. This is what happens when the world revolves around you. You start to revolve around yourself.
@NICKIMINAJ I've done nothing but love & support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot..— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 21, 2015
There was a hashtag that was trending a couple of years ago called #solidarityisforwhitewomen created by Mikki Kendall. If you missed it, click here for an introduction and follow as many of the links within the post as you can. The way Taylor Swift responded to Nicki Minaj last night is exactly what #solidarityisforwhitewomen was trying to address: privilege and myopia. Instead of using her considerable influence to understand the issue, as Duana said, with credit to our friend Lara, Taylor decided she’d just “have a suck attack” (I love this expression).
Here’s how Nicki responded:
Huh? U must not be reading my tweets. Didn't say a word about u. I love u just as much. But u should speak on this. @taylorswift13— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
And then came the infamous Taylor Swift passive aggressiveness:
@NICKIMINAJ If I win, please come up with me!! You're invited to any stage I'm ever on.— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 21, 2015
OH MY GOD.
That’s how you kiss and make up? Hey! Sorry I insulted you, you can come to my party, at my huge palace, and appreciate my generosity any time!
Apart from the most ardent members of the Taylor Swift Army though, no one was impressed. For the first time in a long, long time, Taylor Swift does not have the majority. The majority is with Nicki. And this is new territory. Because Taylor, as you know, only picks easy fights. Strategically this was a critical error. And by now, now that she’s spent the entire night reading all the tweets and all the Tumblr posts and all the blogs, she knows. She knows she f-cked up. The difference between Taylor f-cking up and anyone else f-cking up? Especially if it were the other way around and it was Nicki who’d f-cked up? Taylor will be forgiven much, much more quickly, easily, without much a grovel either. Then she’ll just move on to her next conflict.
As I’ve noted so many times before, Taylor Swift thrives on conflict. It fuels her… ironically …not unlike Kanye West.