Nicki Minaj is in the news. Usually this makes me happy but Miley Cyrus has decided to speak on her to roll out three singles. On one called "Cattitude," Miley raps “I love you Nicki, but I listen to Cardi.”
As fans, we can joke about the Nicki hate-train which she has, in the past, benefited from, but there are other times when we should analyze the ways people dislike black women for no reason, which I elaborated on last year for Vice. This seems to be one of those times – and I don’t feel it’s an accident. Miley has a reason to want revenge on Nicki for what happened in 2015. Miley commented on Nicki’s back and forth with Taylor Swift on Twitter, when Nicki was calling out MTV for profiting from but ignoring the contributions of black women in music, and Miley was quoted in an interview as saying that Nicki was “not very polite, and not too kind”, phrases we as black women hear often from white women when we are making them uncomfortable. The patriarchy preserves the fragility of white women by prioritizing their safety (ultimately to the benefit of men), which is why these outdated “angry black women” stereotypes persist. Nicki called Miley out in the infamous “Miley what’s good” moment while accepting the VMA for Best Hip Hop Video. Miley’s response was typical: she blamed the media for manipulating her words and alluded to female empowerment, a routine habit of those wishing to escape accountability.
Now all these years later, after moving through her oatmeal Malibu phase, Miley is back to her culture vulture ways. In “Cattitude”, Miley gets to revive the well-known beef between Nicki and Cardi B to make money for herself only. Of course, she is erasing both women, who told us last October they were done beefing. It’s worth mentioning that Atlanta hit-maker Mike WiLL Made It produced “Cattitude”; he’s the black man responsible for many of Miley’s earlier hip-hop adjacent songs during the twerk period of her career, including “23”, “We Can’t Stop”, and “My Darlin’”. We aren’t new to black men providing these heavy assists to white women that enable their watering down and appropriating hip-hop culture.
Influencer YesJulz Goddard, a serial and blatant cultural thief of hip-hop, with a reputation that includes anything from blatant racism to white women tears, comes to mind. It’s black men in the industry who continue to tolerate and even celebrate her, which is what happened during her messy interview on the Easily Offended show in March. There is a lot of literature on the toxicity of “white supremacy in heels” and the ways it fuels racism and the hip-hop community should be aware of these connections.
I’m disappointed that Miley Cyrus has chosen this route to release music, but will not be surprised if it sells, due to the disposability of black women, particularity in hip-hop. For her to even raise the Nicki-Cardi beef ignores what is going on in the culture currently. Just because we do not want her rapping does not mean we are down with scarcity models that leave room for only one female rapper (hello, Megan Thee Stallion, Stefflon Don and more). One of the reasons the Nicki and Cardi sh-t got started in the first place was because there’s only so much space at the top for black female rappers. Where’s the support for that in hip-hop to make that change? Is it the same support that Miley gets?
Also attached - Miley Cyrus out in London this week.