Nicki Minaj Sets Her Sights on the Male Gaze in Her New Video

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 12 2014 7:37 PM

Nicki Minaj Sets Her Sights on the Male Gaze

Nicki_Minaj_Lookin_Ass
Nicki Minaj in her video for "Lookin’ Ass N*gga."

Still from "Lookin’ Ass N*gga"

Nicki Minaj’s new video starts out simply enough: She vamps to the camera, strutting around in a tight fishnet dress, while the viewer looks on. It’s pretty standard material for a hip-hop or pop music video.

But it doesn’t take long for things to get more interesting. “Look at y’all lookin’-ass niggas,” she taunts in rapid fire, as she and director Nabil turn the camera on the eyes of the man looking on, “Stop-lookin’-at-my-ass ass niggas.”

In case you didn't get the message of all this, Minaj drives it home by the end. (I usually don’t give spoiler alerts for music videos, but here goes.) She brandishes double assault rifles, and then sprays a few dozen rounds in the direction of the viewer.

Surely some viewers will look for hypocrisy in this message. They might ask, “Why is Nicki scantily clad, if not to be looked at?” But to me this is missing the point. You don’t get to choose who gets to look at Nicki Minaj; she does.

(“Lookin’ Ass N*gga” will be out on Cash Money compilation Rise Of an Empire, due March 11.)

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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