February 21, 2012 - 12:58pm
BY KAYLA UPADHYAYA
I was studying in East Quad Cafe when my friend asked if I’d seen the new Nicki Minaj music video for the rap star’s latest single “Stupid Hoe.” Directed by Hype Williams, the video is a culmination of all of Nicki’s eccentricities and over-the-top theatrics: bubblegum pink wigs, flashing lights, quick images of Barbie dolls, wild makeup and bizarre shots in which a cheetah morphs into Nicki’s face.
After the video, my eyes adjusted back to normal lighting and someone leaned over to ask if I’d heard that BET had banned the video due to its explicit nature. My first thought was to fact check him — you can’t believe everything you hear in East Quad Cafe.
After confirming that BET had indeed banned the “Stupid Hoe” video from their airwaves, my next thought was that the ban made sense considering the fact that BET never airs content that is sexually explicit and certainly bans all videos from male artists that degrade, objectify, oppress or offend women.
I really hope my sarcasm isn’t too subtle.
Yes, Nicki repeats the words “stupid hoe” at least 20 times per chorus and yes she appears in tight, revealing clothing throughout the video, but the booty-popping moves and expletives are no raunchier or more graphic than most of the content aired on BET. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the only two other cases of music video bans by the network that I can remember regarded two other female hip-hop artists: Teairra Marí for her “Sponsor” video and Ciara for her “Ride” video.
It seems that BET has a problem with promiscuous, sexed-up female artists but hardly wags a finger at the male artists who spew lyrics that objectify and degrade women while half-naked background dancers shake their booties behind and around them. So when the male artist is the one sexing up women and likening them to playthings, it’s OK, but when a female artist like Nicki steps forward and presents a self-image of their own choosing it’s unacceptable?
I’m not saying that the video and the song are without their problems. “Stupid Hoe” is completely based on girl vs. girl aggression and features a number of stereotypes of female sexuality, but the problem here is that BET allows men to perpetuate these stereotypes and sexist themes about women, and the second a female artist presents themselves as sexed-up deviants, they are banned. If that’s not a double standard, I don’t know what is.
BET still hasn’t released official comments about the ban, but I’m interested to see exactly how they justify the decision. After all, even cleaned-up versions of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Dr. Dre songs featured on the network’s programs are more explicit and suggestive than Nicki’s admittedly crude lyrics. And maybe I’d be more willing to believe that the network takes issue with Nicki popping her thong-clad booty in a cage if, you know, I’d never seen thong-wearing, gyrating women dancing around on BET…but it’s practically a standard.
Oh and remember when BET banned Chris Brown? No? That’s because it never happened. And the network continues to shower the R&B star with awards and attention. So the man who physically abused Rihanna gets his airtime, but Nicki’s video is simply too much for BET to handle. You can disagree and call me a “stupid hoe,” but something about that just doesn’t make sense.