Pop Twitter reached for the popcorn when the flare-up began on Tuesday with the announcement of this year’s MTV’s Video Music award nominations. The omission of Minaj’s hit Anaconda from the video of the year category prompted her to tweet about perceived racial bias against women in the music industry.
“When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination,” Minaj tweeted, in between retweeting her followers’ examples of the cultural impact of Anaconda in the past year. “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.”
Swift read Minaj’s comments as a subtweet aimed at her – and reasonably so, given that she is the only white woman to be nominated in the video of the year category, and the clip for her star-studded single Bad Blood features a veritable runway’s worth of Victoria’s Secret models. Swift is nominated for nine awards in total.
But Swift’s aggrieved and public response, in which she accused Minaj of “[pitting] women against each other”, has been widely criticised (except by Piers Morgan) as tone-deaf, especially for someone who was recently applauded for a high-profile and successful crusade against unfairness and institutionalised power imbalances in the music industry.
The hot takes haven’t stopped, and Minaj hasn’t stopped retweeting them – cheers Nicki!
And now that Perry’s joined the fray, it’s unlikely to die down anytime soon.
“Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman,” Perry tweeted late on Wednesday in a defining example of a subtweet (no Twitter handles of subject; assumed knowledge of the issue at hand; plausible deniability).
Subtweet or no, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that Perry was referring to Bad Blood, a song about a feud between former female friends that is widely understood as a reference to Perry, after Swift ‘let slip’ a few choice clues to Rolling Stone last year.
Then Perry suggested that “the real travesty” of the VMA nominations was that Rihanna’s controversial video for Bitch Better Have My Money was overlooked.
Morgan earlier waded in to defend Swift in the Daily Mail.
Who will be next? Will it be Beyoncé – the only black woman (and the only woman besides Swift) to be nominated in the video of the year category, with a clip that looks like it was shot on an iPhone in about 20 minutes? (As opposed to, you know, with $13,000 of fetishwear?)
Will it be MTV, the only party to be @’d directly by Perry, with 140 characters of explanation for their omission of Bitch Better Have My Money?
Or will it be someone entirely different? Mr President?
Of course, the important point to remember in the middle of all this is that the VMAs are among the worst, if not the worst, of all the pointless, made-up awards in the popular music industry.
This article was written by Elle Hunt, for theguardian.com on Thursday 23rd July 2015 08.06 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010