Shock queen Nicki Minaj, who apparently also has a career as a hip hop artist, has figured out how to keep her name in the papers—stunts like wearing a dental-floss thong on her album cover and a music video drenched in Nazi imagery will do the trick. Today, she has announced her European “Pinkprint Tour” with a publicity photo some Natives might see as yet another attempt to court outrage. Is this headdress deserving of the backlash faced by Pharrell Williams, Lana Del Rey and others?
Update: Some Twitter users have suggested that the headdress Minaj is wearing is a Caribbean carnival headdress, which would be in keeping with Minaj’s Trinidadian heritage. It’s a possibility—although it lacks the bright colors and sparkly ornamentation typical of carnival headdresses. Some of the feathers suggest carnival, but the eagle feathers and general design seems to be pulled from Plains Indian culture. We may seem to be splitting hairs, but in truth this is where the discussion of this issue is headed. It’s easy to make the call on appropriation and disrespect from Lana Del Rey and Emerson Windy—and we’re glad to see that non-Native media has gotten on board as well. It becomes much murkier when someone with Nicki Minaj’s heritage wears something that maybe-is, maybe-isn’t a Native American headdress. ICTMN would like to thank the Twitter users who shared their thoughts with us.
Update 2: The headdress was created by Ruby Feathers (Sigourney Burrell), a designer originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who is currently based in Paris. There is a profile and video feature about her at LesShooters.com from 2013 we found interesting—if only for her statement “I would never dress Nicki Minaj, she has no talent, no style and no class.”
Here’s the full image Minaj tweeted and posted to her website earlier today: