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Where Is Nicki Minaj's Grammy

How the hip-hop industry illustrates sexism within the Black community

By Nia McLean

Nicki Minaj has been in the music industry for nearly a decade. However, surprisingly, she has still not won a grammy. Nicki Minaj’s lack of academy awards isn’t because of an absence of talent or industry recognition; she has countless musical masterpieces, such as Super Bass, Beez in the Trap, Itty Bitty Piggy, and Starships — I could keep going. Although talent is subjective, most people would agree that Nicki Minaj is talented enough to win a grammy. If the fraudulent Rap duo Milli Vanilli is worthy, then Nicki Minaj is too. Nicki Minaj hasn’t won a grammy because Black men fail to recognize the struggle of Black women being who they are.

In the Hip Hop industry - a Black Male dominated industry - the lack of support for Black Women is obvious.

When female rappers break streaming records or win awards, they have to conform to standards that men don’t have to conform to. Specifically, female rappers, who are only commended for their mainstream work that fits into TikTok culture — songs that have a catchy hook and nice beat that is good for a dance, regardless of the lyrics. For example, Megan thee Stallion won a grammy for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song, for her song “Savage (remix) feat. Beyonce.” Savage had numerous TikTok dances, and Beyonce - an R&B artist - to propel it into popularity. The song was mainstream and trendy, however, most would agree the lyrics have no real substance.

Conversely, men are praised if their work is mainstream, fitting into a mold, but is also celebrated when it’s different and innovative. Consider Kanye's 2022 album Donda. It is unique (even for Kanye); however, it’s not fun, and you can’t make TikTok dances to it. Its lyrics, meaning, and melody stand alone without anything flashy, and are celebrated for that (with two Grammys).

Nicki Minaj has just as unique, and arguably beautiful songs, but no recognition for them because she’s a woman. Take, for example, her song “Itty Bitty Piggy”. It is innovative and catchy, and her wordplay is witty. But, similar to many other innovative songs by Nicki, Itty Bitty Piggy has not been nominated for a single major award.

This is because men don’t support women the same way women support men. According to data from Spotify, male users listened to 3.3 percent of female artists, and female listeners listened to 30.8 percent of female artists. The disparity is apparent.

How can we, as women, achieve success when half of the population won’t even listen to our music? This crisis transcends beyond music. How can we achieve success when half the population doesn’t support us?

Black men expect Black women to put effort into activism that helps the Black community holistically. However, they don’t devote the same effort to issues related specifically to Black women. For example, Black women are primarily responsible for registering more Black people to vote. Black women led most of the initiatives to stop police brutality after George Floyd. However Black men don’t lead initiatives to address issues such as the sex trafficking of Black teen girls or higher maternal mortality rates in Black Women.

How can we fix the issues that are killing Black women, if our men don’t care?

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