I’ve been an admirer of Nicki Minaj for most of my young adult years. Her music has nurtured me and her presence has elevated me throughout a plethora of grim moments. I was first introduced to Nicki Minaj in 2008, the year I migrated to the states. Her wittiness and ability to illuminate a room with her smile captured and held my heart captive. Post migrating to the states, I searched the world for solitude and often times found solitude in dangerous places.
We’re often warned not to idolize the wealthy and famous but I’ve always been the one to disregard simple decrees. The inception of Nicki Minaj’s mainstream career elated me. I reveled in her new found fame and social status. Her strides up the totem pole, despite being combatted with various obstacles encouraged me to simply be better. Better is always enough and that’s essentially what she has taught me.
It takes an immense amount strength and dedication for anyone to remain inspired and impelled to create whilst dealing with overt hate. Amidst all the chaos and controversy, she remains unshaken and resolute. I personally asked few of her fans to lament about their love and admiration for her and these are their testimonies.
Shawn, Chicago, Illinois
As I watched her throughout her career, my admiration only grew as the obstacles and criticisms against her piled on. The stans use her as a punching bag to feel more secure about their own favorite artist; old school hip-hop heads disqualify her entire discography because of her pop records; “Black Twitter” hasn’t found a joke about Nicki Minaj that they’ve deemed unfunny; white America has always kept her at a “safe distance” because she’s viewed as vulgar and ghetto; other rappers lazily use her name for a come-up; pop never truly accepted her as a pop artists; and now her legitimacy and credibility as a rapper is being questioned almost 10 years after “Playtime Is Over” dropped. There are some criticisms of Nicki that I can understand and even agree with, but most criticisms I read from the general public are criticisms that are only (and unfairly) leveled against Nicki or largely stem from a place of misogyny or sexism. It makes me admire and support the woman even harder to see her persevere in the face of these adversities.
Devyn, Atlanta, Georgia
My first memory of Nicki Minaj is sneaking out of the house one night with my cousin and all of her older friends to go see Nicki open for Gucci Mane. It was her first time performing in Atlanta, and it was a performance in a packed club. I was too young to get into the club, so I saved money all month to get a fake ID and waited for my mom to go to sleep that night. I will never forget what that night felt like. I was probably the youngest person in that club 8 years ago. It was sweaty, the room was hot and packed full of beautiful Black folk, we were all reciting every word to every song, with Nicki standing in the middle of all of this with her signature pink undertone wig and a microphone. That was when my love affair with the hip-hop heavyweight that is Ms. Minaj began, and since then she’s narrated more moments of my life than I can even recall. I think of her existence as a phenomenal Black woman, and I think of my own existence as a Black queer boy, and I am forever thankful for the confidence she’s been able to consistently give me through her music. I think about performing Lookin Ass Nigga at my first drag show, and dancing with my friends to Superbass at a wedding, and rapping Itty Bitty Piggy in the shower with my partner. And still, years later, I always manage to find myself remembering the Nicki Minaj that I snuck out of the house to see in a crowded, sweaty club in Atlanta, and when I see her performing at sold out arenas I still see that same Nicki on the mic.
Leon, Detroit, Michigan
Nicki Minaj has accomplished a plethora of feats within the hip hop community and has managed to outdo herself and some of her peers each era. I was first introduced to her many years ago during her mixtape era. Her unique & playful flow and sharp, witty rhymes pulled me before I had ever discovered what she looked like. What I love most about Nicki is her confidence. It may sound very cliché, but there is a lot of power in speaking what you want into the atmosphere and working hard for it to manifest. Seeing her literally speak her current reign as Queen into existence many years ago is mind blowing. She inspires me to chase my dreams even more, to believe in myself regardless of my background or past. She is the epitome of the American dream. She is so very calculated in her career moves and uses the incessant hate and shame thrown towards her as fuel for shifting to the next place in her career. I love that she isn’t afraid to experiment musically, and she has encouraged millions to be a little more of themselves and say “fuck the haters.’ She is the quintessential female rapper, mogul and icon and there will never be another like her. You rock, Nicki!
Kyli Gongora, 19, Belize, Central America
Being a barb has been one of the best things I could have became other than becoming a mom. Nicki has impacted my life in ways that I will be forever grateful for. From leaving insecurities behind to bossing up, Nicki has always been like a Mom, sister and of course, my best friend. I have grown so much over the past years because of her. Her advices push me to another level of wanting to be successful and independent. Even though she’s a celebrity, she goes the extra mile to communicate, to reach out, to have a little or big laugh, to comfort, to support, to love and to reassure us.
Nyla, Macon, Georgia
I am more that a fan of her music. She inspires me to be the best me that I can be no matter what may happen in my life . A lot of artists aren’t connected with their fans but I can say that she is and I appreciate everything she has taught me and done for me. I don’t think she realizes how much she has helped me through my bad days. She has showed me that I should never give up on myself even when everyone wants me to fail. I’ll always speak positive of her, no matter what.
Zé, Durham, North Carolina
As a whole, she inspires me to stay positive in the face of hate. Being a fan of hers since I was fourteen, I have enjoyed watching her grow over the years. When I decided to pursue music, I most definitely looked to her for guidance. The fact that she stays positive and strong in an industry designed to destroy her inspires me.
Dre, Fremont, California
I love her because she is herself all the time. Her raps are versatile & she can venture to any genre. I love that she has fun with it. I admire how feminine and masculine her raps are. She is a legend of our generation alongside Rihanna & Beyoncé.
Mark, Los Angeles, California
I’m a fan of Nicki Minaj because she’s not afraid to be herself. She came from the hood and has defied all odds. No matter what mood I’m in, there’s always a Nicki song to enlighten me. I can be in the middle of a meeting and if I hear that grunt or “yo” I’m going to stop what I’m doing. I literally cannot talk during one of her verses. Her impact is that real. But for me, it’s more than just music, it feels like I actually know her. I’ve been a fan for nearly a decade and watching her continue to grow is inspiring. She’s the best.
Ayan Thompson, Brooklyn, New York
From when I first became a fan of Nicki’s until now, the reasons behind why I am a fan has greatly changed. When I was 11, overhearing a classmate of mine rapping Itty Bitty Piggy, I just liked the way the song sounded. I did not know that she was a little 5’2 girl from my hometown, New York. I did not know she had 3 mixtapes out or that she was being co-signed by Lil Wayne. She was just the “new girl” on the scene to me. Fast forward a month or two to when Pink Friday dropped and it became more about the music I began familiar with on her chart-topping debut album. As I began to buy her magazine covers and watch her interviews in the following months and years, the reason as to why I am still a fan has extended beyond the music. Yes, I am a fan of the music and I believe she is the most successful female rapper of all time, however, what she stands for and how she carries herself in her music, business, and even personal life is why I am still a fan. I grew into adulthood as a fan of Nicki’s and it definitely shows in the person I am today. Starting out with her endless speeches on being a strong woman and standing in your greatness to always instilling in her fans, like myself, to never depend on a man for anything. Also, the way she speaks about her come-up and to see how hard she grinded, continues to keep me around as a fan because I respect hard working women. Women that do not accept any less than what they know they deserve. Women that do not settle for the “pickle juice”. One of my favorite things about her come-up, is the fact that you can look back to her interviews during her mixtape days and hear her talk about the reality she is living today. I often think back to her speech at my first concert in 2012 and she said “Speak it, Speak it, Speak it. Everything you are, See it. Speak it, & it will be so.” That has stuck with me since and is reflected in my life and the decisions I make. You want something? Go get it. Now, I am 19, still a hardcore, die hard fan and the reasons as to why I became a fan, still stand true. Her love for her fans has never wavered. Her drive is still unmatched. Her unwillingness to never give up on her dreams and goals is still reaching new heights and levels. Her heart is still kind and pure. And, last but not least, her brain is attractive and fascinating. She’s one of the smartest people I know. So, in summary, I am a fan of the greatest female rapper of all time, and I have no intentions on that changing.