Last week I posted a video of a spoken word artist named Jasmine Mans in which she performed a poem that addressed Nicki Minaj, the lack of substance in her music and the responsibility she has to deliver uplifting messages in her music being the only Black female hip-hop artist out there right now. The Juice has since spoken to 19-year-old Mans, who says she feels women in rap should "challenge themselves" especially considering rap is such a male-dominated industry.
"The poem is a critique not only on Nicki but on women in hip-hop in general," The University of Wisconsin sophomore said. "They should challenge themselves to be better and not let the industry make them who they aren't. They should not entertain just for the sake of entertaining but to leave listeners with a message."
Mans also stressed the fact that she is a Nicki Minaj fan is exactly why Nicki became the target of her rant and why she holds her to higher standards. "She can have more of a message in her music. I don't believe she's a bad artist -- she's very talented but she is talented enough to come out with lyrics that can be conscious enough to affect the young mind. She simply chooses not to."
When asked if she felt she wasn't really a fan of Nicki but a fan of who she thinks Nicki should be, Mans said, "I am a fan of Nicki now but a bigger fan of who I think she can become," adding that Nicki's Barbie persona is a real turn off to her. "Barbies aren't even created for Black girls. Everyone can't look like Barbies, they are plastic. So, what are you really saying?" she asked.
Mans also said her studies of W.E.B. Du Bois is what's inspired this "message-driven" mentality in music. "We talk about how art should be used as propaganda to create a change and when it doesn't it's useless," she said. "Nicki is too talented to be useless."
In addition, Mans said that Nicki has a greater responsibility because she is the only female hip-hop artist out there. "If there are ten or fifteen other Nickis putting out albums, then Nicki can simply be for entertainment. But since she's the only one, she represents for all women in hip-hop," she said. "She's the only one we can turn the tv on and watch and because of that she has a responsibility. I often ask myself, 'how dare I ask an artist to be better?' But if I'm buying their album and downloading music and consuming them as artists, then, why can't I?"
Hmm. What do you guys think? Does Mans make a good point? Or, is she holding Nicki to unreasonable standards? Mans and I already discussed how I feel about it, now, tell us what you think.