Who Is Chun-Li, the Inspiration Behind Nicki Minaj's New Single?

Nicki Minaj finally broke her Twitter silence Tuesday (April 10) to announce two upcoming singles: “Barbie Tingz” and “Chun-Li.”

Fans were buzzing over the “Chun-Li” cover art, which showcased the rapper dressed as a martial artist inspired by the popular animated Chinese fighter of the same name. While gamers are definitely familiar with this favorite from Capcom’s hit Street Fighter series, the muse behind the song title might not be as well known among the rap scene.

Chun-Li, the first female fighter of the series, made her debut in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in 1991. Her mission throughout the game is to avenge the death of her father, aiming to take down the villainous M. Bison. Chun-Li soon became one of the franchise's most popular characters and is portrayed in a number of the series’ spinoffs, feature films, comic books and merch.

Why Minaj chose Chun-Li for the new single is likely linked to the character’s representation of female strength and her title as one of the first female characters in a fighting game. Chun-Li is the pinnacle for justice, as portrayed by her deep care for protecting innocence and love for children. Throughout the series, she defends and saves young girls who are mistreated, all with a badass attitude and impeccable investigative skills.

The “Anaconda” songstress herself is no stranger to advocating for equal rights. She is consistently outspoken on a number of topics, including body positivity and female and black empowerment. It’s unclear how the lyrics of her upcoming tune might parallel Street Fighter’s leading lady, but all will be revealed on Thursday when “Chun-Li” drops.