Nicki Minaj has always been outspoken, but 2015 saw the rapper getting more politically vocal than ever before.
On Hillary Clinton: ‘I Support Her As a Woman’
“I support her as a woman,” Minaj tells Billboard when asked about Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. “Am I convinced that she should be the next president? I still want to be open-minded about everyone. Obviously, I identify with her struggles as a woman. I identify with the fact that when she’s in that room and there are nothing but men there — there’s sometimes something in her that must feel intimidated. But I think that she uses that and turns it into a strength. Because that’s what I’ve always done. And so I love her for sticking it out. She has gone through horrifying things, even within her marriage. She has been brave and weathered the storm. And continued being a boss. That’s something that every woman should feel inspired by, no matter if you’re voting for her or not.”
On Obama’s Prison Visits
As for the current commander in chief, Minaj lauds Obama for visiting prisons during his presidency. “I thought it was so important when he went to prisons and spoke to people who got 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years for drugs,” she says. “There are women who are raped, people who are killed and [offenders] don’t even serve 20 years. I was blown away, watching the footage of him speaking to the prisoners. They never felt like anyone in the White House cared about them. I loved that he made them people again. Because we all make mistakes. I think about how many men may have made a mistake to feed their families and then had to pay for it forever.”
On the War on Drugs as ‘Slavery’
Speaking of the war on drugs that put many African-Americans behind bars for controversially lengthy sentences, Minaj states, “It has become slavery… I love the president for trying to be a voice for people who no other person has ever tried to be a voice for.”
On the Black Lives Matter Movement & Sandra Bland
Similarly, the Black Lives Matter movement has resonated with her. “I did research on the Sandra Bland case. That’s why it hit me so hard. I remember speaking to other women at the time. This could have been me. I’m a sassy woman. I may have given a little bit of attitude to a police officer. I could have never come home.”
On Trump’s ‘Hilarious, Childish’ Campaign
While she’s quite serious about racial inequality in America, she’s more amused about Donald Trump’s presidential run than afraid. (Note: Minaj spoke to Billboard about Trump prior to his call to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.) “There are points he has made that may not have been so horrible if his approach wasn’t so childish,” explains Minaj. “But in terms of entertainment — I think he’s hilarious. I wish they could just film him running for president. That’s the ultimate reality show.”
Read Nicki Minaj’s full Billboard cover story in the Year-End issue here.