Nicki Minaj has come under fire over the artwork for her latest song “Lookin Ass Ni**a.” The Young Money rapper was criticized for using an image of Malcolm X on the cover. The original photo, which was published in Ebony magazine in 1964, shows the civil rights leader holding an M1 carbine and looking out the window.
Twitter and Instagram were flooded with comments, deeming the cover disrespectful and offensive. “I’ve never in my life seen a black artist openly disrespect Malcolm x like nicki minaj just did. And don’t tell me I’m being sensitive,” commented @_chukwuweike.
Following the backlash, Nicki issued an apology on Instagram. She claims the artwork was never official and that she did not intend to undermine Malcolm X’s legacy.
“I am in the video shooting at Lookin Ass Niggaz and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!!” explained Nicki. “It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy. I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued.”
“Lookin Ass Ni**a” is set to appear on Nicki’s upcoming album The Pink Print and the Young Money compilation, Rise of an Empire.
Read her full apology and see the controversial artwork below.
“What seems to be the issue now? Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin Ass Niggaz? Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single. I am in the video shooting at Lookin Ass Niggaz and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!! It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy. I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. The word ‘nigga’ causes so much debate in our community while the ‘nigga’ behavior gets praised and worship. Let’s not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u. The photo was removed hours ago. Thank you.”