Nicki Minaj’s new video for “Hard White” is stirring up controversy for some of its symbolism.
The rap queen presides over her dark kingdom in the Mike Ho-directed clip, which features imagery including a dismembered scorpion, which some fans think is a reference to her damaged relationship with Drake. The Young Money labelmates unfollowed each other on Instagram in December, fueling rumors that they’re no longer friends.
A Grammy also appears in another scene, a possible reference to Minaj’s surprise shutout from the nominations at this year’s awards. “I’m the trophy of the game, everybody tryna win me,” she raps on the track.
While the scorpion and Grammy may be more obvious, there is even speculation that the bleeding crow is a shot at Nicki’s nemesis Cardi B. An hourglass later appears in the video as Nicki raps, “Hoes is dissin’? Okay, these hoes is wishin’ / You’re in no position to come for O’s position.”
— Rap-Up (@RapUp) February 1, 2019
Amid all the speculation, the video’s director Mike Ho responded to a fan on Instagram. He explained that the scorpion represents the song’s lyrics, while the crow is a “symbol of death.”
“Had to match the lyrics ‘no stun gun…’ scorpion 🦂 sting you. ‘…don’t duck if don’t apply…,'” he wrote. “The crow was a symbol of death. People who turned there back on her.”