There was a time when my daughter and I could never see eye-to-eye. We fought regularly, and even had times where we didn’t speak. Through the struggle, it was the most prominent part of our joint DNA that made us the most contentious. Everyone could see how much we were alike: we think the same, look the same, have the same mannerisms, and even have the same taste buds. Most significantly, we are both strong-willed, principled and don’t take B.S. from anybody. The things that made us most similar were part of what drove us to bump heads.
When I think about the time I lost fighting with the little girl I love so much, I realized how we would have been great allies if we hadn’t fooled ourselves into becoming enemies. This also makes me think about the on-going hip hop beef between Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj, two women who are so much alike that they want to kick each other’s asses.
Anyone with eyeballs can tell that Nicki Minaj is basically Lil Kim’s spiritual baby sister in hip-hop. They’ve both had so much plastic surgery that their mamas can’t recognize them. Their skills in the booth and on stage are off the hook. They are both women succeeding, against all odds, in a male-dominated profession. Just like my daughter and I, Nicki and Kim are surely better off working together than standing apart.
The world of hip hop can be ugly. Women are objectified like automobiles or new shoes, and there are thousands of very talented female artists waiting for a big break that will never arrive. Women like Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim are opening doors for females that continue to be closed, and for that, they deserve tremendous credit. On the flip side, Lil Kim’s insecurity about being the old lady on the block has conjoined with Nicki’s concern about being a one-year wonder, creating a divide that one would have never expected.
If the alleged bust out between Kim and Nicki is for the sake of publicity, then I get it. Hip-hop artists sometimes pretend to hate one another in order to obtain much needed media attention. But if the beef is real and they truly are trying to ruin one another, then both artists have effectively become crabs in a barrel. Whether you’re talking about black people in the workplace or two female artistic pioneers fighting for that one slot reserved for a female, the truth is that oppression can lead to members of the subjugated class undermining one another’s efforts to succeed. To some extent, our support for misogyny in hip-hop means that we’ve all helped create the environment that leads to Nicki and Kim trying to shut each other down.
Hip-hop needs to make more room for women. Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj should be taking the lead when it comes to opening the door. What I hope to see most is that one day, we can get to the point that a female rapper can be recognized for her talents on stage, and not her talents in the bedroom. A woman is worth more than her booty.