We don’t expect much from a rapper who would release a track called “Stupid Hoe,” but we didn’t foresee Nicki Minaj using a phrase in her songs that was previously employed to publicly degrade a group of her fellow black women. In 2007, Don Imus notoriously used the term “nappy headed hoes” to refer to the winning Womens Rutgers Basketball team. Ironically, when backlash ensued, Imus defended it by saying: “That phrase [nappy-headed ho] didn’t originate in the White Community. That phrase originated in the Black community. Young Black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by their own Black men, and they are called that name in Black hip hop.” After he “apologized,” and even Al Sharpton stepped in, Imus’ CBS show, “Imus in the Morning,” was cancelled and he was fired. Now, one of our own women in “black hip hop” are calling us that name. How can we demand respect out of non-blacks if this is how we speak to each other?

Nicki’s lyrics, on “Stupid Ho,” are as follows:

Them nappy headed hoes but my kitchen good.

It also isn’t her first time using the term. In “Did It On ‘Em,” from her first album, she says:

These little nappy headed hoes need a perminator.

Nicki repeating “nappy headed hoes” is the latest in attacks on blacks by blacks that we’ve seen in hip hop. From n*ggers to b*tches, there are several racist and sexist derogatory terms that certain rappers have adapted and used against their own, some “re-imagined” to suddenly have positive connotations, some retaining their original negative demarcations. The phenomenon reeks of self-hatred, especially when you take into account Nicki’s follow-up lyrics in “Stupid Ho”: “yall nappy headed hos but my kitchen good.” By “good,” we can ascertain she means straightened by the “perminator” and blonde or in other words, chemically altered to appear as “European” as possible, such is the standard of beauty overwhelmingly subscribed to in America and beyond. The fact that Nicki considers herself superior to “nappy” black women because of her permed, blonde hair is only more deplorable when you consider the impact it can have on her thousands of impressionable black, female fans.

What do you think of Nicki Minaj using “nappy headed hoe” in her lyrics?

-Jessica C. Andrews

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