For Bougie Black Girls Who Appreciate ‘Anaconda’ » VSB

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For Bougie Black Girls Who Appreciate ‘Anaconda’

Nicki Minaj (Mark Davis/Getty Images)


Let me just start by saying that I really enjoy Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ video.

Maybe even a little too much. I ran it back six times after the first watch. I credit that to some level of much-needed escapism with all that’s been going on in the news in the past few weeks. Like manna from heaven, Nicki blessed us with some absolutely mindless, pop culture junk food right at a time when my sugar levels were dropping. Hungrily, I ate it up and was restored.

Surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of #AnacondaThinkPieces cropping up after the video dropped; I think more of the ire had already been exhausted at the release of the song’s cover art, or perhaps the detractors weren’t as pissed off once they got to see her ass in motion. If anything, the complaint really should be that the video concept was a bit too predictable, as were the complaints and the mainstream side-by-sides about the rise of the ass in female celebrity (because surely nobody had a booty before Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez).

We could go back and forth about the quality of the song itself; I find it enjoyable but she’s not reinventing the wheel here. There’s a JJ Fad flow for the throwaway raps with a Sir Mix-A-Lot sample, and that’s enough to make me pop something when I’m driving around running errands or put a little extra oomph in my routine when I get dressed in the morning. As for the video, the women look beautiful (really, everyone’s skin in the jungle scene is ***Flawless) and the shot of Nicki in Balmain was enough to make me pause the screen and zoom in to get a better look.

I don’t think the shot of Minaj in Balmain should be understated, by the way. Balmain is a premiere fashion house that outfitted some of the elite icons of mainstream beauty and sex, including Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. To see a Black woman, fully dressed, head-to-toe in it, shows a degree of intent and purpose on the part of Minaj, who has been doing a great deal to push her brand beyond the crazy wigs and ridiculous voices.

In Sir Mix-A-Lot’s original, “Baby Got Back,” No-Name White Girl looks on disparagingly with a scoff, “Oh, my, God. Becky. Look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like, one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. But, you know, who understands those rap guys? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute. I mean, her butt is just so big. I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like, out there, I mean, gross. Look! She’s just so…Black!”

Minaj has already done a great job on her own in pointing out the inconsistencies of whose ass is considered coquettish and whose is symbolic of lascivious perversion, so I won’t do that here. But it’s worth noting that the sample Minaj chose to lead the bridge on her own revamp is repeated “Look at her butt,” over and over again, negating the whole thing about her being “one of those rap guys’ girlfriends” because she is the rapper.

So the source of the pushback? It seems to come from the fact that Minaj, like many of us is “so Black”…and is seemingly having a good time. She’s the epitome of the carefree Black girl. It’s interesting to note that despite rapping about men, there aren’t any in this video (except Drake, which…why? That entire scene was awkward).

In 36 hours, the “Anaconda” video had been watched 21.7 million times, and I’d hazard a guess while some portion of those views were from Becky’s friends, the rest ate up what she fed us.

Maya Francis

Maya K. Francis is a culture writer and communications strategy consultant. When not holding down the Black Girl Beat for VSB, she is a weekly columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's "The Philly Post" and contributes to other digital publications including xoJane, Esquire, and Sometimes TV and radio producers are crazy enough to let her talk on-air, and she helped write a book once. She cites her mother and Whitley Gilbert as inspirations.

  • Color theory in that video is excellent. Nicki is interesting in how often her visuals reject the male gaze. Obviously like pretty much any artist not named Grace Jones there is a degree to which she also caters to the male gaze. It is refreshing and interesting to see especially since it’s done in a genuine way. I would actually like to see Nicki better explore having men in her video where she remains the dominant one. Now that could actually inspire so worthwhile thinkpieces and interesting reactions from men.

    She from queens too. Queens rappers are the best.

    • Epsilonicus

      Nikki not in the top 5 Queens rappers though

    • Jimmy

      What’s with you guys and all your think pieces dissecting pop culture like it’s supposed to be deep? Can’t you just watch the video and enjoy the ass?

      • Don’t read the think pieces and stick to your regular deep readings and discussions.

    • Kema

      I would have rather seen her leading drake with a leash while dressed as a dominatrix. :-)

  • @bakaripace

    This was the music video we waited Nicki Minaj’s entire career to see. As soon as we heard her last name was Minaj, this was what we wanted. And we finally have it.

  • I cannot watch the video with the sound on, but I was entertained.

    I also may have added randomly leaving voicemails of the end rant to my self-care routine. My friends hate me now.
    Fuxk them skinny b!cheeezzzzzz………….ARF! ARF!

    • miss t-lee

      I feel ya…I got my life with those last lines.

  • skinnynow

    The video is nothing short of entertaining. I was expecting to be all “girl, stahp!” with it, but it’s just fun. She looked like she was enjoying herself, the dancers looked like they were having a ball, and Drake looked ready for the ice bucket challenge.

    I do think it’s interesting that Taylor Swift came out with a video one day earlier with dancers doing the same thing, but her video felt more objectifying than Nicki’s. Where Taylor was was “Aw, shucks”-ing it at the sight of these women with large butts, Nicki was a participant and even celebrating it. With Taylor, these women were others; with Nicki, there was nothing strange about them.

    • Trina Perry

      You are so right. Taylor was even more like, “Oh. My. God, Beckyish”, than Nicki who actually used Sir Mix A Lot’s sample. Taylor tried way to hard to be “aight wid it”.

  • miss t-lee

    I just wanna learn how to do a flip into a split.
    Oh and I wanna replicate that hot pink swimsuit.

    • *emoji eyes*

      • miss t-lee


  • Medium Meech

    The only “problem” I had with the video was her talking about hooking up with guys that sold cocaine. I didn’t have the moral “oh she shouldn’t glamorize that lifestyle or poor mating choices in black women” problem, well I do but it’s Nicki Minaj rap song, I’m not holding her to that standard. It just seemed awkward and out of place for what she was trying to accomplish with the video.

    But who knows what she was trying to accomplish. A part of me was excited about the video. For all of her tactical “assets”, general attractiveness and provocative name choice she either doesn’t play it up well or has zero natural s3x appeal. Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and so many others did so much more with less. I was excited to be excited and then… nothing. I think the attempted lap dance summed up how out of place sensuality is with her, just like the supposed affinity for drug dealers.

    Now I’m just confused about her target audience/image. Provocative but not “provocative”? Hipster Ironic given her name and enhancements? Girl power? Appearing bold but not bold enough to push the envelope as far as past provocative rappers? Even main stream pop artists where more were took it further. Madonna? I mean even even Janet or Lady GaGa for that matter. Mainstream edgy? Whatever, I’m pretty sure it’s not me after this video. She needs new advisers.

    • Val

      “…she either doesn’t play it up well or has zero natural s3x appeal.”

      I watched the video and I was like why don’t I find Nikki s*xy? She has all of the attributes that should make her s*xy. She has a pretty face, amazing complexion, nice body. But, when you add those things together it’s a big zero. She’s just not s*xy. Maybe she’s trying too hard? I don’t know.

      • She’s like the rap version of Bey; chexy for her is a character. She isn’t “s*xy’ she “plays a s*xy person” based on what she thinks people find appealing. I’ve been saying this since Massive Attack.
        Related-and-yet-not, I’m still confused as to why she digitally retouches herself in her videos.

        • menajeanmaehightower

          She digitally enhances herself? All over or just certain spots?

          • Her waist-to-hips in scenes when it is all out. You can tell when someone does it because they have to make minimal movement for it to work and it either looks blurry like a Diane Sawyer interview or doll-like shiny.
            *Funny story about that- it was brought to my attention by my sis who was taking classes and they used the Ruff Endz “someone to love you” as an example (they retouched the tall one’s forehead). Ruined the vid for me forever cuz it’s all I can look at now, lol.

            • menajeanmaehightower

              I would have never noticed something like that. Granted, i watched half of the video and turned it off because of the song. Nicki does look great when she’s normal though.

        • Women can never be perfect enough

        • Val

          Yes! I feel the same way about Bey. I’m always wondering how it is people find her s*xy. She’s even less s*xy than Nikki. Bey seems a bit goofy to me.

          Her waist to hip ratio was definitely enhanced in this video. I noticed that right away.

        • Nicki plays a rapper playing a video vixen…she’s like RDJ in Tropic Thunder

          • I think you nailed it…and that’s the point of her persona. It’s a high-concept troll, but it is a troll.

      • Nicki is extremely adorable and sensitive when she’s not in character. I adore her.

        • Medium Meech

          I actually agree with that. That’s why I think her playing the vixen is comes off as natural as a calf’s first steps… in stilettos.

          • I felt that way about Trina, once she started to try and dance and be her rapper/video vixen it just looked awkward

        • Val

          I don’t doubt she has a certain charm. But, I can’t recall seeing that Nikki.

        • Rachmo

          Agreed. She is just a very attractive weirdo.

      • b sweet

        My friend and I were just having a discussion about attractive vs. sexy. Our in depth discussion was inconclusive, but we agreed that sexy is an intangible. You see attractiveness, you FEEL sexy. What we can’t figure out is what makes a woman sexy.
        I completely agree, Nicki is not sexy. Someone sold that brand to her when she got her big booty.

        • Val

          First of all how did you get away with writing “sexy” and you didn’t get moderated. (waits to see if I get moderated)

          Second, you’re right, it is something intangible. But, I think even someone who is naturally sexy can ruin it by trying too hard.

          Edit: Oh snap. I wrote sexy and got a way with it! Maybe disqus takes Friday’s off? Lol

          • b sweet

            Because my sexy will not be moderated.
            Generally those who are naturally sexy don’t try too hard, but you’re right doing too much kills the vibe. Give me an example of someone who ruins it by trying too hard I wanna get a visual.

            • Val

              Bey and Miley Cyrus come to mind.

              Edit: and Mariah. Definitely Mariah.

              • b sweet

                Interesting. i don’t think either are naturally sexy. Someone like Sade is naturally sexy.

                • OSHH

                  I totally agree and she really never tries at all IMO to be sexy/sensual….. mainly because she owns that, and there is a a self assuredness amongst those that do, but usually it takes some maturing to realize these things. When you’re younger you sometimes think you have to try lol but when you got it, you got it.

                • Val

                  Okay, let’s go back for a minute. I remeber when Bey was still with Destiny’s Chirrens. She did an episode of MTV Cribs. So, there she is in jeans, sans big giant weave and a tee shirt showing off her house. She was sweet and kind of goofy and sexy. She wasn’t trying, she just was.

                  Fast forward to post-Destiny’s Chirrens days and all of a sudden she’s a big weave wearing, vacant-eyed robot. Now she’s trying to be sexy but she’s not.

                  And, remember when MIley first hit the scene as an adult? She got that short blonde cut and she’d wear pant suits. That Miley was sexy. She wasn’t trying to be sexy. Then she “discovered” twerking and sticking her tongue out. All of a sudden she wasn’t sexy anymore.

                  And finally; Mariah was really cute and sexy back in her Vision of Love days. Then she became a star in her own mind and she began to try to be sexy. At that point she became more a joke than sexy.

                  • tgtaggie

                    I never thought Mariah as sexy. She was cute/pretty but now she seems to try to hard. I’m still lol’ing at how much thats going to hurt for Nick getting that big-a** “Mariah” tatt removed.

                  • Nicole Holmes

                    I get what you’re saying. Cater to You was pretty sexy. Fast forward to “lemme sit this a*s on ya, show you how I feel.” That song makes me uncomfortable for Beyonce over anything

                    • I loved Rocket though…just goes to show you people perceive everything differently.

              • Maya K. Francis

                Okay, yeah, Bey charts higher when she’s more natural-faced, etc. Once she starts trying (like that ridiculous thong she wore on the tour) it looks like a performance.

                • Val

                  I know, right?! What was that thing? It looked like she was wearing granny panties.

              • Mariah & Minaj in that video together was like a giant cartoon.

                • Val

                  Lol. Yep.

            • I can think of specific videos where “trytoohard” comes to mind:

              Naturally Sexy- Toni Braxton “You’re Making Me High”
              Forced- Bey in “Video Phone”

              …and even the naturally sexy can overdo it sometimes. Ex:

              Natural- Janet “All Nite (Don’t Stop)”
              Forced- Janet “Feedback”

              Natural: Rihanna “Rude Boy”
              Forced: Rihanna “S&M”

              • b sweet


              • Mariah was the queen of #trytoohard

              • Rihanna in Rude Boy was greaaaaaaaaat.

      • LadyIbaka

        There you have it Val, she tries too hard! But let me do say this, when that girl is in all her natural glory, not caked up with makeup, toned down hair-she is a baaaaaaaaaaaaad bish!!

        • NomadaNare

          Right? I might actually become a Nicki fan if she starts flowing right in long gowns sans weave.

      • miss t-lee

        Hmmm. Good points.
        Sex appeal, you either have it or you don’t.

      • tgtaggie

        I agree. I think Nicki looked a lot better pre-butt impants/shots or whatever. She looked a lot more proportional.

      • NomadaNare

        Val, are we the same person?

        It’s because true sexiness is subconscious and preternatural. It’s mostly communicated in body language and voice tones and almost assures confidence in sexual prowess, even if it’s coquettish and coy in manner. I’ve never been disappointed with a sexy woman even if she isn’t always totally conventionally attractive.

      • De_Ann

        Is there a reason you guys edit out sexy? lol Is that a bad word now?

        • Val


        • Val

          Sometimes disqus will moderate comments if you use certain words. “S*x” is usually one of those words.

          Edit: in my original reply to you I wrote the entire word, “s*x” and that comment was moderated. Lol

    • Damon Young

      “Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and so many others did so much more with less. ”

      I wonder how much this has to do with age and perspective, though. I doubt you’d feel the same way about Lil Kim and Foxy if you first became familiar with them now instead of as a 30-something, and that same 16(?) year-old you would have a different perspective of (and memory about) Nicki Minaj

      • Medium Meech

        Hey, it’s possible, a 16 year old me could find attractiveness in inanimate objects so that’s a good point. But as a baseline, teenage me found Beyonce attractive but not sexy. Adult me thinks Rihanna is sensual as all *$%& even though I recognize Nickie and bay may have more “assets” so it’s not necessarily an across the new-found broad skepticism at these new young performers.

        I’m open minded, but I know that lame @zz, meat tenderizing, termite approved lap dance wasn’t the most asexual thing I’ve seen since the Pat skits on SNL because of perspective. A dude fresh out of the pen wouldn’t have made it half mass if he had that lap dance waiting for him on day 1.

        • Val

          Lol That lap dance was like they were sister and brother and were forced into it.

          • Medium Meech

            I don’t know who was worse. Drake overacting like he was John Travolta or her…

            • Val

              Drake at the end was way worse. Lol

              • Nicole Holmes

                Why did Drake place his head in his lap like he was in a kitchen reading his transcripts from To Catch a Predator?

    • Wild Cougar

      I think it’s a farce. Satire. Ironically making fun of the attention to the AZZ. This is why I love it. LOVE IT

  • menajeanmaehightower

    @Maya: i saw your question on the right (twitter feed) and the answer is yes and i don’t know why.

    • Maya K. Francis

      Something I’m ruminating on for next week’s post. My answer is the same; I’m not quite sure either, but I have some guesses. Maybe.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        I never thought much about my race when i was younger but now…

        Maybe because one day we will have kids and this makes you look more outside of yourself. Me no know.

  • GemmieBoo

    i thoroughly enjoyed watching the video and the booty bouncing. though ive watched it a half a dozen times, i couldnt help but be upset at myself for (a) not having a plumper, more rotund @$$ and (b) only being able to shake it like the girls in the video without the aid of my hands. its like Nicki was taunting me say “oh my god, look at her motion-challenged-jiggly-but-not-purposefully-percolating-butt”. so in essence i hated the video.

    • tgtaggie

      Being able to shake it without the aid of hands is a art form in itself…lol (I’m hoping my future wife is blessed with that ability…). I’m very impressed with Ciara though. She can shake it like that with a natural and not so large booty.

    • NomadaNare

      Wait, didn’t you just finish your doctorate, though? I think all would be forgiven even if you’re not making it clap hands free. IJS…

  • Tish Harris

    I love Nicki. The end.

  • Anacoda was an ode to my booty

    • h.h.h.

      *asks for reciepts*

      • I’ve got enough people here who can vouch for it

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