MTV Video Music Awards host Miley Cyrus has revived one of the event’s more interesting subplots by criticizing Nicki Minaj for the way the rapper handled being snubbed in the Video of the Year category. “If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself,” Cyrus told the New York Times.
After the 2015 VMA nominations were revealed in July – and Minaj learned that “Anaconda” had been shut out in the Video of the Year category – the rapper complained on Twitter, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year. I’m not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much, but are rarely rewarded for it.”
“If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it,” Cyrus said. “And it’s not anger like, ‘Guys, I’m frustrated about some things that are a bigger issue.’ You made it about you. Not to sound like a bitch, but that’s like, ‘Eh, I didn’t get my VMA.'”
Considering that the Video of the Year nominees included three men (Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and Mark Ronson) and one African-American female (Beyoncé), Minaj’s tweet was seemingly aimed at Taylor Swift, whose nominated “Bad Blood” video was filled with an all-star assortment of “women with very slim bodies.”
Swift then tweeted at Minaj, “I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” Minaj snapped back at Swift, “U must not be reading my tweets. Didn’t say a word about u.” The brief beef was mollified when Swift offered an apology to Minaj, “I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki.”
“What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite,” Cyrus said. “I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war. It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about… I know you can make it seem like, ‘Oh I just don’t understand because I’m a white pop star.’ I know the statistics. I know what’s going on in the world. But to be honest, I don’t think MTV did that on purpose.”
Minaj has not yet commented on Cyrus’ remarks, but the rapper did tweet Thursday night, “VMA Rehearsals were fun.”
Cyrus also revealed that her Seth Rogen-penned VMA-opening skit would not mention her controversial 2013 performance with Robin Thicke, which she now views as tame. “When you look at it now, it looks like I’m playing hopscotch. Compared to what I do now, it looks like nothing. I can’t believe that was a big deal. It wasn’t shocking at all,” Cyrus said. “I was staying at the Trump Hotel and Donald Trump literally called and said, basically, ‘I know everyone’s talking about it, but I loved it.’ I had no idea anyone was talking about it yet.”