Speaking out for the first time about the spate of police violence against unarmed black men this year, Nicki Minaj calls the unpunished killing of Staten Island man Eric Garner via a chokehold “sickening” in the new issue of Rolling Stone.
“It’s sickening, and I’ve been reading so many people saying, ‘Why are we surprised?’ That’s what’s really sad: that we should somehow be used to being treated like animals,” Minaj tells contributing editor Jonah Weiner in our new cover story, on stands Friday. “It’s gotten to the point where people feel like there’s no accountability: If you are law enforcement and you do something to a black person, you can get away with it.”
Reflecting on the role of black artists in addressing a racist society, Minaj spoke about the backlash Kanye West faced after announcing, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during A Concert for Hurricane Relief in September 2005.
“I feel like when Public Enemy were doing ‘Fight the Power,’ we as a culture had more power — now it feels hopeless,” Minaj says. “People say, ‘Why aren’t black celebrities speaking out more?’ But look what happened to Kanye when he spoke out. People told him to apologize to Bush!”
Minaj points out that West has been silent on recent social-justice issues. “He was the unofficial spokesman for hip-hop, and he got torn apart,” she says. “And now you haven’t heard him speaking about these last couple things, and it’s sad. Because how many times can you be made to feel horrible for caring about your people before you say, ‘Fuck it, it’s not worth it, let me live my life because I’m rich, and why should I give a fuck?'”