Hours after Nicki Minaj took “full responsibility” for the Nazi imagery in the lyric video for her new single “Only,” the video’s director has said that he will not ask for forgiveness for its content and admitted to being inspired by Nazi emblems.
“First, I’m not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question,” Jeffrey Osborne told Myspace. “The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazis.” The video director said that his sentiments were his own and did not reflect those of Minaj, her label Young Money (whose logo he emblazoned on red armbands, similar to a swastika) or the other artists who appeared on the song (Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown).
“As far as an explanation, I think it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future,” Osborne said. “And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?”
Osborne pointed out symbolism in the video with American origins, including an MQ9 Reaper Drone, F22 Raptor, Sidewinder missile, security cameras, M60, SWAT uniform, General’s uniform, the Supreme Court and the Lincoln Memorial. Additionally, the video displays Russian T-90 tanks, Belgian FN FAL, German mp5 (which Osborne points out was not manufactured until 1966), a Ferrari and a pope.
“What’s also American is the First Amendment, which I’ve unexpectedly succeeded in showing how we willfully squeeze ourselves out of that right every day,” Osborne said.
On Tuesday, Minaj spoke on Osborne’s behalf, claiming he had been influenced by Sin City and the cartoon series Metalocalypse. “Both the producer and person in charge of overseeing the lyric video (one of my best friends and videographer: A. Loucas), happen to be Jewish,” Minaj wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t come up with the concept, but I’m very sorry and take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I’d never condone Nazism in my art.”
Earlier this week, Abraham H. Foxman – the director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor – condemned the video in a statement, highlighting the coincidence that it premiered on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, an event where tens of thousands of Jews were placed in concentration camps in 1938. “Nicki Minaj’s new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism,” he wrote.