Some would say that these are images of strong, successful, RICH, women just being “bosses”. They are making it rain on strippers and are smacking booties in the video for their umpteenth hit song. All good fun. All examples of powerful women doing big things in their careers, but it is definitely not that light hearted in my opinion.
Entertainers like Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are actually just replicating stereotypical sexist behavior in order to validate their existence in traditionally masculine spaces. I.E instead of steering their careers and public personas in such a direction that would uplift the women who consume their music, these women revert to what they have been taught: That the over sexualization of black women in the media is what sells records and concert tickets. Rihanna I love you, but what makes you think empowerment is copying and pasting the lewd behavior of men in strip clubs? To proudly flaunt these photos on your social media outlets is actually disappointing. To show off how much of a boss you are by dropping $20 bills on these strippers private parts is not a sign of power, it’s a sad attempt to do what the boys do. And what the "boys" often do in hip hop reflects an ongoing campaign to sexualize, consume, and discard the black female body.
When did being a successful female hip hop artist mean you need to see how closely you can mimic a Lil Wayne video? Are our favorite female hip hop and RnB artists aiding in the perpetual cycle of big booty fetishization on a global scale? When Nicki Minaj spends 2 minutes of a 3 minute music video rubbing and smacking the asses of video “models,” is it not another sad attempt to validate her existence in Hip Hop? The notion that black women are unable to have successful music careers without becoming walking representations of male desire has crippled us to the point of self mutilation and in some cases complete destruction. It is bad enough that we must navigate the deep waters of skin lightening, long blond weaves, butt injections, and the like, but we now have famous figures continuing the cycle by partaking in the same sexist banter and behavior as the men.
It is a reoccurring problem when women construct their identities, particularly in the hip hop community, around patriarchy and sexism. I know it is easier said than done, but when are our favorite artists going to begin creating their own spaces that do not include replicating the historically sexist and exploitative habits of male artists?