NEW YORK (AP) — Nicki Minaj has apologized for using a famous photo of Malcolm X with a rifle in his hands and juxtaposing it with a racial slur for her new song. Minaj posted the photo Wednesday on her website and Instagram page. It’s for her new song, whose title uses the N-word.
She also said the song’s artwork “is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy.” “I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. I have nothing but respect (and) adoration for u,” she wrote.
Still, she sounded exasperated that people were even upset.
“Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin (expletive expletive)?” the 31-year-old asked in her post. “I am in the video shooting (the song) and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!!”
Lookin is a male-bashing song.
The photo of Malcolm X holding the rifle was taken when he was trying to protect his family from death threats after his home had been firebombed.
A Change.org petition was issued Thursday, encouraging the rapper to change the cover artwork. Minaj’s personal representative declined to comment and a representative for her record labels, Republic and Cash Money Records, didn’t return emails seeking comment.
A lawyer for Malcolm X’s children also didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.