Strength in Numbers: Understanding That Successful Black Women in Music Can Co-exist

Nicki Minaj performs at the 2015 Hot 97 Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

I remember the first time I heard, “Okay, first thing first imma eat ya brains, then imma start rocking gold teeth and fangs, cuz that’s what a muthaf***in monsta do, hair dresser from Milan that’s the monsta do, monster Guiseppe heel that’s the monster shoe, Young Money is the roster and the monsta crew.”

This was Nicki Minaj’s verse off Kanye West’s “Monster,” from his 2010 fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. A verse included in the song she had to deeply convince Kanye to keep on the album; one of the reasons being that he felt that verse alone would be the talk of the entire project.

Nicki Minaj accepts award for ‘Best Female Hip-Hop Artist’ at the 2011 BET Awards, Photo: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

But because of that word play, and rhyme scheme, and the fact that these bars stayed on the record, allowed this moment to become one of my favorite features to this day, and for it to go down as one of the best features of Minaj’s groundbreaking career and in rap as a whole.

Let’s fast forward a few years later. Minaj is still in her prime, her feature game has escalated to different genres of music, her choice of style shifts, but in the best way possible, especially going into a new era with ‘mixtape Nicki’ vibe tracks like “Chun Li” and “Barbie Tingz.”‘

“Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz” cover art

Along with this travel in time, female rap is in the reign of underground artists, “dolls,” and “gangster chic,” personas creating a new wave.

Love and Hip-Hop New York elite, Cardi B, was apart of the ones testing the waters. Her ability to be bold, funny and confident within herself, embracing her past into becoming a self-sufficient and even more vibracious women, is what draws viewers and soon over millions of fans to the regular shemgular girl from the Bronx, who would soon evolve into a Hip-Hop household name.

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Since then, Cardi has had a true “Binderella” story. From creating one of the hottest hits of the summer, with 5x platinum Billboard Hot 100 number one single, “Bodak Yellow,” from her debut album “Invasion of Privacy,” which is also currently the no.1 album in the country. The mommy to be is a record breaking, phenomenon, on a continuous come up with a recent clothing deal in association with Fashion Nova, and dethroning Taylor Swift, by having the most streamed (100M) album by a female artist on Apple Music.

Cardi B wins ‘Best New Artist’ at the iHeart Radio Awards, Photo: Chelsea Lauren Rex/ Shutterstock

There’s clearly correlation between these two women. But not where there’s a compare or contrast, or to put one at a hierarchy than another in their craft of music, style, or ability to deliver in each of their flows. But the fact that these two women were able to take a chance in a male-dominated spectrum of music, by being unapologetically fierce, and crossing over successfully through our radios, strictly and authentically from the bottom up.

Unfortunately, this is far left of the relationship the public has created between the two.

For some reason, Shaderoom commenters, stan twitter, haters outside the club, and within the pool of supporting the contenders of female rap, cannot come to realize the fact that it’s more than okay, for one women to be at her prime in this area of entertainment.

People are entirely too wrapped up in numbers, comparing looks, drama behind personal relationships that really isn’t none of their business, while what we all should collectively be doing is supporting these artists, and act as the drive to the force allowing their journeys to continue into nothing but the best. But instead, there seems to be this everlasting pity from stanning one artist or another, and God forbid you love both (like myself), if its like stance on a social issue within entertainment, and how saying the wrong thing or supporting the wrong person can get you undoubtedly “dragged.”

What people haven’t dissected, but I noticed from this ongoing battle of the better rapper, or tearing down another to make one look good, is the fact that this is only happening with black women in music.

Never do you hear folks blueprinting World War lll over screen icons Viola Davis and Angela Bassett, Taraji P. and Regina Hall, or Lupita and Dania, because these women are more under the radar being actresses in White Hollywood, and being that there’s very few, we seem to accept the success of these sistas, but make it a popularity competition with those who step in the booth.

(from l to r) Lena Waithe, Gabourey Sidibe and Tessa Thompson attend the 11th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Oscar Luncheon, Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

This doesn’t make sense when there’s also very few female rappers that are currently still dominating. Nicki and Cardi are among the handful, with the likes of Missy Elliot, Lil Kim, Trina, Remy Ma, Dreezy, Kash Doll, Azealia Banks, Kamaiyah, Rico Nasty, Saweetie, Princess Nokia, Asian Doll, Cupcakke, Molly Brazy, Cuban da Savage, Asian Doll and many more shining starts, implementing individualism but are ever so often pit against each other because the world cannot handle more than one.

Rising California rapper Saweetie performs at Fader Fort, March 2018 Photo: Saweetie Official Facebook

Just like Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop are not too far behind. A day doesn’t go by, where I’m scrolling my Twitter feed and Beyoncé’s name is being pit against every singer or dancer name in the book; from Rihanna’s style, Janet’s choreography, or Jazmine Sullivan’s voice. These ladies are all particularly skilled and undeniably talented in a certain area of their entertainment abilities, but Beyoncé’s name is used as a mechanism to water down her incomparable talent as it is, which people are unable to do within the simplicity of praising their idols and exiting stage left.

Why? Because there is, and always will be intimidation of a incredibly successful black women who  isn’t afraid. And not to state facts, but to state facts, people quiver at the thought of having multiple.

Imagine being a fully grown man/women, and creating fake beef between two people you don’t even know. How about making it a priority to just learn how to support one another, and the artists who graciously spend a boat load of hours to provide us with new content.

It’s also clear as day, that the general public are picking and choosing who to “cancel,” who to defend, and given more chances than one to those who are outside the black community, when they could use that energy to embrace black women who are doing the same thing and maybe even better.

Wake up and realize, talent is going to keep coming and making a storm through the music industry. If it’s unbearable for you to witness that, and simply enjoy the quality of someone’s journey as it begin, I advise just keeping your mouth closed or finding a day hobby that doesn’t include pitting black women against one another, and disturbingly loving when everything goes up in flames.

So, cheers to Minaj and the best wishes as her fourth studio album make its way into the year with a bang, and we can all join hands with hope of Cardi B continuously receiving the blessings falling in her lap, as she steps into a new responsibility and chapter in her life.

We’ll also root for the ones working to make top teir. And although same may not notice, not slowly and definitely surely, females are taking over, and the numbers will only continue to grow.

Diamond Jones

Jr. Editor Lifestlye/Entertainment Department

Diamond Jones, 21, is a St.Louis native, born on the west side of Detroit. She is currently a junior, studying Journalism, with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her writing reaches to audiences everywhere, directing it toward the empowerement and excellence of black people and their accomplishments. She has written for The Daily Egyptian, LoveThisTrackTV, Georgia State’s The Signal and the National Association of Black Journalists, which she is a dedicated member of. She hopes to continue to inspire those through her words and make those who feel underrepresented, see their light.