The prominent adage “the pen is mightier than the sword” recognizes the unbelievable influence of words. The power to command language and impact millions has been an ability used by civilizations all over the world for centuries. Texts, speeches, and various forms of propaganda have literally changed the course of history; some of the changes have been positive, while others have done nothing but provide excuses for atrocities. With the advent of social media, every word and phrase is heavily scrutinized down to the letter. We are in a unique moment in history; something said that may seem harmless could have an adverse affect on someone else. Opinions expressed on Twitter and Facebook have ruined marriages, caused job loss, and have even led to murders and suicide. Basically, we have freedom to speak, but better watch what we say.
After scrolling through various pages on the internet yesterday, I came across Nicki Minaj’s supposed “endorsement” of Mitt Romney; this perfectly exemplifies the power of words and their impact. On Lil Wayne’s new mixtape, Dedication 4, Nicki had a couple of lines that sent the social media universe in an uproar. “I’m a Repulican voting for Mitt Romney/ You lazy bitches are fucking up the economy.” Personally, before I even read the lyrics and just saw the eye catching headline “Nicki Minaj endorses Romney”, I wondered what she said that was misconstrued to lead to that conclusion. When I imagine a celebrity endorsement of a politician, I’m not thinking of rap lyrics. When I finally read what she said, I burst out into laughter and thought it was a joke. I was shocked that people took her lyrics so seriously. Rappers are known for talking shit, and obviously Nicki Minaj is no exception. Although she mentioned Mitt Romney, the lyric really wasn’t about him at all; the punch line was aimed at her rivals. The fallout in the hours since have over the top; news outlets analyzed her point of view, and even referenced some of her previous tweets criticizing Obama’s healthcare plan. Angry detractors sent death threats to her twitter account and called her a “sellout.”
I’m no Nicki Minaj fan, but the woman doesn’t deserve death threats, even if she actually was voting for Mitt Romney. I highly doubt she’ll cast her ballot in favor of the Mormon Republican candidate; it was a rap lyric meant to be clever, but it just shows the collective sensitivity we are experiencing today. This situation also demonstrates how careful we all have to be and the responsibility associated with what we say. I hope that she doesn’t respond to the critique or have to explain herself; it is quite ridiculous that this was even considered an endorsement. I would much rather see people respond with the same vigor when rappers talk about killing niggas and flooding their neighborhoods with drugs so they can prosper off the misery of others, but I guess the idea of voting for Mitt Romney is no different.