22 July 2015
I read an article from CNN by Wilfred Chan, “Twitter Defends Nicki Minaj after Taylor Swift Feud“, about how Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift seem to be at odds with one another via Twitter about race, gender and body image in the music industry. How did this start? Nicki Minaj’s music video, Anaconda, wasn’t nominated for an award, so she began what seemed to turn into a twitter war between her and Taylor Swift.
As someone who prefer’s Korean Pop (give it a try), I don’t really listen to a whole lot of American music aside from when it is on television, the radio, or someone I know is playing it. That said, once I read this article, I knew I had to watch each video so that I can give an objective view on each of the women’s music video’s that are under fire as to why I think the video should or should not have been nominated for an award. Before I get started on my analysis, I would like to comment that I did happen to enjoy both of the music videos, albeit in different ways. Let’s dive in.
* Warning: Spoiler Alerts *
Nicki Minaj — Anaconda
The song opens with the famous lines by Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back“, “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun”. Nicki Minaj is shown staring at the screen and shaking her butt. There are a lot of curvy women showing off their body’s and more importantly, their butts. By the 1 minute mark, the message shown is clearly about butts, drugs (mention of pills), and sex (mention of a guy and the repeated “Anaconda”). There is no originality to this video, as Nicki Minaj seems to be relying wholly on sexuality in order to gain attraction to the video. There is no harmonizing and there are no clear transitions. This song relies heavily on a song and beat that is not hers to begin with. She mentions within the video, “fuck those skinny bitches…fuck you if you skinny,” and she gives a guy what appears to be a lap dance. There is no clear purpose, no thesis to this song or video.
Taylor Swift — Bad Blood
Right away, you see someone crashing onto a table in an office and see a fight break out. This instantly lets you know a story of some sort is about to pan out and draws you in so that you can find out more (all within 9 seconds). By the 18 second mark, you are seeing women doing some fighting and above their heads are names such as: Catastrophe and Arsyn. All within 15 seconds. Instantly hooked, you are drawn in further. What did these office workers do to deserve this? The woman are dressed in seductive attire, yet are showing that they are more than just women. They are fighting machines. Are they fighting crime, or are they the criminals? It looks like all of the office workers they were fighting were blind-folded men in suits. Were they fighting corporate sexism? At the 33 second mark, you see a rift between the two women begin. Now they are fighting one another. Why?
The song goes transitions from harmonizing to rap, as does the portion with Kendrick Lamar begins as there is also a transition from the earlier office scene to a more of a futuristic medical bay. When he raps, “I don’t hate you but I hate you” it shows reality in a grey area. There are many reasons to end up in this state, such as bad blood, as the song suggests.
As the song transitions from medical bay to getting fitted with a uniform, Taylor Swift, or “Catastrophe” begins to harmonize once more. This is a fluid transition from Lamar’s part to Swift’s part as we move from initial conflict, to what seems to be a possible all out war for the betrayal from earlier. At 1:23, Catastrophe walks into what seems to be the main base of operations where her fellow soldiers are also their with their own specialties, gearing up for a fight.
All in all, this video has a clear message, one that shows that even though some may be united at first, incidences occur that draw people apart that no amount of apologizing or “fixing” can change what had happened. This video clearly shows a beginning, middle and end. There are clear transitions which flow with a kind of classy grace that comes with a skilled director and actors. The writer of this script clearly had a vision in mind when the writer matched the song to the video. There was a clear purpose for a targeted audience of just about anyone who enjoyed a good action movie. In short, the whole team performed an excellent job with this music video. In fact, this could be made into a feature film. This music video was so well made that it could act as the trailer alone.
When you break down both of the videos, there is no wonder as how Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood was nominated for an award and how Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda (where she clearly disrespected thin women) was not. Perhaps, rather than arguing with Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj could collaborate with her in creating a more artistic video that would have a shot at nomination the next time an awards ceremony comes along.
Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment below!