Let's go out of order so that I can tell you how Nicki Minaj's recent interview with the New York Times Magazine ended.
"Do not speak to me like I'm stupid or beneath you in any way,’" Minaj told writer Vanessa Grigoriadis. She called Grigoriadis "rude" and a "troublemaker" and kicked her out of the room with these last words: "I don't care to speak to you anymore."
It came out of nowhere, if you read the article from beginning to end, since Minaj had divulged so many personal things, like the abuse she'd witnessed as a child watching her parents' marriage unravel; the anger she feels when white pop stars like Miley Cyrus relish in black culture, and yet are blind to injustice and racial biases; and how adamant she feels that women need to boss up, make their own money and stop letting men run their lives. But nope, Minaj apparently felt patronized by Grigoriadis during a good chunk of the discussion.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when Grigoriadis insinuated that Minaj had something to do with the beefs between Minaj's boyfriend, Meek Mill, and labelmate Drake; and also with the ongoing feud between Minaj's label bosses Lil Wayne and Birdman.
"Is there a part of you that thrives on drama, or is it, no, just pain and unpleasantness … ?" Grigoriadis asked, the question that ultimately got her booted from the room.
"That's disrespectful […] Why would a grown-ass woman thrive off drama?" Minaj fired back.
"What do the four men you just named have to do with me thriving off drama?" Minaj continued. "That's so peculiar. Four grown-ass men are having issues between themselves, and you're asking me do I thrive off drama?
"That's the typical thing that women do. What did you putting me down right there do for you?" Minaj asked Grigoriadis. "Women blame women for things that have nothing to do with them."
That theme—having to contend with life as a woman in a male-driven industry—threaded her responses during much of the interview. Here are her most poignant points:
1. As much as Miley Cyrus borrows remnants of black culture, Minaj felt that Cyrus wasn't supportive when Minaj—a black woman—felt ignored and overlooked by the MTV Video Music Awards because of her blackness:
The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls. You're in videos with black men, and you're bringing out black women on your stages, but you don't want to know how black women feel about something that's so important? Come on, you can't want the good without the bad. If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn't not want to know that.
2. She gave the lecture that she's been giving to women ever since she's been in the limelight. The one about how much she wants to see women do for themselves:
I never was political or preachy, but I'd stop my show and do two minutes of talking to my girls, boosting them up. […] They'd go home feeling, 'Can’t nobody tell me [expletive].'
Why are we never in control? Why are we stuck with a baby? Why are we always stuck on the welfare line? Why are we always stuck having to beg, borrow and steal to provide for our children? Why do we think it's something wrong for waiting to have a baby, waiting until you're 35 or 36 to have children? Technology has changed—you can wait! Have something to offer them.
3. We learn that all of Minaj's bravado about being a boss woman and making money stems from vulnerabilities and fears she harbors because of what she witnessed as a child:
[My father] was just abusive. […] I would always hear him yelling and cursing, always. And it made me feel it was the way to interact, because that's how I saw him interacting. […] When I was younger, I thought that the only reason my mother didn't leave my father was for financial reasons. […] From early on in my life, I looked at a woman not having her money as the biggest curse. Now that I'm an adult, I realize that women stay whether a man's rich or poor. It's just a weakness.
Refreshingly raw, right?
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.