By Courtney E. Smith
Nicki Minaj stepped into a wave of controversy for the art that accompanies her latest single, “Lookin A** N****.” She posted it to her Instagram account, revealing that the artwork would include a photo of civil rights leader Malcolm X taken for Ebony Magazine in 1964. In the photo, X is holding a gun and peeking out the blinds of a window.
The uproar came after the meaning of Malcom X’s placement in the image was construed to refer to him as the titular object referred to, when Minaj’s apology detailed that she meant for X to be the person looking down on the type of gentlemen she would refer to as “Lookin A** N*****.”
Minaj addressed the controversy in a caption to her Instagram account accompanying a still image from the video for the same song, in which she says:
What seems to be the issue now? Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin A** N*****? Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single. I am in the video shooting at Lookin A** N***** and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!! It 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. The word “n****” causes so much debate in our community while the “n****” behavior gets praised and worship. Let’s not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u. The photo was removed hours ago. Thank you