Nicki Minaj Says Her Style Choices Are Overlooked in Favor of White Stars

Nicki Minaj has shared her belief that her style choices over the years have been overlooked in favor of her white counterparts in the music industry.

Minaj, 39, has become known for sporting many a head-turning look since rising to fame, more then a decade after fellow rapper Lil' Kim, 47, caused a stir with her bold fashion statements on the stage and on red carpets.

However, Minaj has said despite their influence as Black women, she and the "Ladies Night" rapper have yet to reap the same rewards as other musicians.

Sitting down for an interview with Joe Budden, Minaj, born Onika Tanya Maraj, said, per Complex: "You would think the biggest female rapper of all time who has set so many trends would have been on the cover of American Vogue, but she hasn't...

"When Billie Eilish comes out and she sets a trend with her green hair, she's immediately put on American Vogue. But when a Black female rapper who has been setting the trend for 10 years does it, no one says anything.

"What I think we're doing now, I think we're all speaking up for each other. So I think now, we've all made it so, 'No, people have to pay attention to what they're doing, how they're treating Black artists and Black people, and there has to be representation.'

"I remember I would do magazine covers and they would always ask me not to wear pink hair. But I would see Katy Perry on a cover with pink hair and I would see Lady Gaga on the cover with pink hair.

"I came in the game wearing pink hair and Chinese bangs but whenever it was time to be represented on certain covers or in fashion, it was, 'No, no we need you stripped down. No, no, down, down, down.' But I've been a trendsetter."

She said later in the interview: "The same way I feel I should have already been on the cover of American Vogue, so should Lil' Kim, if we being all the way a thousand."

Minaj also touched on her style at the start of her conversation with Budden, stating that her look has influenced something of a "starter kit" for women rappers.

She said: "I remember I would never see any female rapper wearing pink hair. Pink hair became a part of that starter kit. Every female rapper will put on a pink wig at some point, and I remember that was just the Nicki Minaj thing.

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj arrives for the 2019 Met Gala celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2019 in New York City. The rapper has said that she has been overlooked for her style choices in favor of white celebrities. Karwai Tang/Getty Images

"That's why when I said, 'Pink wig, thick a**, that's an iconic Nicki Minaj line because that's what she wears. Now it's everybody: pink wig, thick a**, right?"

When Budden asked Minaj if she sees herself as responsible for creating the so-called starter kit, she responded: "Yes... I was one of the first people saying, 'Oh I'm not these people's parents.'

"But now I get it—I look at it from a different perspective now. Superstars inadvertently become role models no matter what... If they like your music, they're listening to it over and over and over—it's programming. And they might try some of those things they hear you talk about."

Minaj also revealed in her interview that she took "shots" to get a more full posterior early on in her career, after coming to the conclusion that enhanced curves would make her more desirable.

"Social media was just beginning when I started so I was a lot of people's guinea pig," she said.

"I was one of the first people to be s***ted on on the internet, on social media like non-f****** stop. Every day I would go on and there was some new story, made-up story, or bad picture."

"It wasn't acceptable to have surgery at all or anything. At that time, I had never had surgery. I had a** shots," she said, admitting she would go to a "random" person's house to get the shots done.

"I was in Atlanta at the time and... I kept on being around [Lil] Wayne and them. At that time Wayne, he talking about big booties. Wayne would have a new chick in the studio every session so it was always a new big booty there. They were his muses.

"But I would just be around them all the time and I was like the little sister with Wayne and Mack [Maine]. All I would hear them talking about is big butts and I didn't feel complete or good enough—good as those girls because I'm like, 'Oh my god, this is what you're supposed to look like in the rap culture,' and I don't look like that."

Nicki Minaj and Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj attend Billboard Women In Music 2019, presented by YouTube Music, on December 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Minaj has said that while Eilish can land a "Vogue" cover for her eye-catching looks, she hasn't been afforded the same opportunity. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Billboard