Nicki Minaj was standing up for women and recognizing her worth when she decided not to hit the stage of Hot 97's Summer Jam hip-hop concert last weekend, the female emcee said recently.
Minaj, 29, and her YMCMB record label pulled out of the New York City concert taking place in her hometown last Sunday after Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenburg insinuated that her song "Starships" was not "real" hip-hop music. After some questioned Minaj's decision not to perform for fans who paid to see her grace the stage with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, the rapper called Hot 97 to clarify matters.
On Monday night, Minaj spoke to Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex, and first expressed outrage at the way she and her fans were treated.
"If it's all love and you want the fans to see everyone, know that Nicki Minaj sold a lot of tickets for yesterday, and know that she deserves love and respect," Minaj told the DJ. "[...] for this person to single out the only female on the bill? I'm holding it down for women."
Minaj explained that her mentor and founder of her record label, Lil Wayne, taught her a valuable lesson about self-worth when he asked her not to perform.
"Wayne gave me a very very valuable lesson lasts night, on knowing my worth. It's a lesson to every woman," Minaj told Flex. "Yesterday after that disrespect, after a man goes on stage and disrespects me and calls my music (expletive) and not real hip-hop, and tries to rile people up against me before I step on stage, I still was going up on that stage. (Lil Wayne) called me..he goes 'Nic, we ain't doin that show.'"
Although it was not initially her idea to cancel her appearance at the Summer Jam festival, she spoke about adhering to her mentor's decision.
"I stand behind his decision. Every woman needs to know it doesn't matter what people say about you," Minaj said Monday in the Hot 97 interview. "After a certain amount of time, and you put in a certain amount of work, and I put in my work, you deserve respect. Those jokes shouldn't have been said in front of my fans, in front of anyone before I came on stage."
Despite her messages of female empowerment, some people questioned Minaj's claims of sexism. One person questioned if Minaj could speak about female empowerment since she has used derogatory content toward women in her music.
"Nicki Minaj is holding it down for women? Was that when she made 'Stupid Hoe' or when she suggested us nappy headed (expletives) get perms," one woman tweeted.
Still, one man said more people need to respect Minaj, who is participating in an industry that does not treat women fairly.
"I'm not a fan of Nicki Minaj but respect is due," the man tweeted. "Women in the music industry need to stand up for themselves more often. Good for her."
However, Minaj made it clear that she did not feel people were picking on her due to her sex. Instead, she felt her sex should prevent people in a male-dominated field from singling her out.
"No one said anyone came at me because I was a woman. I said they shouldn't have made the comments, because I was a woman," Minaj told Flex. "I am the only woman representing on Summer Jam stage. That's not the way you boost the morale of the artist there, or the people there."
Lauryn Hill, award-winning singer and songwriter who took over Minaj's set at the concert with rapper and collaborator Nas, seemed to defend Minaj's sentiments.
"I do support artists standing by their beliefs, and walking with integrity. We have to find a better way to commercially exploit music, while giving artists their proper respect," Hill tweeted Monday. "This cannot be done while taking their contributions for granted, or trying to control the scope of their growth and power through threats and fear tactics. We can do better than this, there is a better way, or else 'we' (the proverbial we) find ourselves in danger of being hypocrites!"
Minaj spoke with Hot 97 rival New York City urban radio station Power 105.1 Tuesday morning, and hit back against critics claiming that she was using her gender as an excuse for not performing.
"I'm not using a female card, I am a female. You should think about that before you attack the only woman on the bill," Minaj told the radio station. "Something should have kicked in and said, 'wow she is holding it down for every woman in hip-hop at this moment.' If you don't respect that, you're stupid."
Still, Minaj promised disappointed New York fans that she would hold a free summer concert for them.
"I want to apologize to my fans last night. Like I said on Twitter, I'm going to make it up to them in the form of a free concert in New York," Minaj told Funkmaster Flex Monday night. "I am very proud of my team for taking a stance, and showing me, and in turn allowing me to show my female fans...enough is enough. You don't have to like everything, but when I'm coming to your home, and when I'm coming on that stage, respect me."