Nicki Minaj performs onstage during iHeartRadio Y100's Jingle Ball 2023.
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Correction:The Feb. 1 installment of the Culture Catchall newsletter formerly referred to Ben Shapiro as a “white supremacist” and “alt-right,” both of which Shapiro forcefully denies. The terms have been replaced. Shapiro is a conservative commentator and podcaster who rose to prominence as an editor at far-right media outlet Breitbart before founding The Daily Wire. HuffPost apologizes for the error.
’Twas the night before Black History Month, and the rap girlies were beefing. Well, Nicki Minaj is beefing with herself, once again. Brilliantly summarized by HuffPost’s Taiyler S. Mitchell, Megan Thee Stallion released a diss track called “HISS” last week, which presumably aimed a few lyrics at Drake and Minaj but did not name either person explicitly. One line mentioning a 1994 policy regarding sexual predators alluded to Minaj’s husband and brother, both of whom have been convicted of sexual crimes. While we have yet to hear a peep from the Canadian rapper, Minaj responded, albeit very poorly.
After what felt like a 24-hour-long Instagram Live tirade, Minaj released a track called “Big Foot,” a title that not only makes light of Tory Lanez shooting Megan Thee Stallion but ridicules and masculinizes the 5’10” Houston rapper. Moreover, Minaj invoked Megan’s late mother multiple times in the song; so much so that per TMZ, Minaj’s fans — known as Barbz — have reportedly leaked the location of the cemetery where Megan’s mother is buried. HuffPost reporter Mitchell provided a spot-on analysis of how the track further perpetuates misogynoir and, ultimately, how Minaj is tarnishing her own legacy.
As Barbz doxx those who speak ill of Minaj, a tried and true tactic of theirs, I have seen more people call out their unhinged behavior en masse and strike back, legally reporting them. But nonetheless, there are still some minions doing Minaj’s bidding, such as Vogue entertainment director Sergio Kletnoy. At his big age, Kletnoy was mocking Megan Thee Stallion in Nicki’s comments on Instagram Live. Then, Ben Shapiro — yes, that annoyingly shrill conservative pundit Ben Shapiro — chimed in. Lest we forget his reductive remarks on rap music.
Desperate for supporters, Minaj congratulated the known bigot on his latest “rap” single. Remember when Issa Rae said, “I’m rooting for everybody Black” at the 2017 Emmy Awards? Yeah, people like Minaj remind me why you can’t take quotes, especially that one, out of context. Terms and conditions apply over here. Until then, I’ll be waiting for “stanning” and “stan behavior” to find its rightful place in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
For more on the latest happenings this week, read up in this edition of The Culture Catchall.
Issa Rae is lifting the veil on how the entertainment industry approaches Black stories.
We’re Still Talking About It
In a shocking development, after the release of her bombshell memoir, “The Woman in Me,” Britney Spears has seemingly publicly apologized…to Justin Timberlake. Following the performance of his single “Selfish” on the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Spears reposted a video on Instagram of Fallon and Timberlake’s latest skit, praising his new music. Candidly, I don’t know if I’d be as gracious to an ex-boyfriend — especially not one who responds by apologizing “to absolutely f**king nobody” — but that is why Britney is Britney.Find out what else Spears said from HuffPost’s senior trends reporter Kelby Vera.
Media mogul Issa Rae is shedding light on how the entertainment industry has abandoned Black stories, despite lofty commitments to bolster diversity after 2020. Covering the January 2024 issue of PORTER, Rae spoke to author Otegha Uwagba about the recent cancellation of many Black television series, her intent to become a more independent creator, and much more. In a Time Magazine exclusive, after the bitter end of “Rap Sh!t,” Rae announced she is working on two new HBO shows, including one she’ll write and star in.
Elmo asked everyone how they were doing, and the internet trauma-dumped on him. That’s it, that’s the tweet. On Monday, our favorite friendly red Muppet tweeted on X, formerly Twitter, “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” Apparently, not well! Not well at all, dear. Hell, journalist Séamus Malekafzali wrote, “Elmo I’m gonna be real I am at my fucking limit.” HuffPost’s Elyse Wanshel reported on some of the most brutally honest yet hilarious responses from this ordeal. *sighs* Bless Elmo’s heart.
Speaking of the internet, America, we have an AI problem — which ex-Googler and Ethiopian-American Timnit Gebru has been calling out for ages. Last week, sexually explicit deepfakes of Taylor Swift, which were likely a product of AI, were widely circulated online. Since then, New York state congresswoman Rep. Yvette Clark (D) has called for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find a solution to an issue that has affected thousands of women. HuffPost’s Marita Vlachou reported the full details.
The future of TikTok is about to change. Universal Music Group, which represents artists including Taylor Swift, Drake, Adele, Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish, has not agreed to the terms of a new deal with TikTok and will be removing its music from the platform. The label claims that TikTok is not paying fair value for the music, while TikTok claims that Universal is acting in “self-serving” interests. Read more on the debacle here.
Keke Palmer is the latest Teen Vogue cover star.
Industry News and Announcements
Keke Palmer is Teen Vogue’s January/February 2024 cover star.
Megan Thee Stallion announces her third studio album and first solo tour are slated for summer 2024.
Margot Robbie finally silences fan frustrations and hysteria over the Oscars “Barbie” snub.
Grammy favorite Victoria Monét earns Variety’s latest cover story this week.
Nia Long will play Michael Jackson’s mother in the upcoming biopic from Antoine Fuqua.
Lifetime’s “Single Black Female” sequel will premiere March 2 on the network.
Adele announces a series of performances in Munich this summer.
SpringHill announces that Kevin Fredericks’ “Churchy” series will premiere on BET+.
Byron Allen makes a $14B offer to buy Paramount.
“Riverdale” star Lili Reinhart reveals her recent…
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