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If I Was Nicki Minaj’s Pastor. . . Please Don’t Thank Me. . .

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Recording artist Nicki Minaj accepts the Best Hip Hop Video award for "Anaconda" onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images For MTV)

Two night’s ago, Nicki Minaj won the VMA for “The Best Hip-Hop Video.” The moment (watch the video here), was filled with all kinds of talking points. . . from Rebel Wilson’s much-criticized tasteless bit on police brutality, Minaj’s posterior-posturing for the camera, her schizophrenic flip-flopping between tough talker and sweet talker, her calling out of Miley Cyrus, and the fact that MTV shut down her microphone. But what really caught my ear and got me thinking was Minaj’s “so random” “thank you” to her Pastor. . . “Thank you Pastor Lydia. I love you so much.”

I’ve had some interesting conversations with people about Minaj publicly expressing gratitude to her pastor. It concerns some. For others who are followers of Jesus themselves, they see it as a positive moment that viewers should interpret as a moment of light shining through the VMA darkness. Some even see it as an expression of Nicki Minaj’s faith in Christ.

Hmmmm. While I sincerely wish the moment was a good thing, I think that it’s highly damaging and destructive. If all we were to do is think about Minaj and her gratitude in the context of the moment, we need to consider the song for which she was receiving the award. . . “Anaconda.” Have you read the lyrics of this popular (the Vevo version of the video has over 513 million views as of today), lusty, misogynistic, and explicit song espousing the sexual virtues of large-posteriored women? If not, take a look at what Minaj (and Sir Mix-a-Lot in the samples) sings. . .

My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t
My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun

Boy toy named Troy used to live in Detroit
Big dope dealer money, he was gettin’ some coins
Was in shootouts with the law, but he live in a palace
Bought me Alexander McQueen, he was keeping me stylish
Now that’s real, real, real
Gun in my purse, bitch, I came dressed to kill
Who wanna go first? I had them pushing daffodils
I’m high as hell, I only took a half a pill
I’m on some dumb s___, by the way, what he say?
He can tell I ain’t missing no meals
Come through and f___ him in my automobile
Let him eat it with his grills and he tellin’ me to chill
And he telling me it’s real, that he love my sex appeal
Say he don’t like ’em boney, he want something he can grab
So I pulled up in the Jag, and I hit him with the jab like
Dun-d-d-dun-dun-d-d-dun-dun

My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t
My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun

Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
(Look at her butt)
Look at, look at, look at
Look, at her butt

This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles
D___ bigger than a tower, I ain’t talking about Eiffel’s
Real country-ass nigga, let me play with his rifle
P____ put his ass to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil
Now that bang, bang, bang
I let him hit it cause he slang cocaine
He toss my salad like his name Romaine
And when we done, I make him buy me Balmain
I’m on some dumb s___, by the way, what he say?
He can tell I ain’t missing no meals
Come through and f___ him in my automobile
Let him eat it with his grills, and he telling me to chill
And he telling me it’s real, that he love my sex appeal
He say he don’t like ’em boney, he want something he can grab
So I pulled up in the Jag, Mayweather with the jab like
Dun-d-d-dun-dun-d-d-dun-dun

My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t
My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun

Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
(Look at her butt)
Look at, look at, look at
Look, at her butt

Little in the middle but she got much back
Little in the middle but she got much back
Little in the middle but she got much back
(Oh my God, look at her butt)

My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t
My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun
My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t
Don’t want none unless you got buns, hun

Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
(Look at her butt)
Look at, look at, look at
Look, at her butt

Yeah, he love this fat ass, hahaha!
Yeah! This one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the f___ing club
I said, where my fat ass big bitches in the club?
F___ the skinny bitches! F___ the skinny bitches in the club!
I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the muthaf___in’ club
F___ you if you skinny bitches, what?! Kyuh
Haha, haha
I got a big fat ass (ass, ass, ass)
Come on!

In years past when it was in vogue to “thank God” for an award, I many times wondered if God wasn’t cringing at the nod. So if I was Nicki Minaj’s pastor, I would ask Minaj to lay back on the “thanks” for the simple reason that her music, her lifestyle, and her message are anything but glorifying to God. Sure, any talent Minaj has is rooted in the imago dei and the fact that God has indeed, gifted her with talent. And, if she does claim to be a follower of Christ, her message lacks integration. Our faith in Christ and following of Christ should result in a lifestyle that increasingly evidences a desire to consistently follow and express in every nook and cranny of life the will and way of Jesus as expressed in the Scriptures. And that, as a pastor, is what I would gracefully, lovingly, preach and share into Minaj’s life.

Some Christians may argue against my conclusion by citing Paul’s words in Philippians 1:18, where he writes that the important thing is that Christ is preached. But a closer look at the context of Paul’s words indicates that the Christ who was being preached was the true Christ and the Gospel being preached was the true Gospel. . .  in spite of the selfish motives of the preachers who were preaching out of envy and rivalry. This argument from Paul doesn’t apply to Minaj and her words the other night.

As I watched Nicki Minaj and pondered her music and her acceptance speech, I was thinking again about how she offers a map and a mirror to listeners. For the young and vulnerable, she and her music map out what to believe and how to live. For those of us who hope to influence kids for the Gospel, she offers a mirror of what kids believe and live. She speaks to kids and for kids. That’s why our resolve should be to pray for and minister to the emerging generations living in and influenced by our culture with the resolve to nurture them into the following. . . humility, integration, consistency, integrity, the fruit of the Spirit, and a love for the truth of Christ.

7 Responses

  1. Walt, I couldn’t agree more. If we see popular culture as a map and a mirror, it continues to teach our teens that it is cool to “thank God” or “thank your pastor” or “have faith” and still live like hell. That’s not what I read in scripture. In student ministry, we continue to teach that living like the world (popular culture) and being a follower of Christ absolutely cannot co-exist. There are no blurring of the lines. Students who follow Jesus will look and act differently than the world because their filter for their lives will be the Bible…then they get to change the culture around them. With that in mind, there are two significant roadblocks for a teen to understanding the separation of Christ follower and popular culture. First, is popular culture itself (which is what we have seen at the VMAs), and second is that too many parents live the same lives of “having faith” at church but not living faith at home or in their community. So, teens today are tricked into thinking that being a follower of Jesus is something you do…instead of who you are.

  2. Excellent article. I thought the same thing and I only caught 15 minutes of the VMAs. I had this same discussion last night with my 12yo son about her thanking her pastor. Honestly though, in this day and age, the term pastor is used ‘lososely’ and could refer to a spiritual leader of almost anything. However, most watching the VMAs and listening to some of the artists in interviews would probably equate the term “pastor” with “church”…with “Christianity”. Thanks Walt.

  3. You couldn’t be any more wrong. You’re speaking about a person who you clearly know nothing about. Nicki Minaj is always speaking up about how important gender equality is, how important racial equality is, education, not stripping people from their rights, etc. I don’t like her music. I don’t like it at all. She’s talented, like who else do you know can rap like that? But I don’t like rap. I still love her though because she speaks up on real issues that need to be fixed. But, of course, stupid people in the media (including you) ignore what she’s saying and how she’s actually speaking up on these things and they’re just focusing on the dumb gossip.

    Nicki Minaj is allowed to freely express her opinion and her sexuality. It’s her body, her choice. It doesn’t effect you. Don’t slut shame her, and don’t say anything about someone without actually knowing anything about them.

    Also, what happened to “God loves all his children” and “forgives you”?

    1. Slut shaming? Seriously? Millions of kids hear that crap. Yes, it does affect them. Of course it is a free country. She is free to do that. I am also free to say she is a filthy hypocrite. It does effect everyone who sees her body. Yeah, she is talented, she is serving Satan whether she knows it or not. Any spiritual experiences she has had are of the devil. If she changes I would think she would announce it and post a public apology for disgusting videos like Anaconda.

  4. Im confused about her she has talked about the lord and alco gods mercy but she raps about sex with men in more than half of her songs. The bible comdemns sexual immorality but from my pov she must be doing something right or a relationship with god to somehow not be counted among the sexually immoral. Unless god wasnt including her when he spoke to me and said “all of my children to be with me” right after i tweeted her about the new heavens and earth.

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