Twitter has always been a fun little minefield of surprises. Each time you log-on to the hell-site (affectionate), it is its own little game of Russian roulette. There are times where you’re greeted with amazing art, others with hilarious memes and unique comedy, and sometimes you’re even greeted with Nicki Minaj siding with a white nationalist and claiming the vaccine gave her family-friend boulder-sized testicles (which is, in its own way, a very unique combination of art and humor).
On the eve of the MET Gala, many netizens—especially Minaj’s own dedicated fanbase, the Barbz—were curious to know the rap star’s reasoning behind her decision to not attend this year’s gala. After much pressure from her fans, Minaj finally divulged the reasons behind her absence at the gala through a series of tweets that would leave the world reeling from the sheer absurdity of it all. Initially, Minaj understandably cited her long-term absence from the public eye throughout the last year and a half as a result of her role as a new mother. While many commended Minaj for putting the health of herself and her baby above all else, she soon dropped the ball by divulging a series of misinformed beliefs about the various available COVID-19 vaccines and their efficacy and safety.
While one is always encouraged to do their own research before making a huge change, especially when it concerns one’s health, it must be said that Nicki’s views about the vaccine come off as highly ridiculous amidst all the testimonials and available information since the public release of the vaccine. Furthermore, her tweets come off as absurd and misinformed as she goes on to reference her cousin’s friend who “got [the vaccine] and became impotent.” (Even worse, this was later proven to be a ploy by said friend to hide his unfaithfulness to his then-fiancée.)
Following this outburst, Minaj spent several days going back and forth with the media on her stance on vaccines. Admittedly, some of her tweets were taken out of context as Minaj has since tweeted that she encourages everyone to get vaccinated and will eventually get vaccinated herself in due time. However, this clarification of her stance came at the expense of doxing several reporters, including a Trinidadian reporter who reached out to Minaj’s family for their comments, and complicating the trust in vaccination in Trinidad.
Minaj’s comments only worsened the level of vaccine hesitancy for many in the Caribbean Island, so much so that the Trinidadian Minister of Health, the Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, had to make several statements in an attempt to alleviate the matter. Coupled with several protests that arose from “supporters” of Minaj, many Trinidadians are left incensed at Nicki’s poor influence on the island as they believe that an artist of her magnitude should know better when making comments on any issue that could have a far greater impact than originally intended.
Nicki Minaj’s comments have sparked much outrage on a global scale, but many are left wondering if this has been a sort of PR stunt given the timing of her tweets coinciding with the trial of her husband, Kenneth Petty, who is facing charges for victim intimidation and failure to formally register as a sex offender. Whatever the case may be, it can be certain that Minaj’s tweets have long since crossed the threshold of excusing her absence at the Met Gala and instead reflect the importance of celebrity influence in the widespread debate on vaccination.