Nicki Minaj maintains love for Jamaica - But doesn’t retract statement about being accosted by police with guns

July 11, 2019
American hip-hop sensation Nicki Minaj in a Lady Saw-like performance at Reggae Sumfest 2011.
American hip-hop sensation Nicki Minaj in a Lady Saw-like performance at Reggae Sumfest 2011.

Less than a month since Jamaicans lauded Nicki Minaj for sampling a classic dancehall beat, the American rapper has come under fire for comparing an experience in Jamaica to the plight of women in culturally restricted Saudi Arabia.

Recalling her Reggae Sumfest performance in 2011, Minaj claimed she was accosted by armed officers after using expletives during her set.

"They were ready to take me to jail because they said I forgot to bleep a couple curses ... I could make one mistake and go to jail in a different country where women have no rights," she said yesterday.

Her comments followed her cancellation of a show in Saudi Arabia, citing her support for gender-equality and human rights.

Critics questioned how the rapper would adapt to the conservative country, since her performances are usually accompanied by obscenities and skimpy clothing.

With more than 20 million followers on Instagram, Minaj's post did not go unnoticed, and reaped backlash by fans who accused her of lying.

"This doesn't make any sense. After the Sumfest performance in 2011 where you were fined US$10 for using expletives on stage, you tweeted: 'I had the time of my life at Reggae Sumfest... Jamaica I fell in love tonight'. Please do not compare Jamaica to Saudi Arabia," Twitter user Vanessa Williams said.

Knows no bounds

Other users, like party promoter IB Konteh, referenced a 2015 study conducted by Forbes magazine, which ranked Jamaica first when assessing countries with women in managerial positions.

Clapping back in short order, Minaj assured followers that her love for Jamaica knows no bounds. The rapper, who is Trinidadian, clarified her post.

"Ummm for the people in the back, I wasn't saying Jamaica doesn't have women's rights," she said. "I gave an example of what happened in JA to explain how easy it would be to do one thing wrong in Saudi Arabia because I'm not aware of every single rule and be locked up. Everyone knows I love JA."

However, Minaj did not respond to online commentators who accused her of lying about facing police with weapons drawn after her performance.