Dear Taylor Swift
You are a lovely lady. But Nicki’s tweets about her lack of nominations at the VMAs weren’t aimed at you. She didn’t even include your name. I know that you two cleared up the misunderstanding, but I think that it’s important to understand the aspects of this situation.
Nicki wasn’t critiquing you or your work. She was critiquing the organization that gave out awards to a certain image: white and skinny. That doesn’t lessen your work and achievements, seeing as you two made similar strides.
But it’s a punch to the stomach for Nicki.
It isn’t a secret that not many black people are the winners of awards at shows like the VMAs, let alone nominees. At the Grammys, for example, there have been 151 total minority artists and projects nominated over the past twenty years. However, only twenty have won actual awards. (I think Beyonce and Kanye take up a pretty nice chunk of that.)
One of the most frustrating parts is that many media outlets are going to frame this as a fight. Not even a fight, actually. I can see it now: “Nicki Minaj attacks Taylor Swift over her lack of VMA nominations.”
Oh, wait. Maybe I already read it:
— On Air/Ryan Seacrest (@OnAirWithRyan) July 21, 2015
I have a question for you: Why is it okay for your girl gang to hate on Katy Perry in the “Bad Blood” music video, but “pitting women against each other” when Nicki calls out racism? A black woman denounced the lack of black women honored at an award event. Not you, or any other women.
This viewpoint is something that many people would refer to as white feminism. This doesn’t refer to a white feminist or anything (I suppose that it does in some cases), but it’s a term for mainstream feminism that only cares about the plights of privileged women.
There’s nothing wrong with caring about privileged women. The issue is that feminism is about celebrating and supporting all women, including women of color. I know that you’re a feminist, and that’s awesome. But I also think it’s important to remember that men have privilege women don’t have, and white women have privilege that women of color don’t have.
I’d encourage you not to take the “not all men” viewpoint when women of color discuss systematic racism. Listen, lift up their voices. They will do the same for you. It’s what feminism is all about, after all.
Camryn Garrett is a teenager who thinks that she’s too awkward to function. She blogs at the Huffington Post when she isn’t ranting about racism or sexism, and has a laptop named Walden. When she grows up, she wants to be “better than Lena Dunham.” Reach her at @dancingofpens on Twitter.