There are all sorts of examples of sudden occurrences that no one can predict: lightning strikes, car crashes, or even alien encounters. With zero warning, rapper Nicki Minaj announced via Twitter that she was retiring from the music game and – much like lightning strikes, car crashes, and alien encounters – the ensuing reaction to the news was utter pandemonium.
Her rabid fanbase “Barbz” was so vexed by the announcement that they went into full-on crisis mode and demanded answers. “Can u please just address this retirement thing. You never left us so hurt your entire career. We’re just hurting Nicki 🙁 it’s US it’s the barbz plz…” pleaded Twitter user @CALLM3CHUNLI.
For all of her onstage (and offstage) theatrics, Minaj is a true hero to her loyal fans. She has even descended from her rap throne to pay their student loans, and has spent countless hours responding to them personally on social media. She’s an angel with a heart of gold, wrapped in bondage leather and Fendi prints.
Like her fans, the media quickly picked up on the news, focusing with laser intensity on the possibility that her retirement choice to “have my family” meant Minaj was already pregnant. Yet, almost as soon as the tweet-bomb detonated, it was gone. Vanished. Erased. Apparently, Minaj had a change of heart – not about the retirement itself, but about the way it was announced so suddenly. She quickly issued another tweet in response to a heartbroken fan.
I’m still right here. Still madly in love with you guys & you know that. In hindsight, this should’ve been a Queen Radio discussion & it will be. I promise u guys will be happy. No guests, just us talking about everything. The tweet was abrupt & insensitive, I apologize babe ♥️🙏 https://t.co/eS0oHipwtg
— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 6, 2019
While we await the potential Queen Radio discussion, one has to wonder about the timing and what this all means for her immediate future. Her fifth studio album is due out, which typically means it’s time for the artist to tour, but clearly, she has other ideas in store. Given that she deleted the tweet quickly, it seems like the announcement was hasty, and we have no visibility into what prompted her to take her news straight to Twitter. But Minaj is nothing if not in control of her own narrative – as she should be.
Right after the announcement, Fendi released news that it was creating a capsule collection with Minaj. After the Giuseppe Zanotti disaster in 2017, in which the shoe designer named multiple styles after Minaj without actually asking her to collaborate on the collection nor paid her for usage rights – and then profited off her name and swagger – it feels like it’s way past her time to shine in the fashion realm. After all, there are artists of color worldwide who continually amplify luxury brand messaging, but these storied houses haven’t done much for the artists in return. In other words, this kind of artist/brand collaboration is overdue.
Minaj is so well-known and so loved that there is zero chance she will disappear from the pop culture landscape altogether, even if she chooses to retire from rap and never spit out another verse for the rest of her life. The Fendi collaboration is proof of her ability to endure beyond her niche. She has built enough brand equity into her name that we might even see her going down the Rihanna/Fenty route eventually. Regardless of what she chooses to do, or not do, we know that Minaj has true star power – and staying power, for that matter.