Saturday, March 31, 2012

Style Maven: Nicki Minaj

The many faces of Ms. Minaj
Photo Credits: [VIBE Magazine Feb/Mar 2012]

Available April 3rd
On these last days of the month I would like to close it out by helping to contribute to the record sales of Nicki Minaj's album sales. Nicki works hard at marketing herself (check out her twitter timeline @NICKIMINAJ) and I implore all to go out and purchase a copy of her second album "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" for Nicki is making history and gaining success and becoming an influence in other areas aside from simply being an rap artist. Not only does she represent turning your fantasies into realty, but she has helped (almost singlehandedly) to bring Hip-Hop to the forefront of the entertainment industry again, which could be due to of course her sheer talent, her special guest features in a range of other high profile artist's songs in the beginning of her career, and her rise to fashion icon. In my fashion, she is a rapping-business-chameleon,  representing the best example of how to sell oneself to the world, offering it something wildly original, bold, beautiful, and strong, yet classy the entire time representing having the restraint and reserve a women should have.

 "The fashion world will have to come to Nicki Minaj, as opposed to Nicki Minaj trying to go to the fashion world."
 [Nicki Minaj, VIBE Magazine Feb/Mar 2012
Nicki Minaj displays an other worldly classiness, like she has really came to us from another planet, but the stature she holds herself too is a fantastic mix of strong-classy-urban-high-fashion-schizo statement-maker. With her very unexpected antics and unorthodox, but intellectual reasons for doing the things she does, she has catapulted herself to one of the most highly influential females for this new digital generation. Nicki Minaj's status of respect is very high in the entertainment industry. From the beginning of her career her name has been associated with the highly successful, Lil' Wayne, and from there she went on to colaborate with other high profile artists such as Ludacris, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Britney Spears and most recently, the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna (see post Vogue Makes a Cameo at the Superbowl). Her ability to work with such big names I am sure are not just based on her association with Lil' Wayne, but mostly based off of her talent. It has been clearly evident that Nicki Minaj has impeccable lyrical prose, and her dramatic, charismatic, and unpredicatable behavior put the cherry on top of such a influential rapper. Just yesturday an article came out in the New York Times naming her the most influential female rapper of all time already since she came out in 2009 [source]. 

Photo Credits: [Zimbio]
Nicki Minaj's relations to entertainment industry veterans makes it appear that she has been in the business for years.

In my fashion, a key component to Nicki Minaj's success is that she has mastered the element of surprise. If one should ever get the chance to read Grace Mirabella's autobiography, "In and Out of Vogue" , a bit of advice that fashion legend Diana Vreeland gave to her that sticks with me most about appealing to the market, “Give the consumer what they didn’t know they wanted.” Thinking back, before Nicki Minaj hit the radar, we were not thinking a female rapper was the answer we needed in our lives to rev the entertainment industry back into creativity. Nicki continually adheres to giving us what we didn't know we wanted, whether it’s through her statement making outfits, the bars she spits, or anytime she is in the public eye, matter of factly. It is this spunk and tenacity that I feel we are all attracted to in her. We enjoy seeing her, because we simply don't know what to expect next, but we know she is going to deliver something that will make us wonder, and spark our own creative drive.

Being able to display your personality in new ways through your personal style shows many variations of your character and thinking. For one, it shows you have developed a certain point of view that you live by. It shows you are constantly making connections to your life and the world around you, and it shows your passion for living. Having a point of view on life is important for if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything, and how can you be a success if you are always falling? Developing good style means having a strong point of view of good living that you act upon daily. Most importantly, it shows that you are actively and progressively aspiring to be more than you were the day before. Just as our computers and digital devices need new updates, and upgrades to stay up to speed with greater technological developments, you can say our style is the hard drive we need to keep updating to stay relevant and reach our highest potential.   

Photo Credits: [Zimbio]
Nicki has made it clear that "pink" (girls) is the 
new "blue" (boys)
Photo Credits: [Zimbio]
Minaj's performances always deliver eye-popping 
theatrics in her own colorful "Nicki-way"
Nicki Minaj knows what she stands for, and in my opinion, underneath her animated style and the way that she carries herself, she exhibits a character that believes in having strength in ones convictions, continually increasing one's knowledge, acceptance of all walks of life, and finding creative ways to enjoy life and its splendors. Her style stands to reason that she is strong enough to stand bold and content against the grain of popularity for she has found a method of dealing with those that try to bring her down, which is why I felt this was a perfect time way to end this month of "Female Empowerment through 'Positive Dressing'". Her personal style, in all of its kookiness’ and  playfulness, champions the message to the world that she is the captain of her helm, and will not be easily swayed to think or do anything she does not approve of. She exhibits that if you believe enough in what you stand for, everyone else around you has no choice but to respect that.
Photo Credits: [Zimbio]
Her normal day garb is not much different from her
 performance costumes.
Nicki has proven that she is strong in that regard, and that is probably why she holds the respect of industry veterans who clamber to be able to do work with her. Its funny that when Nicki Minaj features on another artist's track, her verse is often the most recited and praised. The combonation of what Nicki says, and how she says it, is what has us all memorizing her lines. Take for instance the fact that Kanye West's track "Monster" has landed on NME Magazine's list of 150 Best Tracks of the Past 15Years and most critics acclaim that Nicki was the icing on the cake, especially considering she came up with her verse in one minuste eighteen seconds flat, on site, in the studio (read Rick Ross' account of their time in the studio [source])! Her haywire, can't be tamed, Bronx girl attitude makes her just as tough and hard as the most ganster or rappers, while her intellect and lyrics reveal a calculating, wise, and educated individual that women (and men) can look up to in our modern day as women assume more positions of power. We can tell that Nicki Minaj has developed a strong, singular, and focused point of view on how to get what we want out of life. If there is one thing Nicki fans know about her is that she stands for staying in school and forwarding your life through education and knowledge, and portraying yourself with class, dignity, and strength, whether you choose to walk the halls of the Senate, or you choose to walk the streets in rainbow colors day in and day out.

Nicki Minaj finally featured in
 coveted, American Vogue  in
 the March 2012 issue [source]
Nicki has found that fashion is an awesome tool in our everyday lives, for her fashion choices allow her to gain the platform she needs to influence change and spread a positive message. She has been cited to have said that the fashion world will have to come to Nicki Minaj as opposed to her going to the fashion world, and the fashion world has opened her with wide-spread arms [source]. She has been on many a fashion magazine covers, and Nicki makes sure to bring an aspect of herself to each shoot for she is very adament on how her "brand" (herself) is portrayed. A strong statement I have heard her chant is that, "No one knows my brand as well as I do," and this is truly uplifting for it is something we all can say for ourselves to affirm that we are in control of creating our own message to the world. In my fashion, I get a sugar-rush whenever I see her because she is like a walking piece of candy: its always a delight to see her, and her look is so bubbly and upbeat. Even though she resembels an Anime cartoon whenever we see her, she is always so polished and utterly pretty we take notice because we want to know what such a beautiful women has to say, let alone what she has to  rap about. It's very interesting to see such a beauty bridging the gap between pop music and the hyper-masculine rap industry on a global scale. 

Photo Credits: [Zimbio]
Although her derriere is always a hot topic, 
Nicki exhibits thatit is not her defining feature.
In my fashion, speaking histroically, the turn of the century marked the very beginning of the digital era. 2000 - 2010 was our dissesntion into using the internet, and digital compatitbility in every facet of normal day life. Take, for example, that children are growing up learning that cell phones are a nessecity for life because of the popularity of all the advantages they bring us. Children see that having a cell phone is the moda operadi to function in our modern society, and soon it will be impossible to consider what life was like without cell phones. Cell phones represent the most apparent dividing line between the digital era, and the information age that we left behind, but on top of heightened cell phone dependability, there is heightened usage of all forms of technology, and since the early 2000's use of platic surgery and body augmentation has risen. It was reported from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that the percentage of patients who get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons has increased 155% since 1997 [source]. Nicki Minaj is largely popular because of the size of her derriere and has been put on tight media scrutiny, while gaining a lot of praise from fans (men and women) as well. Even though it has been a major attention grabber because of its size, Nicki fans are aware that this is just one facet of the package that makes her who she is. Even though Nicki Minaj has not officially come out and claimed to have had her buttock augmented, with the amount of media hype focused on it's size, it seems as though reports have been confirmed that she has gone through some type of procedure. Critics try to make Nicki's presence in entertainment seem superficial to the assumption that she diminishes impressionable young women to aspire to get butt injections and have large back sides when they weren't born with one, comparing her character to that of a video girl. Even though Nicki may look like a well proportioned video vixen, she is far from portraying the behavior of one. If you pay attention to Nicki Minaj's twitter, it is impossible to say that she is a bad influence based on the amount of young women who revere and adore her strong presence and personal values. If anything, she shows that you can have the body of a video vixen, and gain the respect of a top dollar business man. Nicki Minaj advocates loving yourself unconditionally, having drive, getting an education and constantly learning, and putting yourself out to the world to make something of your life. She constantly tells her fans in interviews not to be lazy, and to follow up promptly when called to action if you want respect and success. Her worldview is what is most resonating with fans for they "feel" through her music the message she strives to spread (even when she is speaking too fast for her audience to comprehend). She wants everyone to be a champion, and in my fashion, when you listen to her music, at least for that moment, we feel as though we are.

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