Is Nicki Minaj In An Abusive Relationship?

These days, it seems like all Nicki Minaj does is win, win, win.

Pink Friday is still selling like hot cakes, “Super Bass” is currently the number 3 song on the Hot 100 chart, and (by most accounts) she nailed her supporting slot on Britney Spears’ massively successful Femme Fatale Tour. Even today, news broke that Nicki has signed on to provide vocals for a character in the upcoming animated flick “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” alongside Jennifer Lopez, Joy Behar and Young Money cohort Drake.

Nicki Minaj is the definition of a rising star right now. And that’s only made the persistent rumors regarding a violent, July 12th confrontation with (alleged) boyfriend Safaree all the more disturbing and distressing.

Nicki has denied repeatedly that any abuse occurred. But a 9-1-1 tape that leaked yesterday tells a very different story.

A Daughter’s Reflection on Sickness, Intimacy, and her Godmother

When I was a little black girl I would secretly pray to God, the Father, to become sick. You see, when I was sick my non-domestic black mother would cuddle me and become the “ideal mother.” She would busy herself with medicinal concoctions and Vick’s rub. Yes, my mother thought and continues to think; Vick’s rub sees all things, cures all things. It is her personal on-call physician. Looking back, only when I was sick could my non-domesticated black mother let down her veneer of calm and her embodiment of “the eternal girl” to obsess about her daughter’s physical welfare.

And, because of this, I learned to play the role of the ailing downright contagious sick child. With one cough, I could produce bodily spasms. By holding my breath in 5 minute intervals, I could produce a mild fever. And, if these things did not work, I would simply say to my mother in my most sick, cough . . . cough . . . cough . . . woe is me, voice that I could not go to the school today because I felt quite ill . . . bubonic plague ill (I could say bubonic plague because we were studying it in history class). And, my mother would grant my request and tend to me as if I was her one and only love . . . her one and only obsession. When I was young, I thought being sick could bring my mother back to me. Make her stay. Keep her from wandering from man to man. But, it did not. Her presence was only momentary, there to wipe a nose, to rub a sore chest. Mind you, my mother did the best she could, but her sense of care and nurturing came fully alive when I was sick.

The Enduring Power of Tupac Shakur

Yesterday was Tupac Shakur’s 40th birthday. And though it has been 15 years since his untimely death, the continued fascination and adoration he conjures amongst black youth (and the world, at large) is a testament to an iconic, albeit brief career that truly transcended mere beats and rhymes. Subversive, contradictory and brutally honest, Tupac’s music told the story of the young black male coming of age in the 1990’s. It is a dichotomous story; one where an appreciation for unity and consciousness within the Black community collides with capitalistic ambition and the attainment of an American dream, by any means necessary. His work spoke truth to a racist, capitalistic power structure, while at the same time attempting to usurp and dominate that structure with its own values and tools.

And that’s what made Tupac’s music so powerful and dangerous.

Beyonce's "4": THE REVIEW

It’s always dangerous when an artist has nothing left to prove.

But after winning 16 Grammy Awards, selling 75 million records worldwide, and inspiring an entire generation of female (and male) artists with her intoxicating brand of 70’s soul-meets-Hip Hop Pop, Beyonce has every right not to.

So what is initially so stunning about 4 is that it does not reflect an artist resting on her laurels. Beyonce has made the ballsy choice to push forward, to reach higher. It may not result in the number one hits and platinum plaques she (still) deserves, but she’s got enough of those.

4 is what happens when a great artist has nothing left to prove. And it is a stunning album.

Rihanna's "Man Down" Video, and the Irrelevance of the Parents Television Council

A couple days ago, Rihanna released the music video for her latest single, “Man Down,” a pop-reggae song that tells the story of a young woman’s guilt and regret after murdering a man that deeply wronged her. Check out the video below.

The cinematic clip fleshes out the song’s storyline, conveying that the root of her actions is a harrowing sexual assault in an alley after a house party. The video is expertly directed and paced for maximum impact; Rihanna is effervescent and gorgeous, interacting with friends and neighbors in her small, island town. She is innocently enjoying her life until tragedy literally emerges from out of the darkness and forces itself upon her, utterly breaking her spirit.

“Man Down” is a heartbreaking, complicated and brilliant music video.

And so of course the Parents Television Council and other useless, opportunistic, media-watchdog groups are “pissed.” Go figure.

When a Black Mother takes the Helm: Trisha Fraser is Going to Sue Pro-Life Groups

Standing stalwart face bearing the knowledge of the coming storm with melded limbs of moving muscles sensing the pending fight . . . they dig their feet, their pumps, their gym shoes into the dirt provoking . . . if not downright bear baiting the coming foe . . . yes, things begin to change when black mothers take the Helm.

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, I want to honor one Black mother, Ms. Trisha Fraser, who “not without a fight” energy illumines the power of standing against injustice for our children.