I hadn't paid much attention to what’s been going on with American Idol, but the onslaught of entertainment news about which celeb judges — notably Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj — would be joining the cast actually piqued my interest, the desired result of AI hiring them in the first place. Carey’s a well-documented diva — who remembers the episode of MTV Cribs that showed her exercising in high heels? — and Nicki is, well, Nicki. You never know what you’ll get with her, and that’s the whole point of adding her to the lineup. Drama was to be expected, and even before the new season has aired, we’ve already had our first taste.
Last Tuesday, TMZ released a video from an AI audition in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Nicki was seen in the midst on a full-on verbal tirade against “her f***in' highness over there,” a.k.a. Mariah Carey. According to the TMZ transcript, Carey calls Nickster a “3-year-old” and a “crazy b****h.” After a few more exchanges, Nicki declares, “If you say one more disrespectful thing to me — off with your head!”
I watched the clip knowing how juicy these shenanigans would be for entertainment sites, and how much fodder would come from it. But I cringed thinking of how these two Black superstars fed into the stereotypes about how women, especially Black women, are catty, backstabbing and confrontational. Mariah and Nicki aren’t random housewives, former girlfriends or singers with stalled careers trying to get put (back) on; they’re both talented, relevant, multiple award-winning entertainers who have broken sales records. All they needed to do was show up and people, even me, would gladly watch. As much as some bickering was expected, I never thought it would get this ugly… or even uglier.
Two days later, Barbara Walters took to The View to recap an interview with Carey during which Mariah claimed multiple people heard Nicki say of Mariah, ”If I had a gun, I would shoot the b***h”. I entirely do not believe Nicki meant that, even if she said it in anger. Despite holding down a few tough-talking verses, Nicki’s as pop as they come — more cuddly housecat than menacing gangster. Notably, on Twitter, she denied threatening Mariah. “Hey yAll. Lets just say nicki said smthn about a gun. ppl will believe it cuz she’s a black rapper. Lmao,” she wrote.
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