Yes, Nicki’s “Say So” Verse is Homophobic.

FEATURE: Ms. Minaj probably had good intentions, but the message here is damaging and dangerous.

Yes, Nicki's "Say So" verse is homophobic.

FEATURE: Ms. Minaj probably had good intentions, but the message here is damaging and dangerous.

On Friday, Doja Cat released a remix of her undeniable bop “Say So” featuring the Queen of Rap Nicki Minaj herself.  But what should have been a sure hit within the queer community quickly became contentious as people began discussing one specific lyric from Nicki’s first verse.

“Used to be bi,” she says.  “But now I’m just hetero”.  Okay, yikes.

Nicki Minaj
Doja Cat

The response was swift.  On Twitter, many fans quickly called out the lyrics as homophobic. But others felt that Nicki was just expressing her personal experience, and the line was therefore unproblematic.

Okay, but here’s the thing.  This lyric is for sure – undeniably, there is no doubt – homophobic.  Let’s lay it all out.

First, bisexuals – and especially bisexual women – face a unique challenge even among queer people.  Regularly, bisexual identities are questioned, forgotten and misrepresented in a way other sexual orientations are not.  Bisexual individuals in same-sex partnerships are thought of as gay.  Bisexual individuals in opposite-sex partnerships are thought of as straight.  Bisexual individuals in any partnership (or no partnership at all) are so often characterized as selfish, confused, or just going through a phase.  For Nicki to use her significant platform to further this incorrect and damaging narrative is disappointing at best.

Secondly, the lyric is a misrepresentation of how sexual orientations even work.  It is true that sexuality (and gender identity etc.) can be very fluid.  Most individuals experience a range of attractions throughout the course of their lives and that is normal.  It is very possible that Nicki’s sexual attractions have a fluidity to them.  Her sexuality is no one’s business but her own to explore, speculate about, or share with the public.  Regardless of what may or may not be Nicki’s personal experience, though, sexual fluidity is not – and should not be characterized as – a shift from bisexuality to heterosexuality.  Sexual fluidity is a complicated subject deserving of a longer examination than it can be given here, but to reduce it to a conversion from queerness to straightness is incorrect and dangerous.

It is worth acknowledging as well that individuals to change and mature over time.  Perhaps Nicki identified as bisexual at one time but has grown to feel that it is inappropriate for her to claim that identity.  However, a change of heart of that nature has no place being the punchline of a joke in a pop song.  Additionally, Nicki has a history of problematic explanations of her own sexuality.  According to Rolling Stone, Nicki herself claimed that she initially identified as bisexual ‘for the attention’.  Again, yikes.

Over the years, Nicki has spoken out as an LGBTQIA+ ally.  She cancelled a concert in Saudi Arabia out of solidarity for the queer community of that country.  She has often acknowledged the important role that gay men in particular play in her fanbase.  She was a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

It seems like too great of a leap to say that Nicki herself is homophobic because of this line.  Rather than being malicious, it is more likely that rhyme comes from a place of miseducation and misunderstanding.  That does not mean that it does not deserve to be called out for the dangerous rhetoric that it is.

What do you think?  Does the lyric strike you as problematic too?  As always, the comment section is open, so share your thoughts below.

As a postscript: It should also be mentioned that both the original and the remix versions of ‘Say So’ carry a production credit for ‘TYSON TRAX’ – a new pseudonym used by alleged-Kesha-Abuser Dr. Luke.  The purpose of this article is not to debate the morality (or lack thereof) of consuming Dr. Luke’s content, but it is a point worth making regardless.

50 Bops

PLAYLIST: What 50 songs best define the idea of ‘The Bop’?​

PLAYLIST: What 50 songs best define the idea of 'The Bop'?​

For 50 Bops, I wanted to create a playlist that really encapsulated the idea and the aesthetic of The Bop.  Yes, I wanted songs that are timeless and iconic, but I was more interested in the sound and the feeling of each song rather than how popular or famous it is.  I wanted songs that were catchy, bouncy, danceable, and infectious.  I also knew I wanted a list of 50 tracks without any repeated artists.

In order to do this, I started with artists I felt had to be included.  The greats of modern pop music – Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Madonna etc., and then supplemented the list with lesser-known, but still deserving entries.  For each artist, I picked the song I felt was their truest Bop.  Not necessarily my favorite song by them, but the one that encapsulated that distinct Bop feeling better than any other.

So what's in it?

In some cases, that song was a career defining hit (like ‘TiK ToK’ by Kesha or ‘California Gurls’ by Katy Perry).  For some other artists, I picked something of a b-side.  For example, I chose ‘I Hate Boys’ by Christina Aguilera, from her criminally underrated Bionic album.  I’m sure some of my choices will be controversial, and I will probably regret some of them tomorrow.  But, overall, I am pleased with this list.

The track list is ordered in a way that I thought created a pleasant flow throughout the three-hour runtime.  It is not in any way ranked by quality (or boppiness).

Ultimately, I created this list to hopefully bring a smile to your face and to get you dancing around your apartment.  I know I’ve been dancing around mine.

Stream at the links below.

50 Bops TrackList

  1. G.U.Y. – Lady Gaga ARTPOP

  2. Can’t Be Tamed – Miley Cyrus Can’t Be Tamed

  3. Stronger – Britney Spears Oops… I Did It Again

  4. Girls Night Out – Charli XCX Non-album single

  5. I Don’t Want It At All – Kim Petras Non-album single

  6. Greedy – Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman

  7. TiK ToK – Kesha Animal

  8. Boy Problems – Carly Rae Jepsen Emotion

  9. Tearin’ Up My Heart – *NSYNC *NSYNC

  10. Get Outta My Way – Kylie Minogue Aphrodite

  11. Irresistable – Jessica Simpson Irresistable

  12. Ba$$in – Yelle Complètement Fou

  13. Intuition – Jewel 0304

  14. Hi High – LOONA [+ +]

  15. American Boy – Estelle featuring Kanye West Shine

  16. Hung Up – Madonna Confessions on a Dance Floor

  17. Juice – Lizzo Cuz I Love You

  18. Waiting for Tonight – Jennifer Lopez On the 6

  19. Fembot – Robyn Body Talk

  20. We Run the Night – Havana Brown featuring Pitbull Flashing Lights

  21. Sparks – Hilary Duff Breathe In. Breathe Out.

  22. Demons – Hayley Kiyoko I’m Too Sensitive for this Shit

  23. Are We Good – G.R.L. Non-album single

  24. Larger Than Life – Backstreet Boys Millennium

  25. California Gurls – Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg Teenage Dream

  26. There You Go – P!nk Can’t Take Me Home

  27. That’s My Girl – Fifth Harmony 7/27

  28. Casanova – Allie X CollXtion II

  29. I Hate Boys – Christina Aguilera Bionic

  30. Physical – Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia

  31. Play – Betta Lemme Non-album single

  32. Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani featuring Eve Angel. Music. Baby.

  33. Fluids – Michael Medrano Non-album single

  34. Pandemonium – LIZ Non-album single

  35. Turn Me On – David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj Nothing But the Beat

  36. What Do I Tell My Friends? – Bree Runway Non-album single

  37. Anna Wintour – Azealia Banks Non-album single

  38. One, Two Step – Ciara featuring Missy Elliott Goodies

  39. Crazy in Love – Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z Dangerously in Love

  40. Primadonna – MARINA Electra Heart

  41. Rumors – Lindsay Lohan Speak

  42. Boss Bitch – Doja Cat Birds of Prey: The Album

  43. Mine – Slayyyter Slayyyter

  44. SOS – Rihanna A Girl Like Me

  45. Damaged – Danity Kane Welcome to the Dollhouse

  46. Gimme – Ralph A Good Girl

  47. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd After Hours

  48. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan Saxobeats

  49. Be Good to Me – Ashley Tisdale Headstrong

  50. Comme Des Garçons (Like the Boys) – Rina Sawayama SAWAYAMA

After you listen to my list (enjoy!), head on down to the comment section and let me know what your all-time favorite bops are.