Although many were quick to critique Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" music video for skinny shaming, I personally believe it is the most body positive music video nominated at the 2015 Video Music Awards. In fact, Nicki Minaj is arguably one of the most body positive celebrities of the moment. While she was snubbed by the VMAs this year for the Video of the Year nomination (and took to Twitter to speak out about it), "Anaconda" is still nominated for Best Video of the Year and Best Hip Hop Video.
As Minaj herself pointed out, "Anaconda" literally broke world records, and the lack of acknowledgement for a video that celebrates black female bodies is arguably an act of racial prejudice. Although "Anaconda" has garnered two amazing nominations, the video truly deserves a Video of the Year nomination if you ask me.
Regardless of the controversy surrounding it, "Anaconda" has led the way in celebrating bodies outside of the thin, white, cis standard of beauty that is enforced across society and the media. The song itself re-appropriates "Baby Got Back" to remove the male gaze factor completely and to allow for a female narrative of, "I don't care what your anaconda wants because this hun doesn't want you."
Minaj also plays with her own sexualized image in the video with the exaggerated imagery — literally cutting a banana into pieces whilst wearing a maid's costume and smiling. So as well as celebrating female bodies outside of harsh beauty standards, she also reclaims the female body and female sexuality. All in all, it's a much more body positive video than most, let alone those from 2015 alone.
All that being said, "Anaconda" isn't the only body positive music video that came out this year. Nomination or not, they deserve to be celebrated, too.
1. "Uptown Funk" By Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
This song gives us a positive narrative for people of color — even flipping stereotypes around by having the happy black male entourage receive shoe shines from white dudes. The body positivity beams throughout for the representation of men of color as well as diverse body types amongst the dancers. Let's not forget that body positivity isn't exclusively for women.
2. "Bang Bang" By Jessie J Featuring Ariana Grande And Nicki Minaj
Three very diverse women — the bold Jessie J, cutesy Ariana Grande, and powerful Nicki Minaj — all celebrate each other in this video, not just through their lyrics, but their dancing and obvious enjoyment of each other's company.
3. "Fat Chicks" By Trisha Paytas
This song literally slows things down halfway through to give a speech on body positivity. What more could you ever need? "Fat Chicks" is the fat positive anthem that "All About That Bass" should've been.
4. "B*tch I'm Madonna" By Madonna Featuring Nicki Minaj
Madonna rejected ageism once again in her party and fun-filled music video for "B*tch I'm Madonna." The self love is evident, both in the title and the video itself. It contrasts so heavily against "Bad Blood," but Madonna is celebrating herself and her friends, not building an army to take down her enemies.
5. "Feeling Myself" By Nicki Minaj Featuring Beyoncé
This song is all about empowerment and self love. Feeling yourself and everything you're doing — knowing how great you are — is truly important. Seeing the close friendship between Minaj and Bey shows just how important female friendships are when it comes to finding self love. The support of great friends can make your journey to body positivity so much easier.
While there's a long way to go before body positivity is a truly mainstream concept, it's pretty exciting to start seeing the notions that embody it represented by such powerful and beloved celebrities.