Instagram, folks! It's not just for outfit grids and novelty-stenciled cappuccino foam. It's a forum for public discourse about censorship in the arts. At least, that's how dear old Nicki Minaj is using it this fine morning. Nicki Minaj called out CBS for cutting down her performance of "Anaconda" on Fashion Rocks Tuesday night and released a message for the network via her official Instagram on Wednesday. Minaj is upset with CBS for essentially "cutting out" a large part of her performance in the telecast. While I can't say that I believe the world missed out on much jiggling that it hasn't already seen, I think that she makes a valid point.
Sure, the way she frames her argument is a little extreme, but Nicki Minaj has never been one to play it mum. The "Pills n Potions" rapper issued a paragraph-long statement in the caption to a photo she posted on Wednesday. Indicating that the network pre-approved the choreography for her performance, Minaj apparently felt blind-sided by their decision to cut away for almost the entirety of the second verse. Then, she gets into the debate of art and censorship when she basically calls the people at CBS prudish drones who just don't get it. Well, alright then! She says in her caption:
My darlingz, I wish you could've seen the choreography on the 2nd verse of ANACONDA last night. It was absolutely divine. CBS decided not to show it. Had they told us this before, we would have changed the choreo so that you guys could see the full performance from beginning to end. They already had you tuned in tho. Artists spend so much of their own money, time and passion to deliver their fans great performances. But ultimately, our art usually falls into the hands of people who care nothing about our art and creativity.
Sure, the "art" and "creativity" we're talking about in this case consists of a whole lot of butt stuff, and I, for one, would be happy with a brief break from butt stuff. It's not the kind of art that makes me think. Also, this particular breed of "owning your sexuality" seems to be less about reclaiming sexual agency, and more of a sneaky kind of pseudo-empowerment that objectifies women. (Plus, poop comes out of there.) However, considering the time, money, and physical exertion that goes into staging a performance like this, I would be pissed if the whole thing fell victim to a zoom-out x2000. Especially if I could've changed some stuff around to avoid it. Here's the performance of "Anaconda," replete with cutaways to Jennifer Lopez and long shots of the stage.
Pretty, pretty, pretty awkward, right? Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez sang a song about butts, gyrated and flashed her butt to complement the theme of her song "Booty," and wasn't subject to any awkward cutaways. Sure, there may not have been as much overt "making it clap," but this decision is puzzling.
Especially when you see that the part of the performance when her dancers mimed taking up-skirt butt pics with their phones wasn't cut. No... just NO! Let me get this straight, making light of non-consentual taint shots is fine, but the dancing wasn't? Apparently, this is where the distinction between "tasteful ass" and "profane ass" lies. If the twerking was too much, the fact stands, they could've told Minaj to tweak things to fit their standards. What they did feels like a super-last minute redaction, and it reeks of crappy communication.
On another note. Justin Bieber humiliating himself by stripping down to his Calvins is something we can agree is always tasteful schadenfreude.
We have reached out to CBS for comment.