Don’t Underestimate Nicki Minaj, She’s Smarter Than You Think & She Knows It

If you're sleeping on Nicki Minaj, you better wake up or you're gonna get left behind. The 31-year-old rapper and veritable powerhouse is the cover girl for the newest issue of Billboard Magazine, giving a very serious, focused interview that outlines exactly why you should never underestimate her. Besides her insane diligence and work ethic, Nicki Minaj is particularly important right now for challenging the paradigm that women in music can either be smart or sexy, not both. And she is definitely, unapologetically both.

Minaj points out that she is heavily involved in every aspect of managing the business of her empire, saying "Sometimes as women in the industry — if you're sexy or like doing sexy things — some people subconsciously negate your brain. They think you're stupid." Minaj's actions speak as loud as her words, which are roaring. She is constantly challenging the double standards that strong, powerful women can't be intelligent if they are sexy.

And, of course, her sexuality is blatant, fierce and in your face, something for which she has been endlessly criticized. But she impressively refuses to engage with or sink to the level of critics who find her too lewd. Of the wildly sexual "Anaconda" video (which is one of the greatest music videos ever, IMHO), Minaj said, "I went overboard with the video to show that I'm not going to hide. And those big-booty dancers I have, they're not going to hide. Black girls should feel sexy, powerful and important too." Everything she does is subversive; her sexuality always has a meaning and a connotation, a way for her to transgress conventional, white beauty standards. How can you say that that's not intelligent?

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Minaj knows that people underestimate her because of her sexuality, and she'll have none of it. Of her time brief time on American Idol, Minaj told Billboard, "A lot of people would come up to me and say, 'Oh, you're smarter than I thought.' What does that mean? Was I making weird faces [that made you think] I was stupid?" Her constant refusal to relinquish her power in conversations about her sexuality, her potential, and her empire are part of her sexiness. It's baffling to me that people would think that intelligence and sexiness are mutually exclusive, because when I look at Nicki Minaj, I see a woman totally in control of her sexy self, and I want to be bossed up to her level. Never underestimate her.

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