NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Rapper Nicki Minaj is known for her risque videos and lyrics, but her latest release has upset the Anti-Defamation League.
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the ADL, called Minaj’s latest video “a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism.”
Web Extra: Click here to watch the video (Warning: Video contains very explicit language)
The video is for Minaj’s “Only,” which also features rappers Drake and Lil Wayne and singer Chris Brown.
The video features the track’s lyrics superimposed over animated images.
The video had been viewed more than 1.3 million times on YouTube as of Monday afternoon.
Minaj is depicted in front of squads of standing men who resemble stormtroopers, who are wearing red armbands around their left arms and a “YM” logo in a white circle against a red backdrop.
Other images in the video depict rows of tanks and Minaj on a throne surrounded by tall red banners featuring a “YM” logo, which stands for “Young Money,” the name of Minaj’s record label.
Foxman said the video “disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda.”
“It is troubling that no one among Minaj’s group of producers, publicists and managers raised a red flag about the use of such imagery before ushering the video into public release,” he added.
“This video is insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era,” Foxman said. “The abuse of Nazi imagery is deeply disturbing and offensive to Jews and all those who can recall the sacrifices Americans and many others had to make as a result of Hitler’s Nazi juggernaut.”
“We live in a free world,” ADL Deputy National Director Ken Jacobson told 1010 WINS. “I would hope she would be sensitive enough to it to issue some kind of a statement. People always make choices, whether they view such things, whether they buy products. All we can do in this kind of a thing is to put out what’s so distressing about it and hope that people will speak up.”
CBS2’s Don Champion showed the video to people on the street.
“The obvious symbolism right there about relating to Nazis is a little bit strange, esepcially coming from her,” said music fan Alissa Smith.
“You need to be careful about the stuff you put on the TV and Internet, especially with the youth nowadays,” said one man. “They’re going to start following some of the things that she does that aren’t that appropriate.”
Minaj, a Queens native, is no stranger to controversy. Her video for the song “Anaconda” raised eyebrows this summer for its overly sexual images of women.
“Some people are going to understand the messages that you’re trying to deliver,” said Jermaine Hall, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine. “Some people are going to understand you pushing the envelope and trying to push a project. And some people are going to be absolutely mortified.”
So far, Minaj has not commented on the video or the controversy surrounding it.
You may also be interested in these stories: