You may not have noticed, but the last time Nicki Minaj attended the BET Awards was in 2015 when she went with then-boyfriend Meek Mill and they performed “All Eyes on You.” No one made a big fuss about her lack of an appearance last year (because Beyoncé returned to the stage for the first time in years — duh), but her decision to not attend this year is raising eyebrows.
It’s not because Minaj has to be there every year to accept the Best Female Hip-Hop Artist award, which she’s won every year since 2010, but rather, it’s because of the way she announced that she wouldn’t make it:
The rapper let everyone know that she would be performing at the very first NBA Awards in New York on Monday, June 26, which is the day after the BET Awards in Los Angeles. But “ONLY”? What’s that about?
Maybe it’s because people online were hyping up the possibility of there being friction between the Barbie and her rap adversary, Remy Ma. Maybe she was upset at the fact that Remy was also nominated for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. Maybe BET did something shady behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Maybe the girl is just busy. Whatever the case, some feel that her sharp dismissal of this year’s BET Awards was like biting the hand that has fed her.
They gave star the platform to perform before most others did. That includes performing and debuting her videos on 106 & Park, performing at the old Spring Bling event, allowing her to shine at the Hip Hop Awards, the New Year’s Eve show in 2010. They’ve also given her countless awards. I wouldn’t say they “made” her whatsoever, but they definitely embraced the star’s talent and gave her a lot, including some awards when she didn’t always deserve them. (Honestly, guys, she was barely making music when she beat out Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea, Dej Loaf, Tink and Trina for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist in 2015.) And they awarded her when other shows, like the Grammys (where she’s been awarded 0 gramophones) and the VMAs (where she’s only won three out of nine awards since her debut) have given her very little.
But she’s not alone. It’s common practice for stars who were given an initial boost by the network and their awards show to stop attending. Rihanna went in 2015 to promote her video for “BBHMM” after not showing up to the show since 2008. Bey, who used to perform every time she put out an album, last performed in 2007 before showing up to perform (and only to perform — she left right after) for the 2016 ceremony. She has good reasons not to attend though. Kanye hasn’t been around since 2012. Drake? Well, despite winning heftily each time he’s nominated, the rapper hasn’t been at the awards show since 2011, and he performed on TV for the first time at the 2009 awards. And Jay Z? Good luck with that.
They might not be necessarily turning their back, but it’s kind of annoying to see stars who were given a boost in the earlier stages of their career by Black awards shows and entities to start passing on attending and supporting them. It wouldn’t be an issue at all if it weren’t for the fact that these are often the same stars who will attend and perform at every other mainstream awards show. And when they’re affected in some way that they deem discriminatory, including by the Grammys, VMAs, Billboard Awards and other big shows, they still won’t attend the BET, NAACP and Soul Train Awards. Maybe you could blame it on the actions of the people/producers behind these events, or the natural evolution of the careers of popular artists. It happens. But in Nicki’s case, to go out of your way to shade the same people who were giving you a platform while you were making faces, changing your voice and wearing multi-colored wigs and chicken necklaces when other people weren’t receptive to your talent? It’s interesting to say the least.