Now first off. Let me state that I am not of the Catholic religion, nor do I claim to know what practices are deemed to be okay or not within the religion. However, I have done a bit of research just to support some of the points contained within this piece. Do enjoy the post and leave any comments you have in favor of this piece or against my position. Please view the video below before you continue reading this post:
Sunday, February 12, 2012 the 54th Grammy Award show aired in Los Angeles, California. The show which honors recording artists, producers and others involved in the production and distribution of recordings by musical artists featured an opening performance by Bruce Springsteen and performances throughout by Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt, Rihanna and Coldplay, and Jennifer Hudson among many others.
This post focuses on the controversial and over-the-top performance by Nicki Minaj. Since Nicki’s emergence on to the Hip Hop scene in 2007, her fans and the music industry have become accustom to Minaj’s colorful persona which is usually depicted in her tracks and the visuals that go along with those songs. However, many viewers of the 2012 Grammy’s, myself included, were shocked and speechless when Minaj’s performed “Roman Holiday”. The social media circuit began buzzing with Twitter users tweeting and Facebook users updating their statuses.
The majority of the controversy surrounding Nicki’s performance is centered around the religion for which exorcisms are most noted within the Western hemisphere, which is that of the Catholic church. Without getting too deep into the background of the Roman Catholic Church and it’s regulations, I want to offer my personal opinion of Nicki Minaj’s performance.
When I watched the performance at first I asked myself Did I really just actually witness what I think I did?
I am wholeheartedly in favor of artistic expression but there is a thin line that is extended when it comes to depicting religion and the practices of a specific religion. I personally feel as though Nicki made a mockery of a practice which is generally only used in extreme situations, when church members feel there is no other options to save a person’s soul.
From the “I feel pretty” mantra being repeated. When the Priest asked ‘What’s your name” and Minja replies “Roman” as if to identify the demon within her. The choir boys being ‘tempted’ as they prayed. The stained mosaic backdrops alluding to Cathedral or Sanctuary windows. The dress of the dancers and other extras such as the Priest. All of these elements combined were a bit over-extensive in my opinion.
Laurieann Gibson, a well know Choreographer within the entertainment industry and who was the creative mind behind the dance routines, defended the performance by Minaj saying, “For me, it was about the theatrical aspect of being able to create something like that…” Gibson also stated that she was very careful to not include any literal movements, such as praying hands, etc. Despite her efforts, it was pretty hard to ignore the allusion of the prayer boy, kneeled down with his hands clasped. However Laurieann did state, “…the exorcism was her idea and her concept,” referring to Minaj.
Quite frankly, I am not too concerned with who’s idea it was originally. I’m more concerned with why after going through a proposal, an approval and a production process there was NO one who thought that the controversy of the performance may create more backlash than it received praises? That is somewhat of a rhetorical question as the performance stilled aired on Sunday evening. I guess I am more upset with the executives of the Grammy’s and those in charge of performance and why little regard was given to the implication which would come from the airing of such a performance.
I suppose there is more money to be made going ahead with such performances as this one than to respect a religion and one of it’s most controversial practices.