Anti-Defamation League Takes Nicki Minaj To Task For “Only” Video

“Nicki Minaj’s new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism.”

November 10, 2014

Update 11/11/14 2:10 p.m.: Osborne's released a statement to MySpace regarding the lyric video—his statement's below:

Before I start, be clear that these are my personal views and not the views of Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, or Young Money.

First, I'm not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism.

But a majority of the recognizable models/symbols are American: MQ9 Reaper Drone, F22 Raptor, Sidewinder missile, security cameras, M60, SWAT uniform, General's uniform, the Supreme court, and the Lincoln Memorial. What's also American is the 1st Amendment, which I've unexpectedly succeeded in showing how we willfully squeeze ourselves out of that right every day.

Despite the fact heavy religious and economic themes were glossed over, there's also Russian T-90 tanks, Belgian FN FAL, German mp5 (not manufactured until 1966), an Italian Ferrari, and a Vatican Pope.

As far as an explanation, I think its actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it's not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I'm not sorry. What else is trending?"

Update 11/11/14 8:30 a.m.: Minaj took to Twitter this morning to respond to the allegations—her statement's below:

The artist who made the video for "Only" was influenced by a cartoon on Cartoon Network called Metalocalypse & Sin City. Both the producer, & person in charge of over seeing the lyric video (one of my best friends & videographer: A Loucas), happen to be Jewish. I didn't come up w/the concept, but I'm very sorry & take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I'd never condone Nazism in my art.

Over the weekend, Nicki Minaj's new animated lyric video for "Only," directed by Jeffrey Osborne, drew heat for flirting with a controversial military aesthetic. Online commentators took issue with the Nuremberg-like rallies, lined-up armies, and SS-style Young Money armbands and banners that adorn the video—and now the Anti-Defamation League has joined in, too. This afternoon, ADL National Director and Holocaust survivor Abraham H. Foxman issued the following statement (via THR):

Nicki Minaj's new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture's exploitation of Nazi symbolism. The irony should be lost on no one that this video debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass" pogrom that signaled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.

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.

This video is insensitive to Holocaust survivors and a trivialization of the history of that era. 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.

FADER has reached out to Osborne, and is awaiting comment.

Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty

Anti-Defamation League Takes Nicki Minaj To Task For “Only” Video