Around the time of Nicki Minaj's V Magazine cover, we started to wonder how far Nicki would take it, how far she even could take it, whether we'd see her face shining from the cover of Good Housekeeping some day. Her brand of pop star rap diva seemed accessible to me, but there's little precedent for a lady rapper becoming a household name. There was Lauryn and Kim, of course, but those ascendancies have been marred by personal dramas, insecurities and unmet expectations. We'd been waiting for a lady like Nicki for a long time. And she has yet to meet any major hiccups, a talent and popularity that seem to be growing not on a straight line, but actually exponentially, building on itself every day. She's shaping up to be the 21st century's canary in the mineshaft for female rappers. Let's see how far she goes.
No Good Housekeeping yet, but last night Nicki performed at the Vogue-sponsored Green Auction: Bid to Save the Earth at fancy Christie's NYC in Rockefeller Center, perhaps just as major of a step for her. She tweeted that Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, a woman with famously tough standards, personally invited her:
It was a funny context for Nicki but exciting all the same. Guests cumulatively bid almost 2 million dollars on experiences, the promise of a multi-nation cooking tour or proximity to iconic celebrity enough to make people wearing silk and glitter part with so much of their money (sidenote: how much would Nicki sell for?). Attendees noshed on arctic char and grass fed beef tartar, then bid on nine lots of goodies. A day with Bill Clinton (fine print: time spent ultimately at the discretion of the Clinton Foundation) went for $100,000, a plane ride with Harrison Ford for a lesser 40K. Some lots bore no prizes, were just opportunities for participants to donate to the four sponsoring environmental NGO's. In a crowd of women not shy with fur, an organization that protects wolves did much better than one that makes sure city playgrounds are safe for urban children.
The president of (or someone very very important at) Christies got onstage to give host Seth Meyer a kind welcome and introduction. Even so, Meyers liberal jokes bombed, and following an all "from earth" runway show scored by Gaga and Ke$ha, Minaj appeared onstage without mention or welcome. Her performance was supposed to be a surprise but no one seemed shocked. Flanked by two white-leotarded lookalikes, Nicki finally did perform, not in Chanel, but in a classic un-tasteful Nicki-costume, green bride-of-Frankenstein wig and leather panties that creeped up her famous butt. She looked good, make-up flawless, two pink mopped back-up dancers the Flo and Mary to her Diana. She opened with her "Monster" verse, then gave the room "Moment 4 Life." Especially at first, then less so as her barely-there appearance came to climax, she was behind the beat? Anna Wintour stayed for the whole thing. Whoever took this was the other most stoked person in the room: