You can tell the difference between a Queen and a concubine. Well at least at one point in time you could. Today our perspectives on what constitutes womanhood seem cloudier than ever. Barbie, aka Nicki Minaj, put out a series of photos from a recent spread in paper magazine, for what I can only assume is promotion for an upcoming album and to “break the internet”. And just like that, the hoe (whore to be politically correct) culture scored another point for the home team. If that sounds raunchy to you, imagine the impact of the visuals on the minds of young people around the world. I know, I know, sex sales. And this my friends, is a perfect litmus test to differentiate a true musician from a genetically modified pop icon. The fact that Nicki continues to display behavior normally reserved for starving artists takes nothing away from her lyrical abilities or work ethic. It’s her decisions that have me scratching my head.

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I don’t talk or walk soft, so for those of you readying your fingers to accuse me of slut shaming, be my guest. A woman who identifies herself as a slut is already overdue for a reality check. A society that embraces slut culture needs redirection. American culture, particularly Black American culture, needs a rude awakening.

There’s been a lot of talk as of late, and rightfully so, of rape culture. The recent events surrounding Harvey Weinstein and others have placed a blaring spotlight on the misogynistic infrastructure of Hollywood. Every other day secrets are coming out of the closet, tearing the veil from a dirty secret that the whole world has known forever, yet taken no action to prevent. Women and girls are seen as play things; second class citizens; undeserving of protection and respect, even in their ignorant and/or most vulnerable states.

Rape culture is defined as “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse”. We know Weinstein is a creep. We know his type are found in boardrooms, rap lyrics, and every spectrum of pop culture. We have ions of time to dissect the who, what, when, where, why and how’s of his kind. Today I want to talk about women. I want to talk about our subconscious embrace of rape culture and the perverted mindset that’s been born as a result.

Making a public spectacle of yourself in compromising sexual positions, in front of the world, is a contribution to rape culture. Regardless to how beautiful the makeup, fancy the clothes, high profile the photographer; it’s trashy and dangerous. While millions of young girls look up to Nicki for her playful lyrics, it must not be taken lightly that she has amassed global success pretending to be a Barbie doll; another cultural icon belonging to the elementary and pre-teen stages of girlhood. So, let’s be clear – this is not about freedom of speech or disallowing women the opportunity to take control of their sexuality. This is about using symbolism to sell sex to vulnerable children. And not just sex I might add – soft porn, minaj a trois, lesbianism (Nicki is not a lesbian), and playful sexual simulations that women in compromising situations would give their lives to break free from.

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Young black girls see themselves in ALL black women. This is why we cheer the Michelle Obamas and Misty Copelands of the world. We know that their success is a representation of what our daughters can aspire to be. Black women are magnetic, even in our madness. Everything we do sets global trends. Why else would women in Sweden pay top dollars to learn how to twerk?

It is irresponsible to continue to endorse women that cater to the lower nature of the human brain, which is fragile enough as is. The “Minaj A Trois” photo shoot is a booster shot into the already promiscuous and overtly sexual culture plaguing black America. Cardi B, Lil Kim, Amber Rose, Kim Kardashian etc., all play their part in staging a perverted notion of success and ideals of what a woman should aspire to be. Instead of using money and fame as a platform to be classy, these women regress the notion of women’s empowerment; glorifying a lifestyle that women around the world are trying to escape… then they have the audacity to complain about not being treated the same as the men in their respective craft.

There are a few things I need for women to understand. Shock factor does not equate to respect. We live in a world that is predicated on normalizing dysfunctional behavior. I’m sick and tired of hearing women complain about male dominated industries, only to carry out the same behavior that keeps men in power over us in the first place. This is not a movement in consciousness for women’s rights; this is weaponizing sexuality. A concept born out of rape, abuse, degradation and demoralization. Many sisters, in their ignorance, now seek to out-man – men. These efforts are futile to a woman that understands her real power is in womanhood. Balance must be restored in our communities so that it trickles down to our children. Women AND men must begin to develop respect for the anatomy and control over our sexual behavior. As women, we cannot objectify ourselves then complain when we get treated like objects. We can’t be sacred and savage at the same time. A boss shouldn’t act like a bed wench. Respect should never be compromised for attention.

We can hone in on the Trump organization, racism, police brutality etc., all we want. But the more we continue to ignore our emphasis on an exasperated, physically propped up – yet soul less version of the black woman, the more perverse her reflection will appear. If what we focus on expands, then we should expect up and coming Nicki’s to be prevalent not only in pop culture, but in middle and high schools as well. We will either accept the challenge of redefining what it means to be a woman and the type of women we glorify, or we can seal the fate of generations to come.

There is a war for the minds and hearts of our children at hand.

Be Mindful.

ZaZa Ali


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