Admittedly, I don’t often make life decisions by asking myself, “What would Nicki Minaj do?” but her recent dust up with Taylor Swift got me thinking. Unless you’ve been confined to a cave in Crete, no doubt you are aware that Ms. Minaj sparked a recent pop culture firestorm when, following announcement of 2015 MTV Video Music Awards nominations, she took to social media to express frustration that her song “Anaconda” was not nominated for some of the show’s top awards. In fact, “Anaconda” was nominated for Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop Video but not for the all-important Video of the Year. Thus, Nicki felt slighted. The hip hop diva said, “‘Anaconda’ had such a huge cultural impact and, on top of that, we broke the Vemo record…,” she continued. “I do think if it was one of the pop girls, there would have many nominations for it.” Known as much for her curvaliscious backside as her raps, Minaj also tweeted that, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.”
Intended as a cry for both musical and body image diversity, Minaj’s tweet, was not interpreted this way by Taylor Swift, whose aptly titled “Bad Blood” video was, in fact, nominated for MTV’s Video of the Year. The video famously features the rail thin Swift and an army of surprisingly lethal supermodels. Swift responded directly to Minaj’s tweet, writing, “@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.”
Minaj went on Good Morning America to reply, “I think that we just have to have both images for girls… We can’t have only one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are.” That’s when Taylor called Minaj directly to apologize. According to Minaj, the pop icon said, ‘You know, look I didn’t understand the big picture of what you were saying but now I get it.’” In resolving their aural quarrel Minaj added, “Sometimes we do things and we don’t think right away or we don’t investigate and we just talk so it was big of her to come out and say that.”
Here are five takeaways useful in the workplace:
1. The spat between the two singers was quickly resolved when Swift simply picked up the phone and called Minaj.
2. Everyone loves a catfight. Women in positions of authority are often pitted against each. It’s important not to take the bait.
3. Don’t waste energy judging people negatively because such comparisons are the thief of joy and personal satisfaction. Too often we measure ourselves by how we judge others. No matter what you think of someone or how that person may seem, you may not know the whole story. Instead of focusing on what you think of them, find out what you can learn from them.
4. As the French essayist Joseph Joubert once wrote, “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.” When you take the wrong road, admit it and turn back.
5. Be flexible in relationships. After Minaj and Swift came to a position of détente, Minaj expressed the possibility that the two women may collaborate in the future. “I’m sure we can,” Minaj said. “You know why, because it takes a big person to do what Taylor did.”