I didn't know who Nicki Minaj was until the Superbowl when she performed with Madonna and then I googled her and this video was the first one I watched. I watched it on a loop repeatedly for a few hours one day and thought, I'm gonna write a poem about this. Then that poem became a whole project based on the images, history, lyrics and anything contextual that the video and song bring up for me.
I aired what I call the panel screening of this Project at McKeown's bookstore on Friday, March 16th. Originally, the talk consisted of screening the video with me stopping and discussing the various points along the way in my poetic analysis of the "Stupid Hoe" video. The talk is called "Stupid Hoe (explicit)." The store where I wanted to perform the piece does not have wi-fi, so I had to compromise and made a power point with the audio from the song.
One of the items I talk about in the beginning of the video is Kate Durbin's project Gaga Stigmata, which is an incredible resource for being able to talk about media imagery and the rise of the "pop star" as well as the art that is being created in this context. I was drawn to a particular piece by a doctoral candidate in theological studies Peter Klein who discusses the use of religion in Lady Gaga's performances and persona. He states that she is both deadly serious and mocking in her rebuttals and insertion of religious phenomena and ritual in her performance and even outside the performance (if there is an outside that we view) in her persona. I'm not a Lady Gaga fan, so I can't really speak to the articles and all the things happening on Durbin's site, but I'm intrigued by it as a construct for thinking about language, theatrics, poetry and politics. I think the same idea of Klein's thesis applies to this project as inhabiting both a space for the absurd and the serious, a place of inquiry that can also laugh and poke fun at exactly what is being uncovered and deconstructed.
One of the reasons I'm so attracted to this video is the amount of thievery it employs. Part of this is a direct response to Lil' Kim's attack song on Minaj "Black Friday." Lil' Kim basically accuses Minaj of being a "clown clone" copying her looks and lyrics, etc. It's so bizarre that a genre of music that changed the idea of copyright based on sampling also contains this intense authority and ownership. I don't prescribe to it: I think everyone is a copy cat. I invite discussion to the contrary and encourage theft.
This in turn generated the next part of the project which consists of poems based on still images from the video.
To the left is one image from the beginning of the video:
Here's the poem
This blog post is part of the project and discussion and responses generated from it. We haven't even begun to dive into what exactly happened at the Grammy's and, of course, the new video of 'Roman Holiday' with Eminem. It's a swerve from "Stupid Hoe," but that particular clinamen we will save for later discussions.