Dear Chuck Creekmur,
I am a music blogger. I'm also a woman.
l've never written for your web property, AllHipHop. l've never pitched you, made your acquaintance, or even corresponded with you before. You have never helped me get into a party or done me any favors, but if you had, it still wouldn't give you any license to tell me how to live my life.
Judging by this open letter to Nicki Minaj you released on the internet yesterday, prompted by the sexy new album art she released for her upcoming single, you seem like the kind of guy who keeps a close eye on his personal tally of what he thinks women owe him.
I felt compelled to write you today to remind you that women, and girls, actually owe you nothing—especially when it comes to how we choose to express and interpret our own sexuaIity. That's something women like me are having to remind men like you of that all too often lately, and it's getting a bit repetitive. We're just as tired of writing these kind of responses as you guys are of reading them. You may think your letter couldn't be further from that realm of modern female oppression, but like those ultra conservative white guys in Washington who make us disclose our birth control methods to our bosses and fight to keep our basic reproductive health care options—you're just another dude trying to tell a woman she's not allowed to be sexual on her own terms. Having to explain these same concepts ad nauseum to men like you is as necessary as it's ever been.
In your letter, which you claim comes from a place of love, you start off with an anecdote about Minaj's camp having asked you to take a similar picture of Minaj down before.
"For a moment there, I felt like I had briefly peered into the deepest recesses of Nicki Minaj’s true inner self, a being that cares how this ratchet s**t affects my kid. I said to myself, “Self, how cool is this? Nicki is already evolving into somebody that my daughter may get to listen to on my watch. Maybe.” you wrote, "Now, the most popular, current Black female rapper starts overtly pushing her hyper-sexualized image again? Just my luck."
If you're so concerned about the effect that a raunchy piece of album art will have on your daughter, maybe sitting her down and talking to her about it would be a more effective use of your time than publicly slut shaming a celebrity on the internet. I'm not going to try to tell you how to raise your kid because I'm not a parent, and frankly that's none of my business. In your letter, you use your fatherhood as a false entitlement, it doesn't give you any right to tell any woman how she should or shouldn't present herself as a sexual being.
Besides, I'm not concerned about your daughter, Chuck. I'm concerned about you! Have you really taken a minute to yourself to reflect since your initial reaction to the album art for Anaconda? I mean, how is Chuck Creekmur really feeling right now about Nicki Minaj? Are you sure he's not just like, angry-horny?
Because who could blame you if you were? It's got to be frustrating for you that one of the hottest, most influential rappers in the game right now is a woman. Nicki Minaj is talented, focused, and has turned herself into a global brand since you were nice enough to let her into a party about a decade ago. She's not just an artist anymore, she's a fragrance, she's a lipstick, she's a nail polish, she's a daytime talk show meme—she's built herself an empire of glamor and female empowerment. And in doing so, she's in full control of her image and public perception. Truth be told, she doesn't really need you or AllHipHop anymore, not when she's got Instagram. That's got to sting.
You and countless other men in the entertainment industry take part in a long-standing tradition of sexually objectifying women for profit everyday. Rap and hip-hop in particular are guilty of some of the most heinous illustrations of this. When a piece of content depicting scantily clad or highly sexualized women credited to a male artist comes across your desk to be considered for AllHipHop, I wonder how often you feel compelled to publicly call their "higher purpose" into question. The reason that Nicki Minaj album art elicited this reaction from you is not because you're a dad, it's because you're a misogynist. You're the kind of misogynist who's only comfortable with a strong display of female sexuality if it is dictated and defined by a man. It seems from your letter, and from the content posted on your blog everyday, that if it's a faceless no-name video extra bent over or spread eagle for a man, it's okay in your book.
You go on to try and further debase Nicki by comparing her to your idea of what a respectable woman is.
"Imagine you being regarded in such a way?" you wrote, "The way Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte have been for their communities? I know, times have changed, but one thing is for sure: careers can come and go. Legacy stays."
In doing this, you imply that women cannot be both overtly sexual and substantial, that they must be one or the other. The idea of "The Madonna vs The Whore" is as antiquated as it gets. Back in the 60s, you were either a Marilyn Monroe or a Jackie Kennedy. Nowadays, you're either a Beyonce or a Rihanna—wifey material or a thot.
Women are not this one-dimensional. We have the capacity to be both sexual and talented or important or even brilliant, just as you might assume any man might too. Even your daughter, as she "transitions into a young lady" will at some point have an orgasm, and she will like it. She might even decide she likes the way her ass looks in a g-string. And that's not going to cheapen or lessen any of the other beautiful, brilliant, or important parts of her personality that develop along the way as well. Neither will a sexy photo of Nicki Minaj.
Vanessa Quilantan aka @pronailprincesa aka The Triple Diva aka The Pussy Poptimist