Tuesday, September 16, 2014




Revelations: Nicki Minaj Grammy performance went too far

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Feb. 17, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 17, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.

Jennifer Preyss

If you watched the 54th Grammy Awards Sunday, you may have been confused by Nicki Minaj's Catholic-inspired performance of "Roman Holiday."

I was.

I suppose many people speculated the Lil' Kim knock-off was planning an over-the-top Grammy performance later that night - walking the pre-show red carpet on the arm of a pope impersonator, wearing a bedazzled "Little Red Riding Hood" cloak.

But I'm not sure the audience expected the 29-year-old singer to take the stage and offend the hierarchy of Catholicism, many Protestant Christians, and leave the viewing public scratching their heads, wondering, "What the heck was that?"

Minaj's exorcism-themed performance included demonic possession, levitation, gyrating altar boys, dancing monks and a fearful pope mouthing "Stop it, Stop it" as Minaj's alter-ego, Roman Zolanski, sang a brief chorus from the song "I Feel Pretty."

It was a nightmare to watch, a horror to listen to.

When Minaj ceased singing -- levitating from the air with wide eyes, as if the exorcism was complete -- the only conclusion I was able to draw was, "Wow, that was bad."

The song was poorly written, the lyrics uninspired, the performance unimaginative, the Catholic symbols overused and dripping with disdain.

My next thought, however?

"Wow, she will get so much press for this tomorrow."

And that's exactly what happened. Five days after the Grammy's, Minaj continues to be hounded by reporters and other media attempting to clarify the singer's motivation for the wild musical display.

In her post-Grammy interviews, Minaj admitted to writing a movie script, and the odd Grammy performance was a sample of what's to come. Who knows what that means?

As a non-Catholic, I'm usually not offended by satirical displays of the pope, exorcisms, or ornate depictions of church services. But Grammy night, I was offended.

I was offended on behalf of all the Catholics I know who hold many of the symbols sacred that were mocked on stage. I was offended for all the Catholics in the audience (both at the Los Angeles Staples Center, and watching from home on television) who were subjected to a ridiculous (and just plain bad) performance of God-insulting "art," performed without tact, or consideration of Christian viewers.

Because Hollywood views Christianity, and Christians, as uncool, even diabolical at times, movie and recording industry higher-ups typically have no problem allowing offensive anti-Christian displays of "art" appear on their stages and big screens, especially if it reaps financial payoffs.

But I wonder what the reaction would have been Monday morning if Minaj had committed a five-minute performance to insulting Islam, or choreographing anti-Semitic dance numbers to "Roman Holiday?"

If the Grammy organizers would have allowed such a performance at all, I'm fairly certain Minaj would have been universally panned, and forced into a Mel Gibson-like exile.

I wish more people, more Christians, would be willing to speak out and stick up for each other on matters that publicly offend our God. I wouldn't mock and degrade your God, Minaj - please don't mock and degrade mine.

Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or jlpreyss@vicad.com.

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