On Nicki Minaj, Regis Philbin and Bootygate

Written by Rizoh. Posted in Culture

Tagged: ,

Published on December 04, 2010 with 13 Comments

Nicki Minaj stopped by LIVE! with Regis & Kelly to promote her record-setting album, Pink Friday, and proceeded to charm the hosts with her powerful lyrics. Oh wait, that didn’t happen. Instead, her booty gave 79-year old Regis Philbin a woody.

After performing her hit single “Right Thru Me,” the 25-year-old rapper went over to chat with Regis and Kelly about Pink Friday. Kelly complimented her hair, while Regis was staring at something else. He checked out her outfit and blurted out, “I love the way you dress, this looks like you’ve got a little strap around you there.” After feeling the strap, he then gave Minaj a tap on the booty. Stunned, Kelly shrieked, “Regis! What just happened?”

Regis followed up the ass tap by asking Nicki what advice Lil Wayne has given her. “Wayne tells me to go hard,” she said, to which he replied, “Go hard? I wish I could.” Nicki Minaj played it cool on the show but later tweeted that she was “in shock” after Regis tapped her.

It’s convenient to blame Nicki Minaj for the sexy, form-fitting costumes she wears in public. But I’ve never bought into the excuse that a sexy outfit is an invitation for sexual harassment. Ugly women are raped and molested all the time. Regardless of a woman’s fashion, it’s a man’s responsibility to conduct himself in a reasonable fashion. I’m sure Nicki’s been around male hosts that didn’t make her feel uncomfortable.

I know what you’re thinking: “Well, Rihanna groped her at the AMAs and no one complained.” Regis barely tapped her thighs, so what’s the difference? No, this isn’t a case of “if it’s cool for Rihanna, it should be cool for Regis.” Nicki and Rihanna are probably friendly like that offstage. By that logic, the groping in Rihanna’s case could be classified as consensual. Also, if you replace Regis with Drake or Lil Wayne, two men who are much younger and well-known associates of Nicki’s, I doubt that people would’ve perceived it as inappropriate. What does that say about the way people are reacting to this thing? I don’t know, but I do know that it makes it less of a sexual harassment issue as Nicki Minaj’s “OMG! I was in shock!!” reaction would lead us to believe.

Also, this doesn’t strike me as a race issue. Don’t make that face, I’m serious. It’s not a race issue. Folks are already calling for Regis Philbin to apologize or be fired. Seriously? Should Rihanna also apologize?

But since we’re pointing fingers, let’s point one in Kelly Ripa’s direction. Just as Regis acted inappropriately by tapping Nicki’s thighs, Kelly Ripa should also be yelled at for keeping the conversation squarely focused on her curvature and her fashion. In fact, Kelly Ripa should also apologize for comparing waists with Nicki Minaj. How dare she?

What I’m trying to say is that none of this would be possible without Nicki Minaj’s cooperation. There’s a reason why people seem to only want to quiz her on her style as opposed to her substance. I don’t remember people constantly discussing the size of Lauryn Hill’s hips during interviews or the color of MC Lyte’s hair. If a sexualized barbie is what Nicki Minaj presents herself as, a sexualized barbie is exactly how people will treat her. She can’t have it both ways.

My main criticism of Nicki has always been that she allowed the industry to force her into the traditional route female celebs take to success. Surely, women still have a hard time surviving in the male-dominated music industry.

Look no further than the latest Grammy nominees for Album of the Year and you’ll see how pop success reflects certain career choices. For example, no one wanted Lady Gaga when she was an average brunette with mean keyboard skills. It took dying her hair blonde and getting nekkid in damn near every photoshoot to finally break through. Katy Perry’s first musical foray was via a gospel album. Success eluded her until she kissed a girl and liked it. This is the predicament of women in the music business. The ones who endure have had to make some tricky decisions.

Nicki MInaj just posted the highest sales numbers for a female rapper since Lauryn. The fact that she did it by sexualizing her image at the expense of quality music betrays the sexism still entrenched in our culture. But it’s still a choice. And bootygate is a symptom of the problematic nature of this choice, not its cause.



Rizoh is the most powerful man in all the lands. He lives in Houston where he earned a BS in Nerf Herding. He's the founder of The Rap Up, the former editor of Roc4Life.com, and is in the Grammy-awaiting band Pervertable Disciples.

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There are currently 13 Comments on On Nicki Minaj, Regis Philbin and Bootygate. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. He resisted enough to tap near the donk and square on its apex.

    • opps: and NOT square on the donk

      • Nicki’s donk got you confused? Ha!

    • opps: and NOT square on the donk

  2. He resisted enough to tap near the donk and square on its apex.

  3. in the end, all scenarios point to a white man: Regis is that man. he’s like 400 yrs old, so I don’t think they will ask him to step down. I do think that shit is kind of inappropriate, esp. since the show is on at like 9AM here. nature of the beast.

    • he really is like 400 years old :D

  4. really good read… you make some great points.

  5. Recently i’ve gotten back into the music scene and to be honest i’m not surprised female singers create gimmicks to go along with their musical talents.

    A unique look adds to their fandom and people have never been interested in JUST a celebrity’s talents.

  6. Recently i’ve gotten back into the music scene and to be honest i’m not surprised female singers create gimmicks to go along with their musical talents.

    A unique look adds to their fandom and people have never been interested in JUST a celebrity’s talents.

  7. ;

  8. when he said he wishes he can go hard… i dont think he meant it in a sexual way… he meant it like how Lil Wayne means it (like go harder than paint)… And some of you people (regardless of gender) act as if you have NEVER done anything inappropriate… whether it’s verbal or physical… Nicki is adorable!

  9. Well said. Good read.
    It seriously doesn’t seem like a big deal to me especially because of the way Nikki’s backside is always in conversation. Though Regis shouldn’t have touched it, it doesn’t call for more than a personal apology to nikki, not the masses.
    I’m also proud of nikki for playing it cool, even if it bothered her, she didn’t let herself act a fool.

    Lets just play this one off and let eminem make fun of it in a music video or something.

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