Lesbian Spectacles: Nicki Minaj's *Roman's Revenge*

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Lesbian Spectacles: Nicki Minaj's *Roman's Revenge*

I just watched Nicki Minaj's new music video for "Beez in the Trap," the second single off her sophomore album, Roman's Revenge

I don't know if it's the suggestive lyrics ("beez in the trap") or Nicki oogling nearly-nekked ladies in da (strip) club, but this video, especially on the heels of "Stupid Hoe," screams THE GAY to me. 

(A green-haired Nicki will soon "be" in the "trap" of this lovely lady to her left.)

So, I decided to whip out my lesbian spectacles to take a closer look. 

The figurative object of the "lesbian spectacles" is one that I've gleefully borrowed from the late-great literary critic, and out lesbian, Barbara Johnson, who wrote about reading through her own "lesbian spectacles" in The Feminist Difference

BJ's objective in this piece is to try to read "as a lesbian," even though she acknowledges that this attempt is already fraught with impossibility, because, she explains, trying to read and speak "as a lesbian" would be an explicit processing of her self "through media-induced images of what a lesbian is or though [her] own idealizations of what a lesbian should be." In other words, she would be treating the object of inquiry (reading as a "lesbian") as something already known. 

Through a reading Nella Larson's novel Passing, BJ identifies 1) pervasive ambivalence and 2) under-explanation as signifiers of a lesbian erotics at work between the two female protagonists. 

The idea of lesbian spectacles has always intrigued me. I mean, what, if anything, is a Nicki Minaj song (and accompanying video) if not ambivalent and under-explained?

Although, I don't think I even need to put on my lesbian spectacles to read Nicki's "Stupid Hoe" lyrics otherwise. ("Stupid Hoe" being the first single off Roman's Revenge.) I think perhaps its the explicit reference to Portia&Ellen that really does it, ya know?

"Cuz I pull up in that Porsche but it ain't De Rossi

Pretty bitches only can get in my posse."

Yeah, pretty ladies can only get in my "posse," too, a "theme" which she reiterates later in her song when she says "if you sexy eat my cooka raw." I agree, I mean, if you aren't sexy, I don't want you anywhere near my cooka.

But, let it be told, Nicki doesn't want to be a sugar daddy to any "stupid hoe":

"Cuz these hoes so busted

Hoes is so crusty

These bitches is my sons,

And I don't want custody."

Ah, "Stupid Hoe," explicit lesbianism overlaid with misogyny. Because, any incipient lesbianism is clearly erased and/or disqualified by some blatant, raging misogyny...ammi right?

With Nicki's second music video for "Beez in the Trap," I was somewhat surprised to see overt lesbian gazing going on in da club. At the same time, I wonder if the "lesbian gaze" is enabled because it is occurring in a hetero-established strip club, even if the strip club itself has been appropriated by lesbian culture in some venues (the Dinah and all those big-ass parties come immediately to mind). 

Urban Dictionary told me that "beez" is an affectionate term for "slutty bitches," while "the trap" is a crack house.

Yeah, whatever.

The same sexist vitriol loads the song, as does the same overdetermined, and therefore, through my lesbian spectacles, highly lesbo-fied language:

Bitches ain't shit, and they ain't sayin' nuthin'
A hundred muthafuckas can't tell me nuthin'
I beez in the trap, bee, beez in the trap
I beez in the trap, bee, beez in the trap

Setting aside (but still readily acknowledging the gossip that Nicki is a lesbo): taking the lesbo-gazed filled video, in addition to the muff-munching lyrics of "Stupid Hoe," I can't help but to read "trap" as another term for "cooka." Nicki "beez in the trap" and is getting herself some honey. 

For sure.