Special to the AmNews

The successful hip-hop star Nicki Minaj made history by becoming the first female rapper to earn a life-sized wax figure in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Las Vegas. The rapper seemed pleased with the unveiling of her statue, commenting on Instagram, “They had the dancers ready,” referring to two Black female dancers posing with one of their legs propped up to depict a scene from Minaj’s 2014 music video for “Anaconda.”

There has been a bit of controversy surrounding “Anaconda” after the song’s video was snubbed for an MTV Video Music Award. Minaj took to Twitter to express her frustration with cultural appropriation and racism within award shows. She tweeted earlier this month, “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year,” and continued, “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture, they get that nomination.”

Pop star Taylor Swift took Minaj’s comments personally, sparking a dialogue with Minaj not about the fairness of the music industry, but about their personal relationship and how nice Swift had been to Minaj. Swift later admitted, after a hailstorm of criticism for her self-absorption, that she had “missed the point.”

“Anaconda” samples Sir Mix-a-Lot’s iconic ode to Black women’s backsides, “Baby Got Back.” In the video, Minaj and a number of dancers twerk and crawl on the floor in choreographed dances, wearing thongs and bathing suits that leave very little to the imagination.

The sculptors for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum decided to model Minaj’s statue after her appearance in “Anaconda,” depicting her kneeling on all fours with her backside raised. Although Minaj took little issue with the statue, the outspoken, younger female rapper Azealia Banks felt the figure was sexist and racist, tweeting, “Wow, they finally give Nicki Minaj a wax figure and it’s a statue of her bent over on all fours … White people yo.”

Banks may not have been aware that it was the one-year anniversary of “Anaconda” and the figure was assumed to be a celebration of the occasion, but her concerns can be considered valid. Banks continued to tweet, “As much as that woman has accomplished, they had to put her on all fours … Why not standing up with a mic in her hand?” 

The reality that the first female rapper to receive a Madam Tussauds Wax Sculpture was portrayed on her hands and knees does show how much the mainstream community understands about Minaj’s artistry and contribution to hip-hop. Minaj was unaware of the statue, only finding out on social media. She posted, “Had no idea they were really doing this. I would’ve went to Vegas for this. #HappyBirthdayAnaconda Madam Tussauds Wax Figure-whoever did this.” Minaj shared a heart-shaped emoticon to extend her thanks for the commemoration.