The provocative photo features Minaj having her floor-length extensions (59 inches) groomed by celebrity stylist Kim Kimble.
As noted by theglowup.com, to some, it’s a striking image of two successful black women at the top of their respective games. To others, the dynamics of the image are problematic:
this is a ridiculously and deeply irresponsible image. pic.twitter.com/Oph6rGyKdn
— Myles E. Johnson (@hausmuva) June 13, 2018
When writer Myles E. Johnson tweeted his criticism of the image, he sparked online debate about colorism and stereotypes, calling the photo a “white supremacist image” — because the well-groomed and “straight-haired Minaj is being groomed by the darker-skinned and braided Kimble, wearing her work clothes.”
While some agree, others aren’t so accepting of his take:
Your analysis is what is deeply irresponsible. You are mistakenly binding an openly Black woman to associations and accountability of negative cultural representations. The image itself is honorific of Kim Kimble, of Emmy award winning, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Essence, Bey fame.
— ? (@RapAthene) June 13, 2018
You have a lighter skin black woman in upper class attire groomed by a darker skinned black woman stooped in service with braids. The thing that makes the shot compelling is that it plays on social hierarchies w/in the black community defined by white supremacy.
— Bo Young Lee (@jboyolee) June 13, 2018
Okay… What’s the problem with the visual? It’s literally one rich BLACK woman doing her job on another rich BLACK woman in an ELLE photoshoot. That’s HUGE for the both of them so Where in the visual is the problem? Help me understand
— ✨?????? ✨?? (@SHARLO_XO) June 13, 2018
Except the woman in the jacket is….black. So what’s really the problem here?
— Litgitte Bardot (@MimieZaforas) June 13, 2018
If you look at that image and that’s the first thing that comes to your mind, then the problem is you.
— The Zen Monster (@TheZenMonster) June 13, 2018
According to Minaj herself, she asked Kimble to stay in the shot and Elle magazine opted to publish it.
Nicki Minaj is a black woman who gave another black woman an opportunity to be in a photo shoot doing her hair which Kim Kimble is VERY well known for doing. She happens to be a dark skin black woman… how TF is that photo offensive? At this point y’all just mad at anything ?
— jasmine ♡ (@MsJasG) June 13, 2018