Released on November 7, the new lyric video for Nicki Minaj’s latest single, “Only,” is causing a stir amongst fans and media outlets. The video, which features cartoon depictions of Minaj, Drake, Chris Brown and Lil’ Wayne (also featured in the song), evokes multiple layers of Nazi propaganda imagery.
Abraham H. Foxman, Anti Defamation League national director and a Holocaust survivor, issued a statement today saying, “Nicki Minaj’s new video disturbingly evokes Third Reich propaganda and constitutes a new low for pop culture’s exploitation of Nazi symbolism.”
While a correlation between song lyrics and their music videos is not always a mandatory requisite in the music industry, Minaj’s choice of imagery seems largely irrelevant to her lyrics, which are about how the singer has yet to have sex with any of the artists featured in the new single.
The lyric video may be a cartoon, but the Nazi references are no less haunting. In many scenes, Minaj is seated on a throne at the head of large room with rows of soldiers at her feet. The video is also in black and white, adding to its WWII propaganda feel, the exception of the large red flags and banners prominent throughout the video. The flags have white circles with the letters “YM,” which stands for Young Money—Minaj’s production studio name—printed inside the circle, contributing to swastika imagery. The rows of cartoon soldiers are even sporting red bands with the YM logo, much like the SS officers of the Third Reich.
Other wartime images are also recurring throughout the video, including explosive rockets, tanks and even gasmasks.
Minaj’s cartoon likeness is depicted in the singer’s usual skin-tight garb, but her musical counterparts are illustrated in more significant dress. Cartoon Chris Brown is a decorated military general and Lil’ Wayne wears a tailored suit. But most interesting is Tribe Member Drake’s character as a priest, complete with a tab collar and miter and set against a church backdrop.
“The irony should be lost on no one that this video debuted on the 76th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” pogrom that signaled the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust,” said Foxman in today’s press release.