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Nicki Minaj causes a stir with Malcolm X and racial slur on cover art

14 February 2014, 10:57

New York - Nicki Minaj has apologised for using a famous photo of Malcolm X with a rifle in his hands and juxtaposing it with a racial slur for her new song.

Minaj posted the photo on Wednesday on her website and Instagram page. It's for her new song Lookin Ass Nigga.

After she was criticised for what many saw as disrespect to a revered icon, she offered an apology on Thursday on Instagram to the estate of Malcolm X, who was assassinated 49 years ago this month at age 39.

She also said the song's artwork "is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy".

"I apologise to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. (...) I have nothing but respect (and) adoration for u," she wrote.

Still, she sounded exasperated that people were even upset.

"Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin Ass Nigga?" the 31-year-old asked in her post. "I am in the video shooting (the song) and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!!"

Lookin is a male-bashing song. The photo of Malcolm X holding the rifle was taken when he was trying to protect his family from death threats after his home had been firebombed.

A Change.org petition was issued on Thursday, encouraging the rapper to change the cover artwork.

Minaj's personal representative declined to comment, and a rep for her record labels, Republic and Cash Money Records, didn't return e-mails seeking comment. A lawyer for Malcolm X's children also didn't immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press.

The picture was deleted from Minaj's Instagram account but was still on her website on Thursday.

Watch the video for Lookin Ass Nigga here: (Warning: Explicit language)

- AP


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