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Barbz Stay In School: An Ode to Nicki Minaj’s Cousin’s Friend

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

“My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it and became impotent.” 

Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend in Trinidad is going through it. Imagine having your fiancée call off the wedding just because you can’t get it up. It’s a modern-day tragedy. But it is not because of the vaccine, like Nicki Minaj has claimed in a now viral Tweet explaining why she is unvaccinated. Neither swollen testicles nor impotence are side-effects of the vaccine. Thankfully Trinidad, unlike the United States, has free healthcare, so he should go get that taken care of. 

Vaccine misinformation is a virus of its own. It casts doubt on the efficacy of vaccines and upholds the narrative that scientific institutions like the FDA and CDC are not to be trusted. The rash breed of anti-vaxxers in America have just found their spokesperson in the queen of rap herself. Nicki Minaj said she would wait until she did her own research to get the vaccine, echoing a right-wing talking point. Not only is she fueling the misinformation campaign against vaccines, she is actively promoting harmful behavior to her beloved army of fans, the Barbz.

Her tweet went so viral that both the U.S. government and that of Trinidad were forced to make a public response. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House doctors offered to chat with Nicki Minaj about any questions she had regarding the vaccine. The Health Minister of Trinidad Terrence Deyalsingh had to shut down the false claim that the vaccine makes your testicals swollen. At this point you’ve got to almost pity her cousin’s friend. The governments of not one but two countries are literally all up in his business. 

Aside from her music, Nicki Minaj is known for her off-hand quips and funny remarks, which have cemented themselves as iconic Internet memes. You’ve probably seen the American flag adorned with her face, or heard the “I hate lazy people” speech. It’s all fun and games until she starts to entertain the likes of Tucker Carlson. One of the reasons her behavior is so dangerous to the general public health is that it gives credence to misinformation. A rapper with over 158 million followers on Instagram has far more of an impact than someone’s Uncle Jim on Facebook. 

I believe in separating the art from the artist in most cases. I will continue to listen to “Chun-Li,” and I’ll enjoy it. But I do think we need to start seriously reflecting on who we make famous on the Internet. Young people are Nicki Minaj’s primary audience, and also the percent of the population with the lowest vaccination rates. Like it or not, people are directly influenced by the media they consume. It’s important that we hold those with a platform accountable,the goal of which is for them to learn and correct their mistakes. Pushback from her tweet has already coerced Nicki Minaj into saying she will probably get the vaccine before going on tour.  

 It’s becoming almost as embarrassing to be a Nicki Minaj fan as it is to support Lana Del Rey. Do us all a favor, Nicki, and please get vaccinated.   

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Sophie Peck

Kenyon '25

Sophie is a first year from Atlanta and interested in pursuing English and Political Science. Her interests include reading, watching reality tv, and Doc Martens.
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