Have you seen Nicki Minaj’s ridiculous “Only” lyric video yet?
Apparently, there was some disagreement on the Internet over whether or not this video invokes Nazi imagery. If you’re like me and have seen an Indiana Jones movie, I’m sure you’ll agree immediately that it does. Predictably, folks have been upset about this video. Probably because it invokes the signifiers of a group that murdered millions of people and does so for no conceivable didactic reason.
And, if you’re unsure whether this was intended as a homage to Nazism or just “general fascism,” as some have suggested, Jeffrey Osborne, the video’s director, said this:
First, I’m not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism.
As far as an explanation, I think its actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?
So yeah, he’s a dumbass, apparently. This buffoon ain’t apologizing because he believes his work is being misinterpreted. You see, his grand intention was to remind us all of the atrocities we forgot about! Oops! How silly of us all to think he was glamorizing this junk!
To get a little heady for a moment, if a work is being misinterpreted, that’s the fault of its author, not the readers. Meaning gets made when we watch the video. It doesn’t really matter what the director had in his head when he shot it. If most viewers (or at least the vocal ones) aren’t reading a criticism of capitalism and totalitarianism in Drake rapping about Nicki Minaj’s butt over images of stormtroopers wearing Young Money armbands, then maybe the criticism just isn’t there. The work failed, not us. Apologize for your bad art, Jeffrey Osborne.