The rapper caused controversy by posting the photo with new track 'Lookin Ass Nigga'
The photo showed the human rights activist looking out of a window, holding a gun, whilst the accompanying video for the track finds Minaj shooting at men. Its use prompted two petitions to be started online, calling for the star to stop using the image.
The first petition told the rapper: “You come from a rich legacy. Without the work and life of Malcolm X, you would not be able to do what you do. Unfortunately you have chosen to disrespect and dishonor the legacy that he left us … We demand that you remove the picture.” The second, meanwhile, tackled Minaj’s glamourisation of guns, writing: “Malcolm X carried a gun as he feared for the safety of his family and himself, and was aware he would some day be killed by political opponents. The image of Malcolm X looking out the window highlighted that fear. Nicki Minaj’s use of guns in her new music video speaks to the gun culture in our society today where gun violence is an acceptable norm.”
Minaj responded to the comments with a post on her Instagram page, writing alongside a still from the video: “What seems to be the issue now? Do you have a problem with me referring to the people Malcolm X was ready to pull his gun out on as Lookin Ass Niggaz? Well, I apologize. That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single. I am in the video shooting at Lookin Ass Niggaz and there happened to be an iconic photo of Malcolm X ready to do the same thing for what he believed in!!!! It is in no way to undermine his efforts and legacy. I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. The word “nigga” causes so much debate in our community while the “nigga” behavior gets praised and worship. Let’s not. Apologies again to his family. I have nothing but respect an adoration for u. The photo was removed hours ago. Thank you.”
Last year, Minaj told New York radio station Power 105 that her next album would be released in 2014. “I’ve already started… 2014 definitely!,” she told the channel. “It’s very different from anything I’ve done, which I’m surprised about. I’m not feeling like I did this. I feel like this is next level.”