The Psychology of Exploitation: Black Women In Entertainment

By Ebony S. Muhammad

On March 19th, I received an email from Houston Style Magazine with the following headline, “Nicki Minaj Pulls Out A Sextoy On Stage” (Friday night). Although there wasn't an article describing what took place, the photo of Nicki Minaj and the sextoy was more than enough. This immediately stirred up thoughts regarding the recent controversy with singer Rihanna and the tweet messages she sent regarding the Saviours' Day keynote address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and his analysis of the behavior and activity near to that of a swine as it related to her performance during the 2011 Grammy Awards:

“I saw my beautiful sister the other night at the Grammy awards. Rihanna. My poor sister, she's dressed almost like-with a pair of draws. And she got her legs wide open and just grinding away.

“‘Oh! Look at Rihanna! Go on girl!'

“See if that didn't revolt you, you're beginning to be a swine. When you can sit down and listen to somebody and every 3rd word is you ‘m-f' this. And they start talking about the act that is done in private and they bring it out in the public and make (it) so low down and filthy. And you're sitting there laughing at a filthy damn joke and then the next day you go to church and sing in the choir, you're a swine.. Swine love filth. How about you?”

It is quite evident that Minister Farrakhan's words ring loud and clear when other performers, including but not limited to Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, build their entire following based on provocative images/lyrics and display such behavior before the entire world. This image depicts exploitation on levels never seen before, because now the act is imposed and approved by the one being exploited. Exploitation or to exploit is defined as to make unethical use of for one's own profit, according to Webster.

In early 1994 esteemed MC Queen Latifah released her single “U.N.I.T.Y.” to speak out against the disrespect of women in society, both from without and within. Other women in the industry such as Lauryn Hill, fought against sexual exploitation as female entertainers among a male dominated industry. In many aspects they accomplished their goal. However, the turn of the decade would bring about a new era of female rappers and singers that would ultimately undo the progress of women in entertainment.



  1. Could it be that these women just don't care about what people think about their sexuality? I mean this isn't gospel music we are talking about here. Why is it OK for men to talk about their business with multiple women and have half naked women in their videos but if a woman does it shes a "swine"? This has been going on since the 80s so why anyone is still shocked at this stuff is beyond me. I like both of these women tho I'm no fan of their music. As a woman, it just looks to me like they are expressing themselves and if Nicki wasn't a loud, in-your-face, sexual juggernaut, her career wouldn't be what it is today.

  2. The person who made this first comment is making absolutely no sense...your last statement is EXACTLY the point that is being made in this article....you need to re-read this


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