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Nicki Minaj Flag OR

Nicki Minaj Flag OR

Nicki Minaj Flag

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Nicki Minaj gave fans a fin-tastic 50-minute concert in Australia last July. On the last song of the show, she said she would never leave them or be the cause of their unhappiness. Then she pulled a flag from a fan’s hand and waved it in front of the audience.

Flag

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Barbz — the name given to the devoted fans of rapper/singer/songwriter Nicki Minaj — have taken to Twitter to defend the expressive rights of several Harvard undergraduate students who were told to take down a flag depicting the rapper hanging in their residence hall window. (Source:

On Sept. 5, a Harvard undergrad writing under the Twitter handle @imjustjuice tweeted that he and his suitemates had been contacted and told to remove the flag over concern that “the community will find the flag offensive.” Presumably sent by a Harvard official, the email did not explain how the flag — depicting a bikini-clad Minaj saluting in front of an American flag — could be considered offensive. (Source: www.thefire.org)

Other Harvard students tweeted at @imjustjuice, indicating that they too were either displaying the flag or planned to display it in solidarity with him and his suitemates. (Source: www.thefire.org)

Whether the suitemates’ flag might offend others, Harvard has adopted clear promises pledging its commitment to students’ freedom of expression. Although private schools like Harvard are not bound by the Constitution, they must keep the promises they make — and freedom of expression doesn’t depend on whether someone else might find your speech offensive. (Source: www.thefire.org FIRE wrote a letter to Harvard today, calling for the university to rescind its demand that these students remove the flag and to allow them and other students to display it in the windows of their residences freely. As we write: (Source:www.thefire.org))

Harvard must abide by its express commitment to free expression by allowing @imjustjuice and other students to display the flag in their windows, even if certain community members find it offensive. (Source: www.thefire.org)

FIRE noted that on Sept. 5, a student at Harvard tweeted that he and his roommates were directed by an unidentified member of Harvard’s staff to take down a flag featuring Minaj because some would find it offensive. (Source: www.tampafp.com)

TikTok has an unofficial flag, though it doesn’t bear any of TikTok’s symbols or make any reference to the app. Instead, it features our lord and savior Nicki Minaj in front of an American flag, giving a big, toothy smile as she salutes the camera in a blue push-up bikini top. (Source: melmagazine.com)

Over the summer, the Nicki flag has dominated the platform, with videos of Barbz flying it on the Fourth of July or from their parent’s flagpoles that would otherwise bear the more traditional American version. But the most fun installment of the trend comes from the country guys who love Nicki Minaj, flying their Nicki flags from the back of their pickup trucks or hanging them in their rooms otherwise decorated by camouflage and hunting-themed decor. (Source: melmagazine.com)

The flag in question features a photo of Minaj taken for a July 2015 profile in Cosmopolitan. In the full photo, she wears not only the blue bikini top, but matching red, white and blue bottoms to boot. According to Google Trends, searches for “Nicki Minaj Flag” were essentially nonexistent until May of this year when they began to spike, peaking right on the week of July 4th. There doesn’t appear to be one official source of the flag — it can be bought for $10 from a handful of Amazon sellers, for $12.50 from an Etsy shop called “DC Homos” or for $21 from the site “The Gay Bar Shop.” (Source: melmagazine.com)

As those latter two store names might suggest, Minaj has a strong fanbase in the queer community — such that Lil Nas X didn’t identify himself as a Barb prior to coming out because he feared that alone would out him. The Nicki flag has therefore served as a queer alternative to the American flag, or even a Gen-Z alternative to the rainbow flag. At very least, the flag demonstrates you’re not only a Minaj fan, but also likely LGBTQ+ friendly. (Source: melmagazine.com)

Whatever the case, in many of the TikTok videos featuring the flag, the song “Different ‘Round Here” by Riley Green plays, focusing on the lyrics, “We stand for the flag and if you don’t like it we don’t care, ‘cause we do things a little different ‘round here.” (Source: melmagazine.com)

In two of the most popular videos, TikToker @juanfoster shows himself singing along to the lyrics — he wears a cut-off T-shirt in both, and a Carhartt baseball hat in one and a baseball hat featuring a set of deer antlers in the other. As referenced above, he uses the song to show off his bedroom, featuring a camouflage comforter and deer-related wall art. At the last moment, he reveals that the flag in question is the Nicki flag. In the second video, he sits in the passenger seat of a pickup truck, accompanied by another tough-looking country dude in a pair of Oakleys. In the end, they reveal the truck going down a rural dirt road, flying the Nicki flag high. (Source: melmagazine.com)

The joke, of course, is that they look exactly like the other patriotic country folks on TikTok who earnestly use the song to show their allegiance to the American flag. Based on their appearances, we might assume they’re going to display this patriotism themselves. By extension, we might also assume they’re conservative. And by even further extension, we might assume they have opinions that aren’t quite friendly to the queer community often associated with Minaj’s fandom. (Source: melmagazine.com)

He’s gotten some backlash for this, but he pays it no mind. No amount of negativity will “hinder his freedom” to wave the Nicki flag, and besides, she means something to him. “Nicki was a big part of my upbringing during the high school years from 2010 to 2014,” he tells me. “Her music inspired boldness and fearlessness during times I wasn’t out of the closet yet. Beyond her music, she’s an inspiration for humbleness and to never forget where you come from in life, as it makes the journey to your goals all the sweeter.” (Source: melmagazine.com)

In many ways, these country-boy Nicki flag TikToks are simply a shitpost or mild satire of the veneration some have for the American flag. But they also prove a few things: First, you can’t draw assumptions about who someone is based on their looks alone. Second, regardless of what she does, Minaj will always be one of the biggest memes on TikTok. (Source: melmagazine.com)

More than that, though, it’s a nice example of people feeling comfortable being themselves and showing pride — whether that be in their sexuality or their country. At least on TikTok, the Nicki flag serves as a symbol of both. (Source: melmagazine.com)

 

 

 

 

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