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Nicki Minaj

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Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago on December 8, 1982, to Carol and Robert Maraj.[6][7][8] She is of mixed Indian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry, and has three siblings.[9][10][11] Minaj's mother held numerous jobs, including jobs as accounting clerk, foreign exchange teller and gospel singer.

Her father worked for American Express, suffered from alcohol and drug addictions, and once attempted to kill her mother by setting their house on fire.[12][13] Until she was five years old, Minaj lived with her grandmother in Saint James, and was occasionally visited by her mother. She and her mother later moved to the Queens borough of New York City.[14] Minaj stated that her upbringing lacked discipline and caused her to "seek out and practice self-discipline".[15]
Minaj has been noted by the media for her curvaceous figure.[112][113][114] In an interview with VIBE, Minaj discussed her sexual image, stating, "When I grew up I saw females doing certain things, and I thought I had to do that exactly. The female rappers of my day spoke about sex a lot... and I thought that to have the success they got, I would have to represent the same thing. When in fact I didn't have to represent the same thing," later adding, "I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You've got to have something else to go with that."[115][116] Minaj has made "signing boobs" part of her movement to empower women.[117] In an interview with The Guardian, Minaj says she is competing with both male and female rappers. "That's why I say stuff like, 'Dick in your face', because I don't even wanna refer to female genitalia any more. ... I just feel I have bigger balls than the boys", Minaj said, referencing the song "Come on a Cone" from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. In her song "Moment 4 Life", she refers to herself as a king instead of a "queen".[118]

Minaj has been described as the "black Lady Gaga" due to her use of outlandish costumes and wigs, though Minaj has rejected such comparisons.[119] She cites Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace and Christian Louboutin as her favorite designers.[120] The Huffington Post described Minaj's fashion as "risk-taking", "far-out", with "bold sartorial choices",[121] with Yahoo! Commenting that her costume was "colorful" and "crazy", and that "the fashion and music world would certainly be very quiet without Ms Minaj".[122] Minaj has been invited to attend various events for fashion designers. Donatella Versace invited Minaj to perform for the launch of the collaboration of Versace for H&M alongside Prince. She also performed "Super Bass" at a Victoria Secret fashion show in November 2011.[123] Minaj was personally invited to be seated with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour during New York Fashion Week to see designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera.[124]

With over 17,000 tweets and 16 million followers, Billboard ranked Minaj the sixth most active user of microblogging website Twitter.[125] In March 2011, Billboard named Minaj the fourth most active musician on social media, through their Social 50 chart.[126] The chart tracks Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram usage. On Twitter, she is the most followed rapper in the world.[127] On Twitter and in public appearances and interviews, Minaj refers to her fans collectively as "Barbs" and her male heterosexual and LGBT following as "Boys" and "Ken Barbs" respectively,[128] alluding to her "Harajuku Barbie persona. Minaj deleted her Twitter account for eight days in April 2012, following a dispute between her and her fans who wanted to leak snippets of her then unreleased album.[129] At the time, she had 11 million followers and lost over a million followers as a result of the ordeal.[130]

In 2012, amateur cartoonist David Monger authored a popular web series based on Nicki Minaj called The Nekci Menij Show. Featuring pop icons from Madonna to Marina and the Diamonds, the characters are illustrated in an intentionally crude manner, accompanied by SMS language, so as to mirror the Internet meme Dolan Duck.[131][132] Since September 2012, the show has garnered more than 2,500,000 views on YouTube. Primarily crafted using Microsoft Paint, the show is intended as a satire of celebrity syndrome and stan culture.[131][132] Minaj is the first, and only, female rapper to reach over one billion video views on YouTube.[133]

For the 2013 Met Gala, designer Tommy Hilfiger gifted Minaj a Rolex watch valued at $32,000.[134]

In 2013 Minaj's style underwent a transformation into a more "natural" look, including less colorful makeup and wigs, as she described in order to be taken more seriously, which made its debut during the later episodes of American Idol.[135][136]
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