Nicki Minaj’s body is (regrettably) the media’s sole focus whenever she’s in the spotlight, but an ABC family sitcom based on her family’s immigration from Trinidad in the early 1990s is about to change all of that. Young Nicki, written by Kate Angelo and produced by Minaj herself, will focus on Minaj’s life growing up in Queens, New York, as well as her personal and musical evolution.

“I couldn’t be more proud and excited to team up with an amazing group of people to give the world something really special,” Minaj said in a statement. 

Minaj performs during summer 2015 "The Pinkpint Tour" at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The rapper/songwriter has performed three international tours in the past three years.

Minaj performs during summer 2015 “The Pinkpint Tour” at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The rapper/songwriter has performed three international tours in the past three years.

The debut of Young Nicki couldn’t come at a better time. Though primarily recognized for her unmistakable curves, Minaj is so much more than her body. Her debut studio album, Pink Friday (2010), reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Minaj is the first female solo artist to have seven singles simultaneously charting on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Similarly, she is the first female artist to be included on MTV’s Annual Hottest MC List, and New York Times editor Brent Staples considers her “the most influential female rapper of all time.”

When most people think “Nicki Minaj”, they don’t think about this. They don’t think about her accomplishments, her influence, or even her distinctive rapping style, with its fast flow and use of alter-egos and accents.

Aside from being a successful rapper, Minaj is a businesswoman with holdings in perfume and alcohol, but people see her as one thing only: an aggressive, sexy female rapper. 

They picture her colorful costumes and wigs. They remember her Twitter fight with Taylor Swift. They imagine her scantily clad body bouncing to her hit “Anaconda”, which was described as “hypersexualized” (a comment the internet rightly described as “sexist bulls**t”).

In general, Nicki Minaj harkens thoughts of “crazy women”, sexy women, and ass. A lot of ass. (Apparently, the year of ass, according to Billboard.)

Her image might push people out of their comfort zones, but must we always focus on her body?

Queen Latifah talks to Nicki Minaj, a fellow female rapper, on her show about being a woman and a rapper.

Minaj repeatedly identifies herself as an open feminist, championing women’s rights and female solidarity. As for the comments on her “hypersexualized” image, Minaj retorted, “There are sexual things that I do that aren’t for a man. I feel empowered sometimes by being sexy and being comfortable to be sexy on camera — a lot of women struggle with that.” These are hopefully sentiments that will emerge on her show.

And on the double-standard faced by women in the rap scene? Minaj has a quote for that, too: “If you speak up for yourself, you’re a bitch. If you party too much, you’re a whore. Men don’t get called on those things.”

As of late, Minaj has somewhat abandoned the style of her older productions; The Pinkprint, her latest studio album, features surprisingly tender songs about her life growing up, most notably the confessional ballad “All Things Go,” which addresses a marriage proposal, the murder of her cousin, and difficulties she’s had with relatives. She struggles to remind the public that she is, in fact, more than her body and “crazy” antics.

ABC’s Young Nicki will not only accomplish this, but also will humanize Minaj. Similarly, the show is an opportunity for progress in racial diversity in television (who will play the young immigrant, Ornika Maraj?) With this new show, ABC Family, which has a notably young target market, has the power to help girls aspire to Minaj’s success and signature confidence.

Kaity Gee is a high school senior at Harker. Only seventeen, she has already been making a splash in the creative writing world, winning various accolades for her poetry and prose works. Kaity has also been the recipient of various journalism awards and is currently Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Harker’s long-form magazine, Wingspan. Through her writing, Kaity seeks to raise awareness as a writing activist, particularly for women’s rights and mental illness awareness. In her spare time, Kaity enjoys making films and dancing classical and contemporary ballet.