Nicki Minaj in her music video for Bed | Photo: YouTube/Nicki Minaj
Jonathan Van Ness, Queer Eye’s grooming expert, is in hot water with Nicki Minaj fans — and at the center of a debate on intersectionality.
The rapper recently appeared on the cover of Harper’s BAZAAR Russia.
Harpers Bazaar Russia
— Chun-Li (@NICKIMINAJ) July 13, 2018
Van Ness, however, wasn’t feeling it and made his opinion known on Twitter. He wrote that because of Russia’s anti-LGBTI discrimination policies and practices, the opportunity should have been a ‘hard pass’.
‘Russia has anti LGBTQIA propaganda laws, Chechnya supported by Russia tortures it’s LGBTQIA citizens, & w your LGBTQ+ fans you can’t even speak to that in this interview bc it’s illegal in Russia, what’s good
@NICKIMINAJ , this should’ve been a hard pass,’ he wrote.
Recently, Russia arrested human rights activist Peter Tatchell for protesting the country’s failure to protect LGBTQ people.
They also told the UN gay people don’t exist in Chechnya.
What about intersectionality?
Many people shot back at Van Ness and called him out for his lack of intersectional support for a black woman.
As user @kenjamin___ wrote: ‘are black women with power supposed to constantly be outspoken and doing labor for queer people when a majority of queer people won’t do the same for black people? girl gotta make money and russian ppl are different from russia’
are people this afraid of black women with power? are black women with power supposed to constantly be outspoken and doing labor for queer people when a majority of queer people won’t do the same for black people? girl gotta make money and russian ppl are different from russia
— kennifer (@kenjamin___) July 13, 2018
They also pointed out that racism exists in Russia and therefore Minaj being on the cover of a Russian magazine is a victory in and of itself.
So sure, let’s go ahead and encourage racism in Russia even more by isolating it instead of allowing one of the most talented, interesting and fierce women of our time break the stereotypes, speak to the population and make Russia a better place.
— bendum and twistum (@miss_amuge) July 13, 2018
LGBTQ people within Russia also pointed out the magazine is intended for people, not the government, and they’re fans too.
As a russian trans person I always appreciate it when people from other countries acknowledge our struggle, but it shouldn’t be the first thought when someone interacts with us/our media! We are not our government and we shouldn’t be avoided like a plague
— kermitkin (@q_sil7) July 13, 2018
no disrespect but wouldn’t LGBT+ russian fans be glad they had the chance to see her on a cover & people who read the magazines/media don’t represent the government either so i’m sure theyd love to see an ally on a cover in opposition w the current politcal state of their country
— sterling🦎 (@umsterling) July 13, 2018
Others brought up the idea of appearing on US magazine covers, given recent policies like separating immigrant families at the border.
this is like saying no one should be on an american magazine cover unless they support throwing kids in cages at the mexican border. be careful before ppl start projecting this reasoning onto your own media appearances #ily #js
— Chels Money (@chelssmoney) July 13, 2018
‘Not here for anybody doin it’
Van Ness responded to some of the critiques, such as other stars appearing the cover of the same magazine.
Im not here for anybody doin it bae & Kate Moss & Naomi are British 😂😂 but equally uncool https://t.co/XcHPyCd9eb
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) July 13, 2018
Then he tweeted he didn’t mean to ‘start a Twitter war’ and he’s just ‘disappointed in some people from where I’m sitting in life & start noticing things’.
Anyway really happy today, didn’t mean to start a Twitter war, I’m just disappointed in some people from where I’m sitting in life & start noticing things. Biggest hug to eryone
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) July 13, 2018
Later, however, he re-tweeted someone’s point about US magazines.
Minaj has not responded to Van Ness’ comments.