Nicki Minaj causes stir with Rosa Parks reference on new song 'Yikes'
Minaj references the late civil rights icon, who would have celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, in snippet of new single
Nicki Minaj is raising a few eyebrows — or at least whatever the online equivalent of eyebrows would be — with a lyric about Rosa Parks on her new single "Yikes," which she previewed in a clip on Instagram and Twitter on Monday.
"All you b---es Rosa Parks, uh oh, get your ass up," Nicki raps, referencing the late civil rights icon. Parks, who died in her Detroit home in 2005, would have been 107 years old on Tuesday.
"Rosa Parks" was trending on Twitter after the snippet debuted online. By Tuesday the clip had garnered 2.5 million views on Instagram, and while many fans were ecstatic — sharing memes of Nicki Minaj photoshopped into pictures of Rosa Parks riding a bus — some took issue with the reference to Parks.
Journalist Ernest Owens wrote on Twitter, "Today is February 4th. Rosa Parks would have been 107 years old if she was still living to see her birthday today. Y'all go remind Nicki Minaj that. Quick history lesson: She never got up, she stayed seated. The lyric makes no sense."
Twitter user @writtenbytruth commented, "Nicki Minaj need to leave Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman alone. They both have fought the good fight, let them ladies Rest In Peace."
Minaj, 37, recently returned to online activity after taking a several month hiatus. That followed an announcement of her retirement from music in September, which she later walked back.
Her last Instagram post before her two-and-a-half month break was an image of Tubman and a quote that said, "I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."
There's no word yet on an official release for "Yikes."
This isn't the first time a reference to Parks in a hip-hop song has stirred up mixed emotions.
In 1999, Parks sued Atlanta rap duo OutKast over its song "Rosa Parks," claiming the song misappropriated her name. The lawsuit was dismissed but an appeal was filed, and the case was eventually settled out of court.