Miley Cyrus, who will host the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, discussed Nicki Minaj’s comments about the show’s nomination process in a New York Times interview published Thursday.
When MTV released the VMA nominations in July, Minaj expressed frustration at being snubbed in the Video of the Year category for “Anaconda.”
“If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, ‘Anaconda’ would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” Minaj wrote on Twitter. “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination […] If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” She later added: “Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it.”
When asked about Minaj’s statements, which drew criticism from Taylor Swift, Cyrus first suggested she had generally steered clear of the controversy (“I didn’t really get into it”) before offering a more elaborate opinion concerning the matter.
“People forget that the choices that they make and how they treat people in life affect you in a really big way. If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement,” Cyrus said. “But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it. […] If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself. Say: ‘This is the reason why I think it’s important to be nominated. There’s girls everywhere with this body type.'”
“I think there’s a way you speak to people with openness and love. You don’t have to start this pop star against pop star war,” Cyrus said. “It became Nicki Minaj and Taylor in a fight, so now the story isn’t even on what you wanted it to be about. Now you’ve just given E! News ‘Catfight! Taylor and Nicki Go at It.’
“I know you can make it seem like, ‘Oh I just don’t understand because I’m a white pop star.’ I know the statistics. I know what’s going on in the world,” Cyrus added, before addressing Minaj’s VMA snubs. “But to be honest, I don’t think MTV did that on purpose.”
In the wake of Minaj’s original comments, Swift apologized for jumping into the conversation without understanding the full context. “I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki,” Swift wrote. Minaj accepted her apology soon after, and also spoke about the body image issues she felt were important to address.
“I just think we need to have both images for girls,” Minaj said. “We can’t have only one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are.”
The VMAs air Sunday night at 9 p.m. on MTV.