Nicki Minaj was the Big in Music honoree at VH1 Big in 2015 With Entertainment Weekly, which aired Monday night and celebrated the biggest entertainers and pop-culture moments from the year.
A tour de force in a genre that’s predominantly male, Minaj used her acceptance speech to deliver an impassioned message of female empowerment.
“I’ve never met a woman that I couldn’t relate to, ever, and I hope that if I inspire a woman to do anything it’s just to never take no for an answer,” she said, speaking to what she hopes other women can take away from her experiences. “No matter what field you’re in, go after your biggest dream. Do not settle. Do not allow people to tell you that you can’t do anything you put your mind to.”
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Queen Latifah presented Minaj, one of EW’s Entertainers of the Year, with the honor and spoke to her many recent hits (“The Night Is Still Young,” “Feeling Myself,” and “Truffle Butter”) as well as the success of her Pinkprint Tour. “Opinionated, outspoken, oh so d— original, Nicki, you not only broke the mold,” Latifah said. “You crushed it, you set it on fire, you threw it right back in the face of any of those fools who doubted you.”
The “Anaconda” artist was grateful, and explained why she wanted Latifah, who apparently flew out just for the event, to present her with the honor. “[Queen Latifah] knows what it takes to be a woman in a male-dominated field and to kick a– and to build an empire and to do it gracefully and just be multi faceted,” Minaj said. “That’s what I want all women to do.”
Hosted by T.I. and held at the Pacific Design Center on Nov. 15, the event also honored Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansair, Taraji P. Henson, and more, with Aubrey Plaza, Amber Rose, Ice Cube, and others among its attendees. For more, check out our Entertainers of the Year issue, available for purchase here.