Life Imitates Art (and Vice Versa) in Nicki Minaj’s ‘The Pinkprint Movie’


Nicki Minaj continued her big promotional push behind The Pinkprint on Friday, when she released a 16-minute film paired with three of the album’s most revealing songs, “The Crying Game,” “I Lied,” and “Grand Piano.” At times, The Pinkprint Movie looked more like a subtle Range Rover ad than a music video — get that McConaughey money, Onika — while at others it played like a quiet sex scene in which neither of the actors felt comfortable removing their clothes. Overall, the film was largely tasteful and a bit bland, despite the dramatic struggle at the core of The Pinkprint Movie. Like The Pinkprint album, the trio of linked videos portrays the slow-motion implosion of (and infidelity surrounding) an on-and-off relationship.

Up until The Pinkprint, Minaj has remained mostly silent on the matters of her love life. As I wrote last week, “To appreciate The Pinkprint, we don’t need to know what did or didn’t happen with Safaree ‘SB’ Samuels, her rumored (now ex-)boyfriend and collaborator, or anyone else. The way Nicki writes about being in love, falling out of it, and trying to move forward is specific and vulnerable enough that it has to from the heart.” But then Nicki did something kind of surprising in the course of promoting the album last week: she acknowledged her longtime relationship — and its recent disintegration — in a way that suggested The Pinkprint��s heartbreak ballads weren’t fictional.

“I don’t think people realize it’s not just a relationship or breakup,” Minaj told Angie Martinez of New York station Power 105.1 on Wednesday (Dec. 17). “That was a humongous part of my life. It is something that I am dealing with publicly and it’s not easy. I’m also not gonna joke about it or try to disrespect him and try to act like he didn’t mean the world to me and still doesn’t mean the world to me. I’m just figuring it out.”

“I don’t even know how I’m gonna function without that person in my life,” she continued. “I’ve never lived my life as a famous person without him.”

Minaj would tell Hot 97’s Ebro something similar days later: “It feels like a death.” She would end up admitting to Martinez that she doesn’t really know if she’s single right now — a point echoed this weekend in an ugly Twitter rant seemingly directed at Samuels, who has been promoting his own rap career on Instagram and YouTube with newfound vigor in recent months. It’s hard not to be reminded of “Bed of Lies,” where Minaj tells her ex that everything he has in life is because of her. (All screenshots via Vibe.)

When you consider The Pinkprint Movie in light of all this, it’s hard not to think of the videos as some form of closure. The honesty that makes The Pinkprint Nicki Minaj’s best album to date is not in the past — she’s living it out loud right now, fighting in the street with her movie boyfriend, roaming the countryside, searching for answers.