Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, more commonly referred to as Nicki Minaj, is a well-known American rapper, singer and songwriter.
Since Nicki’s rise to fame, much about her life has been discussed publicly. For instance, her ethnicity and her race.
In this article we address the question of whether or not Nicki Minaj is black.
Where Was Nicki Minaj Born And Raised?
Nicki Minaj was born on December 8th, 1982. She was born in a district knows as Saint James in the city of Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.
As a young child, Nicki lived in the Caribbean nation. Her mother had moved to the United Sates to pursue a college education and was studying at Monroe College in New York City.
At the time, Nicki’s father had been facing drug addiction and had burned down their house back in Trinidad in fit of rage.
So, early on in her life, Nicki found herself living with her older brother Jelani and her cousins in their grandmother’s house. This was before Nicki’s two younger siblings were born.
Eventually, after managing to buy a house in Queens, New York, Nicki’s mother moved five-year-old Nicki and her brother to the U.S to live with her and their father.
So, from then onwards, Nicki lived in the neighbourhood of South Jamaica in Queens. Nicki would go on to attend a visual and performing arts high school in Manhattan.
After high school, Nicki tried to pursue a career in acting. She performed in an Off-Broadway play at the age of 19. But otherwise, she struggled to pursue acting.
Nicki found herself working a number of service jobs in New York, getting fired from many them before her music career took off.
Eventually though, Nicki would go on to sign to a New York music group. This is what kick-started Nicki Minaj’s career and sent her on the trajectory to eventually become the “Queen of Rap”, as the world now refers to her as.
Although Nicki ended up becoming very influential and world-famous, she is still connected to her roots and where she was born and raised.
Minaj has been known to publicly proclaim her identity as a New Yorker and a Trinidadian on many occasions.
What Race Are Nicki Minaj’s Parents?
Nicki Minaj was born to two Trinidadian parents. But to understand their race, we have to look at the way race is classified in Trinidad.
In Trinidad and Tobago, there is a lot of racial diversity.
The population in Trinidad and Tobago is made up of Black people, Asian people (mainly Chinese people and East Indian people), white people and also mixed-race people.
Of these racial groups, Black people and East Indian people are the most predominant in Trinidad and Tobago.
The black population in the nation is estimated to be around 40%. The East Indian population is estimated to be roughly the same.
There is a lot to the history of Trinidad and Tobago that contributes to this diversity.
A lot of the black population in the country are descendants of enslaved African people. A lot of the East Indian people are descendants of people that were brought on the Caribbean island as contract laborers.
Because there is so much racial diversity and a lot of mixed-race people in the country, simply knowing someone is Trinidadian does not fully inform you of their race.
You would have to know about a person’s ancestry in order to know their racial identity in the country.
Nicki’s father, Robert Maraj, was born and raised in the Caribbean country. He worked as a financial executive and a gospel singer.
Nicki’s father was born to an Afro-Trinidadian mother and an Indo-Trinidadian father.
In Trinidad, this specific mix of Afro-Trinidadian and Indo-Trinidadian ethnicity is referred to as Dougla.
Afro-Trinidadian people are people of West African and Sub-Saharan descent. Because of this, afro-Trinidadians are black.
Indo-Trinidadians, on the other hand, are people of Indian descent. This makes them Asian.
Because he is a mix of Afro-Trinidadian and Indo-Trinidadian ethnicity, Nicki Minaj’s father is considered mixed race, being part Black and part Asian.
Nicki Minaj’s mother was also born and raised in Trinidad. Like Nicki’s father, she was also a gospel singer.
Nicki’s mother has Afro-Trinidadian Ancestry. This means that racially speaking, she is black.
Why Is Nicki Minaj Considered Black? Her Skin Isn’t Black?
Nicki’s father is half Black and half Asian. Her mother is black. This means that race-wise, Nicki Minaj is two-thirds black and a third Asian with Indian ancestry.
Some may question why, being mixed-race Nicki is considered black by the public. This is because in different parts of the world, racial classification varies.
In Trinidad, there are different classifications for specific ethnicities and mixes of ethnicities. This is why Nicki’s father would be considered Douga in Trinidad and not just Black or Asian.
In Trinidad and some other parts of the world, there is so much diversity and every ethnicity or mix of ethnicities is acknowledged for its diversity.
In that context, the uniqueness of each group is acknowledged, and it warrants each group being given its own racial category.
And the uniqueness of mixes between groups is also acknowledged and given a specific racial category separate of each of the groups that form the mix.
In the United States, where Nicki mostly grew up, things are a little different. In America, you are black as long as you have African ethnicity, even if it is not your entire ethnicity.
A big part of this is because in America, people of African descent are a minority. And as a minority, there is an unfortunately long history of them experiencing oppression.
Regardless of the degree of their African ethnicity, a lot of people of this descent are acknowledged as being black in some way and are oppressed for it.
So, in the American context, all people with some level of African ancestry are black and they stand in solidarity with other black people as one racial group.
To some, Nicki Minaj may not appear black because she is mixed race. However, she is partly of African descent. So, in America, she is very much recognized as being black.
Nicki has often spoken out in public about her experience being a black woman in rap and in America.
She has often proclaimed her pride in being black and championed the fight for social justice in America especially for black people.
Nicki is considered an inspiration to a lot of black people around the world and especially to African American women.
Nicki Minaj is seen by the global black community as a trailblazer when it comes to black female rap music. Hence her being referred to as the queen of rap.
It cannot be denied that in the black community, she is very much considered a key figure.
Conclusion, Is Nicki Minaj Black? Chinese? Indian Asian? Or Mixed Race?
Racial classification around the world varies. You may not get the same answer always about anybody’s race, especially when they are mixed.
But ultimately, Nicki’s ancestry speaks for itself. In America at least, Nicki Minaj is black.
And she is also undoubtedly, one of the most influential black entertainers in music history.