Nicki Minaj delivered a powerful performance at a concert to promote
race relations — all without singing a single note.
Nicki Minaj delivered a powerful performance at a concert to promote race relations — all without singing a single note.
The rapper's recital of the late Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” was among the highlights of A+E Networks’ “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America.”
The concert was taped in Los Angeles Wednesday for a two-hour special that will air Friday across A&E Networks and iHeartRadio radio and TV stations.
Minaj gave a stirring reading of the beloved 1978 poem about persevering in the face of oppression and discrimination.
And as one of music’s most unapologetically provocative artists, the star connected with one stanza in particular.
“Does my sexiness upset you? / Does it come as a surprise / That I dance like I’ve got diamonds / At the meeting of my thighs?”
the rapper recited, smiling widely as the audience cheered.
Many fans noted online that “Still I Rise” was a perfect match for the “Super Bass” rapper.
“It’s almost like this poem was made for her! You can tell it hits home,” one fan commented on the video.
Joining Minaj for the all-star concert were Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Pink, Sia, Sting and Smokey Robinson, all of whom delivered performances focused on highlighting race relations in America.
The event also paid tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks with an introductory speech from Morgan Freeman.
“Tonight, as we mourn the loss of life in Paris, let us rededicate ourselves to erasing the hate and to creating an America where we can all move on up together toward justice, community, love, brotherhood, sisterhood and freedom,” the actor said.
Springsteen and Legend launched the concert with a rendition of “American Skin (41 Shots),” a song Springsteen wrote about the 1999 police shooting death of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo.
Legend racked up the most collaborations of the night on stage. After kicking off the concert with Springsteen, he was later united with Pink for “Someday We’ll All Be Free” and closed out the event with Big Sean for “One Man Can Change the World.”
ill Scott delivered the night's most captivating performance, crooning "Strange Fruit," the protest song popularized by Billie Holiday, in front of giant screens displaying imagery of lynching.
Between performances, videos about racial inequality and violence in Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; and Ferguson, Missouri, were broadcast to the audience.
Proceeds from the sold-out event will go to the Fund for Progress on Race in America through the United Way.