Let's Be Honest About Why We Never Saw It For Nicki Minaj & Meek Mill

It’s only been a few hours since Nicki Minaj confirmed that she is single. The end of her relationship with Meek Mill doesn’t feel as tragic to many people as Brangelina’s divorce, or even Beyoncé’s ambiguous threats in Lemonade to leave Jay Z if he “[tries] that shit again.” The general mood seems to be “we saw this coming,” “finally,” or “good for you!” Few were heavily invested in the love story that Nicki and Meek publicly narrated for us on social media, awards show stages, and interviews.

I’m no exception. I was really suspicious about Nicki’s sudden interest in PDA with Meek Mill when her longtime relationship with Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood rookie, Safaree, was so elusive. At best, I believed Meek was a convenient rebound for Nicki. She was cozied up with the Philly rapper almost immediately after her public split from Safaree. At worst, Nicki was helping Meek Mill tap into a new audience. None of it felt genuine to me.

But there is another group of Barbz who didn’t support Nicki and Meek's union of nearly two years for an entirely different reason. They think Nicki Minaj could have “done better” in selecting an eligible boyfriend. Some think that because Meek is not as successful or rich as Nicki, he wasn’t good enough for her. In the entertainment world, they saw Nicki dating beneath her station. It’s worth noting that this would be a non-factor if the gender roles were flipped. No one batted an eye when Chris Brown moved on from a successful singer to ruin the life of date a styling assistant. Cassie has kept her career "low-key" with Diddy for years.
Race-based and class assumptions about Meek Mill are also at play. Nicki Minaj spent a good chunk of her career branding herself as a pop icon in the same league as Katy Perry or Beyoncé. As such, people expected her to date another highly successful figure. Drake was a top pick after their playful flirtation on songs like “Only” and in the music video for “Anaconda.” I think that underneath the preference for a guy like Drake is stigma about the kind of “street edge” that Meek Mill embodies. His legal drama and reputation present themselves as red flags for some among Nicki’s white mainstream fan base.

For the record, I don’t fundamentally disagree that someone who has superior resources and still can’t avoid jail might not be marriage material. But that’s a personal preference. I don’t think those guys are perpetually ineligible bachelors or that none of them are good enough for Nicki. I would also never date Drake.

Other than the fact that they broke up, there is no evidence that Meek Mill didn’t treat Nicki Minaj well, make her happy, or love her. It’s really easy to become invested in the fantasy dating league* that we create for our favorite celebrities. But they’re human beings and are obviously entitled to make choices none of us understand or agree with. And we need to be ever-vigilant about checking our gender, class, and racial biases when judging those choices.

*If I had to match Nicki with someone, I think a mature and sexy guy like Nas would do her well. But only if he’s absolutely sure that he doesn’t want to date me.

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