It was nearly one o'clock on Sunday morning, and Nicki Minaj was asking the hundreds of people in the crowd at Philipp Plein's spring 2018 show: "Where my white people at?!"
But she wasn't pointing out the event's lack of diversity. Instead, she was applauding the 39-year-old German fashion designer for his racially diverse and inclusive line-up — on the runway, models included Adriana Lima, Irina Shayk, 21 Savage, Cordell Broadus, Rich the Kid, Metro Boomin, Swae Lee, and Teyana Taylor, who gave the performance of a lifetime. Watching the collection from the sidelines were 50 Cent, Iman Shumpert, Young Paris, Fifth Harmony, Yo Gotti, Paris Hilton, and Bella Thorne. Future, meanwhile, provided the soundtrack for the evening, performing hits like "Mask Off" live.
"A lot of times designers get rich off of our culture but you don't see a motherfucker who looks like [us] in the front row," Minaj continued before thanking Plein for inviting and supporting her and her fellow Black artists, something that's rarely discussed at fashion shows, where runways are still overwhelmingly white; for the fall 2017 season, just 31.5% of models cast during New York Fashion Week were non-white.
This isn't the first time Minaj has spoken out against the lack of inclusivity in industries she's a part of. In July 2015, she called out the MTV VMAs, tweeting: "If I was a different "kind" of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well," and “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” While Taylor Swift took Minaj's statement as a attack, she was actually highlighting the award show's problem with white feminism. In an interview with The New York Times, she said: "The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls. You’re in videos with black men, and you’re bringing out black women on your stages, but you don’t want to know how black women feel about something that’s so important? Come on, you can’t want the good without the bad. If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn’t not want to know that."