Rapper, singer, actress and songwriter Nicki Minaj shared her opinions on Twitter about the COVID-19 vaccine on Sept.13. The opinions stated in her tweets were very counterproductive to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minaj tweeted about declining to go to the Met Gala because of the COVID-19 vaccination requirements. People 12 years of age and older must show proof they have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter the museum where the Met Gala took place.
She continued in her multi-tweet rant, where she insinuated the COVID-19 vaccine could cause infertility, which is untrue. No evidence shows the vaccine causing fertility problems in men or women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Spreading misinformation about the vaccine and siding with a white supremacist is very irresponsible for someone with a large platform, especially since Minaj has a heavy influence on the many Black people and people of color who follow her.
Marginalized communities have suffered tremendously from the COVID-19 virus. According to NPR, Black, Hispanic and Native Americans make up less than half of the total population — around 30.8%, but they account for 43.1% of COVID-19 related deaths and 48.7% of all COVID-19 cases. In comparison, white people make up 60.1% of the population but only account for 51.1% of deaths and 44.5% of all cases.
This data means that Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are dying and contracting the virus at a higher rate than their white counterparts.
Not only are deaths and cases higher within minority communities, but the groups are less likely to be vaccinated, according to CNN. Out of the fully vaccinated population, white people make up 61% while Hispanic and Black people only make up a total of 24%.
A history of racism in medicine already makes many people of color hesitant to get the vaccine. This makes them more susceptible to believing misleading information about the vaccine from people they follow. It is irresponsible for Minaj to use the massive platform to broadcast misinformation about a disease a majority of your following is vulnerable to.
Shortly after, Minaj made national headlines with her tweets, grabbing the attention of many daytime and late-night tv shows like Jimmy Kimmel, MSNBC and Fox News.
It also caught the attention of Carlson on his nightly political talk show on Fox News.
Minaj tweeted a clip from Carlson’s show in agreement. In the clip, Carlson insinuates public health officials are bullying people into getting the vaccine and said Minaj is correct in her stance.
According to MSNBC, Carlson has shown his disdain toward people of color and his fear of white people being replaced by people of color in political representation, which white supremacists have coined as the “replacement theory.”
Being a Black woman and agreeing with someone who has been known to showcase white supremacist rhetoric is distasteful no matter the circumstance.
The vaccine helps combat the virus that has affected the world so much already. It is important that Black celebrities like Minaj, who can influence many people, stop spreading misinformation to their large audiences.
The tweets Minaj made discouraging people to get the vaccine are rash.
If we are going to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to make sure we are careful not to spread any false information.