Nicki Minaj finally addressed the controversy stemming from the Nazi imagery used in her “Only” lyric video, which many found offensive and inappropriate, while director Jeff Osborne issued a non-apology.

The lyric video for “Only” (featuring Lil Wayne, Drake and Chris Brown) is fully animated and uses Nazi imagery to depict Minaj as a dictator, Brown as a general dropping bombs, Lil Wayne as a kind of CEO type or politician and Drake as the Pope. The video also features a huge, faceless army in black and white, wearing red bands on their arms featuring the Young Money logo, which appears similar to a swastika.

The video was released on Friday, Nov. 7, and fans quickly linked the video to famous images of Nazi propaganda. As the backlash grew, Minaj and Osborne remained silent on the issue, though Osborne re-tweeted several criticisms of the seemingly Nazi-inspired video.

“Only” Lyric Video Director: “Sorry, I’m Not Sorry”

On Tuesday, Osborne released a statement admitting to being inspired by Nazi imagery and expressing a refusal to apologize, seriously writing the phrase “sorry, I’m not sorry.”

“The flags, armbands and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism. But a majority of the recognizable models/symbols are American,” Osborne wrote.

In addition to defending the video, Osborne also claimed that he incorporated Nazi imagery into the video specifically to teach younger audiences a history lesson – despite the fact that the song has no apparent moral stance on anything other than sex and partying – or, as Judd Apatow put it:

“As far as an explanation, I think it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?” Read Osborne’s full statement below:  

“Before I start, be clear that these are my personal views and not the views of Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, or Young Money. First, I’m not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question. The flags, armbands and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazism. But a majority of the recognizable models/symbols are American: Mq9 Reaper Drone, F22 Raptor, Sidewinder missile, security cameras, M60, SWAT uniform, General’s uniform, the Supreme court, and the Lincoln Memorial. What’s also American is the 1st Amendment, which I’ve unexpectedly succeeded in showing how we willfully squeeze ourselves out of that right every day. Despite the fact heavy religious and economic themes were glossed over, there’s also Russian T-90 tanks, Belgian FN FAL, German mp5 (not manufactured until 1966), an Italian Ferrari, and a Vatican Pope. As far as an explanation, I think it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future. And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?”

 

Nicki Minaj Issues Apology

Minaj also commented on the video, issuing a more straightforward apology, while making clear she had almost nothing to do with the images in the video. In a series of tweets, Minaj stated that Osborne based the video on the aesthetics in “Metalocalypse” and Sin City and insisted that two people working on the video were Jewish. She concluded with a short apology, writing, “I didn’t come up with the concept, but I’m very sorry and take full responsibility if it has offended anyone. I’d never condone Nazism in my art.”

Metalocalypse Creator Brendon Small Comments On “Only” Video

Metalocalypse is a satire cartoon created by comedian Brendon Small, who responded to Minaj’s explanation, saying he failed to see any similarities between his show and the video.

They seemed to be confused about art. Our video is influenced by Russian war propaganda art, very stylized WWII satire urging people to enlist in the DETHKLOK army…Minaj dressed people up like Nazis and held them captive by slowly speaking to them. Which, to me, is also funny,” Small told Metal Insider.

Small references a scene in the series where a character enlists in an army run by a dictatorship type figure.

“Watching her video, I’m confused by how she’s influenced by us. And ultimately I don’t care, because I really don’t think she’s a Nazi – but that would be a funny reveal at this point in her career,” Small added.

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