I missed the Grammy’s last night. But it’s impossible to miss the buzz this morning. The winners, the losers; the Whitney Houston tribute; the best dressed, the worst dressed; and… Nicki Minaj’s anti-Catholic ‘Roman Holiday’ performance. Of course I caught the highlights online, read the articles and ended up watching a very choppy YouTube video of Minaj’s performance. The video quality may have been poor but it was easy to see the beginning confession scene and the attempted exorcism. It was also easy to see the dancers dressed as monks and seemingly pious altar servers praying while scantily-clad women gyrated around them. (Do yourself a favor and skip watching the video, even out of curiosities sake. Trust me.)
As I watched the five-minute video it got me thinking… what is it about anti-religious performances that people consider art? And why? Art is supposed to be something that lifts the spirits, that makes you think beyond your little insignificant self. We delight in art. We find relaxation and reprieve in it. Stand in the Sistine Chapel or in front of the Eiffel Tower for the first time and there is a sense of wonder at the beauty before you. You are awed at the greatness of the human person and what can be achieved with talent and ingenuity.
Watch the Nicki Minaj performance and you are left with a sinking feeling of despair. There is no lifting of the heart, no awe. There is only shock value. And yet, many people will say the musical number was proof of the great musical talent and artistry of the singer. But to me it seems the opposite, artists who truly lack creativity end up relying on the crutch of religious intolerance to make waves. How much foresight, thought, planning and artistry does it take to re-hash the same anti-religion theme? Madonna did it. Lady Gaga did it. Now Nicki Minaji has jumped on the bandwagon. Get off the train and get creative.
(image from eiffel-tower.us)