Nicki Minaj reminds us she lost a Grammy to Bon Iver: ‘They gave it to the white man’

Nicki Minaj
Rapper Nicki Minaj was among many who reacted to Tuesday morning’s 2021 Grammy nominations on social media.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

After the Recording Academy unveiled the Grammy nominees for 2021, Nicki Minaj turned the clock back to 2012, the year she was up for best new artist.

On Tuesday morning, the “Tusa” hitmaker vowed to “never forget” the day the academy crowned experimental folk group Bon Iver, fronted by Justin Vernon, over her in the coveted category, which also included newcomers the Band Perry, J. Cole and Skrillex.

“[The] Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade — went on to inspire a generation,” she wrote in a viral tweet that has amassed more than 217,300 likes in three hours.

“They gave it to the white man Bon Iver.”

Coincidentally, Minaj and Vernon both collaborated with rapper Kanye West on “Monster,” a hit single from his 2010 masterpiece, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

The Grammys have long been criticized for overlooking women and Black performers in major categories. And earlier this year, the Recording Academy invited a whopping 2,300 new voters, 48% of whom were women and 37% of whom belonged to “traditionally underrepresented communities,” including Black, Latino and Asian American people, in an effort to make the ceremony more inclusive.


“It’s really a new era for us and a time of transformative change,” Kelley Purcell, the academy’s senior director of member outreach, said in a July interview. “It’s important for us to not only be reflective of what’s happening in the music industry but also to be a leader and to set a positive example for the music industry.”

Despite recording several hits and securing 10 nominations over the last decade, Minaj has yet to win a Grammy and received zero nods Tuesday. The original version of “Say So” — which Minaj later remixed — scored a couple of nods for 2021 new-artist nominee Doja Cat.

The 2021 Grammy nominations, in 83 categories

Nov. 24, 2020

Last week, “Tusa,” Minaj’s smash collab with Colombian reggaeton star Karol G, was snubbed at the Latin Grammys after scoring nominations in both record and song of the year categories.

Likewise, Bon Iver hasn’t collected a Grammy since winning best new artist and alternative music album in 2012, despite a handful of nominations since then.

Minaj recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her debut studio album, “Pink Friday,” which also scored a Grammy nomination for rap album and included her radio earworm of a breakout single, “Super Bass.”

Leading the pack of Grammy nominees is “Black Is King” mastermind Beyoncé — who scored both song and record of the year nods for her Juneteenth single, “Black Parade” — followed by Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch, who are tied at six nominations apiece.

Check out the full list of 2021 nominees here.