You probably did a bit of a double-take when you scrolled through your feed this morning and found the phrase 'Indian village' in the same headline as 'Nicki Minaj', and it wasn't threaded together by something like 'culturally misappropriates in new video'.
Indeed, rapper/singer Nicki Minaj (you know her from borderline atrocities like Starships and Stupid Hoe) has really been doing what the tabs claim: been sending money to an unnamed village right here in India so that, bit by bit, they develop into a village that has access to clean water, education, and basic technology.
Minaj actually said something quite profound, which puts the phrase 'first world problems' into a stark context. "We complain about the most ridiculous little things when some people don't even have clean water. Blessings to India. Our work is far from done," she told the press.
She also mentioned on Instagram that "The money I've sent to this village in India for the last couple years (via my Pastor Lydia Sloley), has gotten them a computer centre, a tailoring institute, a reading program and two water wells."
Does this effort, perhaps, have a slight evangelist undertone? Sure! But it doesn't change the fact that, in a particularly money-brandishing culture like hip-hop, someone that can come across as loud and frothy as Minaj did something this genuinely integral to the lives of these many people utterly unconnected to her and her music.
To me, I find this new information interesting on two fronts: my reaction as an Indian, and my reaction a keen observer of pop culture.
It seems like this village, and perhaps now more unclassified little villages dotted across the Indian map, will become pet projects for charitable aid—because, let's face it, it makes a splash, news-wise, does it not? But as a result of that first-world guilt, many villages and underprivileged homes are getting the help they need, and so perhaps the end justifies the papparazzi-grubbing means.
The second aspect of me finds it refreshing that Nicki Minaj, of all people, is at the helm of this new, philanthropic trend wave. I do believe this wouldn't quite jump out as much if a Natalie Portman or Hillary Swank had done the same deed, because of the general personality assumptions that go with those two names. But the idea of the name-dropping, cellophane-dress-wearing, neon-yellow-lipstick-touting, hard-cursing, Young-Money-shouting Nicki Minaj doing it? That puts it on the radar for all the right reasons.
And, trust us, this is a trend we so much prefer to the hot pink, butt-scalping thongs from Anaconda. So much.