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Nicki Minaj’s SNL performance of “Chun-Li” was a cultural appropriation of Asian culture

on May 20, 2018, 12:32am

Ahead of her upcoming album, Queen, Nicki Minaj returned to SNL for her third time as the show’s musical guest. For her initial performance of “Chun-Li”, she wore traditional Chinese garb associated with the song’s Street Fighter character namesake. She was also flanked by Asian dancers and the stage was decorated with an Asian-style pavilion. Though Minaj supporters will note that the rapper’s grandfather was of Japanese decent, the performance seemed to cross the fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation — especially considering the recent controversy over a high schooler’s Chinese-themed prom dress. Watch the performance below and decide for yourself.

Her second performance of the evening was decidedly less controversial, as she teamed up with Playboi Carti for “Poke It Out”. The track first appeared on Playboi Carti’s Die Lit album, released back in March.

Queen, Minaj’s fourth album to date, is out June 15th.