Nicki Minaj at the American Music Awards

When an eye-roll means so much more than an eye-roll...

Nicki Minaj takes a lot of stick for rolling her eyes: at last night’s American Music Awards, the Grammy nominated singer was caught looking less than impressed twice during the ceremony, with the resulting viral GIFs and being touted as Nicki “throwing shade” at Jennifer Lopez’s performance, and the awards ceremony itself.

Only Nicki knows what she was actually thinking as she supposedly ‘stormed’ off stage, but guess what – even if she was throwing said 'shade', she’s probably in the right.

Opening the American Music Awards with a dance medley, Jennifer Lopez dropped Nicki’s record-breaking Anaconda, which sent the crowd crazy – everyone except for Nicki, that is. The camera cut to Minaj looking pretty blank at the performance, but this is so much more than a celebrity spat.

Now, we love J-Lo, even Nicki Minaj probably loves J-Lo, but that’s not Nicki’s point, and never has been. Nicki’s problem is with the music industry as a whole, who continue to praise white women for appropriating marginalised black artists. And guess who gets the top awards? Hint: it’s not Nicki. Also, yes, Jennifer Lopez is Latino and not white, but traditionally Latin American artists tend to be treated as 'white' in cases like this. 

Nicki’s videos are equally as provocative as the likes of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and Britney Spears Toxic – and she hasn’t gone as far as Robin Thicke in that infamous Blurred Lines video – but while Miley's mantelpiece must be bulging, where are Nicki's statuettes? It’s a similar situation to the VMAs in July, where Nicki missed out on being nominated for Video of the Year despite it being streamed by 19.6 million people in a single day.

At the American Music Awards, Nicki landed 'Best Rap Artist' and 'Best Rap Album', but failed to be nominated for 'Favourite Pop Artist'. When a crossover performer like Taylor Swift can be considered a pop superstar, even with a seriously country background, surely it's time for the industry to do the same for musicians like Nicki, Rihanna and Beyonce, who were both nominated in the 'Soul/ R&B' category?

Let’s be real; Nicki Minaj has contributed as much to popular culture, if not more, as many of the white artists she's up against, and that's not OK. It’s time to stop sidelining black artists and give them the credit they deserve, don't you think?