Nicki Minaj accused of cultural appropriation for ‘Chun Li’ SNL performance

The rapper was dressed in traditional Chinese garb and flanked by Asian dancers for the song 'Chun Li', a tribute to the Street Fighter character of the same name

                            Nicki Minaj accused of cultural appropriation for ‘Chun Li’ SNL performance
Nicki Minaj (Source : Getty Images)

Ahead of her upcoming album, 'Queen,' Nicki Minaj returned to Saturday Night Live for her third time as the show’s musical guest. 

For her initial performance of her recent single 'Chun-Li', Minaj dressed up in traditional Chinese garb keeping in tune with the song’s Street Fighter character namesake.

She was also supported by an ensemble of Asian dancers and the stage was decorated in an Asian-style pavilion.

Though Minaj supporters will note that the rapper’s grandfather was of Japanese descent, the performance seemed to cross the fine line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, especially in light of the recent controversy over a high school student wearing a Chinese-themed prom dress.

As one would expect in a situation like this, Twitter blew up with polarized reactions. While some were quick to express their dissent over the performance, others defended the hip-hop sensation, claiming that Chun Li is a video game character and the performance was a tribute to the character and nothing else.

Thankfully, Minaj's second performance of the evening was fairly free from controversy, as she teamed up with Playboi Carti for a crowd-rousing performance of the track 'Poke It Out', which first appeared on Carti’s album 'Die Lit', released back in March.