Nicki Minaj's "Vulgar" Grammys Exorcism Angers Catholic League

Organization's honcho speaks out in the wake of rapper's controversial and religion-saturated performance

By Gina Serpe Feb 13, 2012 9:35 PMTags
Nicki MinajLarry Busacca/Getty Images

If Nicki Minaj happens to come across a swarm of locusts in the next few days, at least she'll know why.

Not content to provide just watercooler fodder for the nation, the singer—or more specifically, the singer's "Pope" escort, hooded attire and unholy Grammys performance last night—fueled the fire and brimstone chat, as well.

The Catholic League wasted no time in condemning the "Roman Holiday" rapper for her exercise in exorcism on the awards show stage—which came complete with choir boys, bishops, holy water, faux possessions, levitation and even a confessional.

In other words, everything you need for a good old-fashioned controversy!

The League's president Bill Donahue wasted no time in pointing out his displeasure with the performance's undertones (and overtones and everywhere-in-between-tones) this morning, commenting in a posting on the Catholic League's website entitled "Is Nicki Minaj Possessed?"

"Nicki Minaj, fresh off looking like a fool with Madonna at the Super Bowl, showed up last night on the red carpet at the Grammys with a guy dressed like the pope. This was just a prelude of what was to come.

"Minaj's performance began on stage with a mock confessional skit. This was followed by a taped video depicting a mock exorcism. With stained glass in the background, she appeared on stage again with choir boys and monks dancing."

But according to Donahue, that was far from the worst of it.

"Perhaps the most vulgar part was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer. Finally, 'Come All Ye Faithful' was sung while a man posing as a bishop walked on stage; Minaj was shown levitating."

Donahue was willing to spread the blame around, too.

"None of this was by accident, and all of it was approved by The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys. Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy. Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam."

Twitter exploded following her performance last night, and even Sherri Shepherd saw fit to comment on the act.

"Watching Nicki Minaj...didn't know whether2 dance or pull out my Bible and lay hands on the tv...2 old for the #Grammys."

For her part, Nicki defended her performance, speaking to E! News anchor Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM radio show this morning and claiming that she was actually playing the part of a man named Roman and that she had been writing the story of this particular alter ego for two years.

"He's a major part of the movie I'm writing and one of my alter egos," she said. "His name is Roman and the religious figure is there because he was called on by Roman's mom to rehabilitate him.

"I had this vision for Roman, for him to be exorcised, but people around him telling him he's not good enough, that he's not normal, he's not fitting in with the average Joe. He wanted to show that not only is he amazing and confident, but he's never going to be exorcised and when they throw the holy water on him, he rises above it."

What, that wasn't clear? Hey, someone had to fill the gap left by Lady Gaga.