Nicki Minaj’s 2012 Grammy performance of “Roman Holiday” last night was, by most accounts, purely insane. Minaj opened with a prayer, lit some fires, performed an exorcism, and ended with some levitating.
Many on the Internet were horrified, confused, disgusted, or left shaking their heads—or some combination therein. And many turned to YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, and Minaj’s Facebook to express themselves.
On various bootleg copies of the performance uploaded to YouTube, fans took to discussing the conspiracy group Illuminati, with many convinced Minaj had recently joined the order. YouTubers also debated if Minaj was trying to be like Lady Gaga (who previously faced Illuminati claims), if something was wrong with the seriously rapper, and why her musical career was going downhill. Catholics were also outraged, with many saying she would “burn in hell.” (Minaj showed up with the “Pope” as her date.)
Minaj’s supporters, however, were also out in full force.
“And as far as all this "illuminati" talk..Its a CONSPIRACY THEORY. Meaning it hasn't been proven,” commented DeJanerobinson. “ People shouldn’t speak on what they don't know. Y'all don't know Nicki personally.”
Cook7650, a redheaded older woman of indeterminate age, was convinced she saw an exorcism on TV, in her video “Mock Exorcism at the Grammys? You betcha!”
YouTubers weren’t the only ones to wonder about the exorcism. Even Catholic League president Bill Donohue wondered if Minaj was possessed.
People were less divided on Reddit, where users declared the performance wacky, terrible, and possibly a troll attempt. Redditors also took to screencaping Facebook walls where people were bashing Nicki Minaj or writing that she was “demon-possessed.”
On Nicki Minaj’s Facebook fan page wall, angry fans took to insulting the rapper with the heavy use of expletives, along with declarations of her promiscuity and her apparent lack of a soul. Many told her to go “die quietly” in some corner.
“This is cyberbullying ppl, let's leave her alone. She knows what she did was wrong. We already lost Whitney Houston,” wrote Marcela Smith on Minaj’s Facebook wall, in an attempt to quell the hateful comments.
Some folks were more confused by the outrage than the performance, like Facebook user Kendrick Boyd, who found the sudden piety laughable. “None of y'all went to church this morning. At least she did make some of y’all pick up a bible” wrote Boyd. “Look beyond the video and listen to the message. If you think that's something, try watching an Outkast performance. Do y'all even watch TV? Ever seen a scary movie? How is that any different?”
Sean Kent was more frustrated by the sheer amount of discussion, tweeting: “I'm glad that amid high unemployment, widespread corporate fraud & corrupt government you guys can find time to be upset about Nicki Minaj.”
As for the people concerned Minaj was possessed by a demon named “Roman,” YouTuber HausOfSago explained it clearly in a comment:
“Roman's Revenge, Roman in Moscow & Roman Holiday (all her popular songs) all showcase Nicki Minaj's alter ego Roman Zolanski, and his mental decline on reality, while getting back at someone that hurt "him". All 3 songs display very intelligent lyrics, and [a] very interesting storyline. Nicki's other alter ego Martha Zolanski is Roman's mother.You can hear her in [the] chorus, saying "Take your medication Roman." Tauting "him" to stop rampaging. He refuses "Mother, STOP IT PLEASE!"