On Tuesday, a Madame Tussauds in Berlin, Germany unveiled its newest exhibit, featuring a sculpture depicting Nicki Minaj — and leaving many of the singer’s fans underwhelmed.
But while the latest unveiling has inspired heaps of criticism, here’s the irony: Minaj already gushed over the figure — more than four years ago.
The wax figure had previously debuted, in August of 2015, at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas. The faux Minaj is supposed to show the rapper in a still from her "Anaconda" music video. This week, her sculpture was reportedly moved to Germany only because “the museum loans statues out frequently to mix up the attractions at its various locations.”
Minaj took to Instagram with her approval back in 2015, using a slew of hearts and heart-eyes emojis. And, according to TMZ, at least, when the figure was first unveiled, the rapper said that “she loved it and couldn't wait to see it in person.”
But not everyone is on board, with the chief complaint being that the figure looks nothing like the real woman.
The creator of Nicki Minaj wax figure at work. pic.twitter.com/UHcGm1pxUF— Mareeesa (@MareeesaWhite) January 7, 2020
They got my girl nicki wax figure looking like a white woman pic.twitter.com/uEyvbysoHe— caramelbombshell (@laydeecarmel) January 7, 2020
This isn’t the first time a Madame Tussauds figure has inspired backlash — particularly for what critics have called a whitewashing of black celebrities. In 2015, for example, a statue of Naomi Campbell at Madame Tussauds Bangkok was criticized for “completely misjudging the proportions of the supermodel's face, [lightening] her skin and [trading] Campbell's hazel eyes for bright blue ones.”
In 2017, Madame Tussauds New York faced similar criticisms for a Beyoncé figure. And in a statement to Entertainment Tonight, the museum initially defended its art, explaining, "Lighting within the attraction combined with flash photography may distort and misrepresent the color of our wax figures..." But then, after being removed from the exhibit for a short period of time before being brought back, the museum told Entertainment Tonight in a statement, "We have adjusted the styling and lighting of the figure and she is on display at Madame Tussauds New York.”
In 2012, a statue of Beyoncé at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam was also heavily scrutinized for its pale appearance. With all the failed attempts of recreating Queen Bey, fans began to think that no artist would get it right.
Theory: Beyoncé wax figure makers have never seen Beyoncé pic.twitter.com/bZ2PWCUzUs— Michelle Lee (@heymichellelee) July 19, 2017
Fortunately, in 2019, Madame Tussauds London and Madame Tussauds Vegas redeemed the brand by unveiling two Beyoncé figures that left fans in awe — in a good way, as they bear a strong resemblance to the pop icon. The much-approved figures capture an iconic moment in time, both complete with Beyonce's star-studded 2018 Coachella attire.
When reached for comment by Yahoo Lifestyle, Madame Tussauds said it did not have an official comment, but stressed that the figure dates back to 2015 during which it “received Nicki’s praises.”
Coachella, you ready?— QUEEN BEY (@thequeenbey__) November 15, 2019
Madame Tussauds unveiled another new Beyoncè wax figure in Las Vegas! 😍😍💫🙌💫😍😍 pic.twitter.com/GQw0YzU8mw
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