Why Are Female Rappers Choosing Marilyn Monroe over Lena Horne?
Posted by on Feb 28, 2012

I recently read somewhere “it’s a shame that so many black girls would prefer to be Marilyn Monroe then Lena Horne.” I had never thought about it before. Definitely been a fan of Monroe’s infamous quotes like:

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”


“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

…but didn’t realize it until recently when Hip Hop newbie Brianna Perry and Hip Pop star Nicki Minaj both dropped songs titled “Marilyn Monroe.” Although Monroe wasn’t like the “dumb blonde” roles she played in her films, she was known for repeatedly taking roles where she comes off as extremely beautiful but not very bright.

Lena Horne on the other hand, both a gifted singer, actress and activist during the Civil Rights movement isn’t looked at in the same light. Let’s not forget that she also has some amazing quotes that could have been great concepts for songs:

Don’t be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can, because when you feel nothing, it’s just death.


“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

So it’s uncanny that both women gravitated towards Monroe. Both have similar sass and poise. Both strong minded and extremely talented in their own right. In no way should an artist be obligated to pay homage to an African American pioneer over one of any other race but being as though they both are African American they could be partial.

Despite. I really like what Nicki Minaj did. Listen below.

Nicki Minaj aced the concept. Concentrating more on our insecurities as women, losing ourselves in the process of finding ourselves, admitting that we have flaws and the evolution of us becoming something great without the expectations to ever be perfect and wanting someone to accept us for that. I can’t say the same for what Brianna Perry. Check out the video for her track below.

She basically pinned blond hair, red lipstick and looking like Marilyn Monroe as her definition of beauty. Now I’m not a prude so I’m not personally bothered but it does boggle me that with all the amazingly beautiful and talented African American starlets (Josephine Baker, Ruby Dee, Dorothy Dandridge, Hazel Scott, Eartha Kitt, Diahann Carroll) we have to look up to from that era that Monroe was the first thing that came to Perry’s mind when creating the concept for this song about feeling herself physically.

I’ll end with a Lena Horne quote that was fitting as the time:

I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.

Which poses the question do we as a black community still idolize old white Hollywood more then we do old black Hollywood? Hit me in the comments.

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  1. avatar

    the brianna girl said something about being 20 years old. it’s how these black kids are getting brought up, they’re ignorant and their parents don’t teach them anything about black pride. they grow up idolizing all things white like its better. black parents get on your job

  2. avatar

    i think they are both wonderful but i always gravitated more towards marilyn because in her teen years/early hollywood days, she was not considered beautiful, and she was considered plus size (wearing a whopping size 10-12) so that’s my personal reason.

  3. avatar

    Lena Horne was sexy, but not KNOWN as a sex symbol. i wanna say it is not all about race, but also, i do think Nicki Minaj want to be white with the blond wigs, i think she is really sexy and cute with the black wigs, but for some reason, she want to be a blond. i don’t know Brianna Perry. but even Rihanna bought a Marilyn Monroe photo for house worth over $100,000 and wears shirts with Elizabeth Taylor. i just thought about it the other day. do they make tshirts with Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Nina Mae Mckinney, Joyce Bryant and others.

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