Watch: Nicki Minaj cosplays as Chinese Street Fighter Chun-Li on SNL

Society & Culture

Here’s Nicki Minaj on Saturday Night Live last night trying to make herself the center of some cultural appropriation controversy. Someone wanna tell her she’s a bit late to the game?

I’m more interested to see how many people will get upset at what appears to be Japanese clothing on a Chinese character. (Chinese nationalists can be hyper-sensitive about such things.)

Chun-Li debuted in Street Fighter II as the first female fighter in the series. She’s an Interpol agent attempting to avenge her father’s death at the hands of M. Bison, as Wikipedia helpfully tells us. Her Chinese name, 春丽, means “spring beauty.”

Nicki Minaj probably doesn’t care.

Bitch it’s King Kong, yes it’s King Kong
Bitch it’s King Kong, this is King Kong
Chinese ink on, Siamese links on
Call me 2 Chainz, name go ding dong
Bitch it’s King Kong, yes I’m King Kong
Dis is King Kong? Yes, Miss King Kong
In my kingdom, with my Timbs on
(How many championships?) What? Six rings on

They need rappers like me
They need rappers like me
So they can get on their fuckin’ keyboards
And make me the bad guy, Chun-Li

Original music video here, with Chinese subtitles at the start…for the benefit of the Chinese market? (Haha, no. Everyone knows traditional Chinese characters are exotic.)

The Scarface reference — “they need rappers like me” — is cool, but I wonder about the “bad guy” line. Chun-Li was a good guy. Or is Nicki positioning herself as Chun-Li’s nemesis?

Is she M. Bison?