Rap queen, Dr. Nicki Minaj – La Santa Clara
Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend wasn’t feeling a few mornings ago when he woke up with swollen testicles. Last week, the Queen herself took to Twitter to deliver her official diagnosis: The unusual disease, she claimed, is the result of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To sum up another bizarre Twitter debate, Nicki Minaj announced that she would not be attending the 2021 Met Gala as the event required guests to be vaccinated. Citing the hapless man whose testicles received international attention, Minaj denigrated the vaccine, saying she needed to do more research before receiving it.
Minaj honestly seems to believe that what happened to her cousin’s friend was a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine. The tweet prompted the White House to offer him a call to discuss the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Later, Dr Anthony Fauci and Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Health Dr Terrence Deyalsingh concluded that Minaj’s tweet had “no evidence” to be true.
Despite the best attempts by these medical professionals to dispel myths, his tweet circulated the internet, influencing others on vaccine policy through misinformation. Considering her number of followers, Minaj’s influence on social media is arguably even more impactful than the influence of a medical professional.
Although every celebrity is also a citizen entitled to an opinion, they should not neglect the influence they have on the public. Nicki Minaj is a talented musical artist, not a doctor. Therefore, she has no legitimate authority to dissuade others from getting vaccinated.
Minaj obviously does not recognize his influence, which is why this misinformation quickly spread across the internet. It is essential that the reliability of a source is not determined by the number of subscribers or superficial social influence. Equating fame with reliability spurs the spread of misinformation and fuels problematic conspiracy theories. Whatever Minaj’s intentions, her tweet had consequences that benefited her follow-up.
Minaj’s comment undermines progress the world has made to increase immunization rates. This gives some people an excuse or false reasoning to refrain from getting the vaccine, even if his tweet, according to medical professionals, is bogus.
Celebrities acting as trusted sources of medical advice throughout the pandemic have produced more drama and misinformation than actual benefit. Minaj has 23 million subscribers, and every subscriber who has seen this tweet (somewhere in the millions) has received misinformation about the vaccine, which has the potential to affect their decision-making.
Disinformation exploits those who are not themselves informed. Influential celebrities need to have evidence to back up their claims. Otherwise, it is better not to say it.
From a different perspective, the fact that the White House is concerned enough about Nicki Minaj’s comments to reach out reveals that subscribers are impressionable. Despite the number of different theories about COVID-19 vaccines that have spread throughout this pandemic, the public also has a responsibility to seek out and make the effort to think beyond the advice of their favorite celebrities.
We’ve seen this trend before when celebrities endorsed horse dewormer as a form of protection against the virus. There was no medical research or data to support the claims, but horse dewormers were still out of stock in stores across the country. Obviously, celebrity tweets are not unimportant; they can mobilize others to follow their own misguided and potentially harmful actions.
In summary, it’s fair to say that the Barbz flags are flying at half mast, as it was certainly embarrassing for Minaj to tweet. More than ever, it is vital that celebrities do not undermine doctors and that internet users do not believe everything they see too quickly.