Only a finite number of people can reclaim a brand and transform it into their own. A few people in the music industry I would say. Nicki Minaj specifically.
She practically, theoretically, and technically reshaped the Barbie Aesthetic and turned it into her personal brand and trademark. She fermented it and made her 130+ million dollar fortune.
The Barbie Look
She started dressing up as a real Barbie doll by adding undercurrents of pink. Her signature looks had pink wigs, pink streaks on black wigs, and pink bras peeking through her tank tops.
By the height of her commercial career, she recapitulated with the Barbie Aesthetic. She used pink and Barbie on her album covers, single covers, photoshoots, and so on. It then became clear that she is the Barbie doll running the rap scene.
Barbie Music, Alter-Ego & Lyrics
Nicki Minaj has had her fair share of alter-egos since she started out as a rapper. One of her most prominent and iconic alter-egos includes Harajuku Barbie and Barbie Balla. Harajuku Barbie has had the most impact and impersonates “Barbie.” Simply put, Nicki Minaj a.k.a ‘The Harajuku Barbie’ created the eternal hit “Itty Bitty Piggy” which was released during her mixtape eras.
Nicki used, is still using the Barbie theme via her songs. From her ‘Barbie World’ project Black Barbies, Barbie Goin Bad, Barbie Dreams, Barbie Tingz, Barbie Drip, etc.
Now to her organically crafted fanbase, Barbz- Barbies. Back in 2010, Nicki explained the origins of her Barbie Dolls. She said,
“It was just one of those things that … I think all girls say it.They call themselves a particular Barbie, like black Barbie or Korean Barbie. I don’t know … Barbie’s been such a staple in our culture that as women, no matter what color you are, it’s almost like there’s always a Barbie that you can relate to, especially when they made Barbie’s that went to work, [and so on]. “
I hope Nicki continues with this aesthetic by building her brand to higher heights. I think she can take this brand to a billion-dollar mark if she works it efficiently. Nicki already has the “Nicki Effect” embedded and proven every time she wears something, remixes a song, or talks about something. Everyone wants to be a Barbie Girl.