Nicki Minaj was the musical guest for the season finale of “Saturday Night Live.” The Queens rapper performed “Chun Li” to start and closed out with “Poke It Out,” a Playboi Carti single featured on the Atlanta rapper’s May 2018 album, Die Lit.
For “Chun Li,” Minaj wore a Kimono by Andrew Clancey with a latex Vex bodysuit customized with crystals by Kerin Rose Gold. For her second performance, she wore an On Aura Tout Vu piece over a Vex latex bodysuit. More details at @onikaswardrobe.
“Chun Li” references a female character in Tokyo-based Capcon’s video game Street Fighter. Chun Li is the series’ first female fighter, making her appearance in 1991. Minaj plays up references to the character through Asian-themed outfits, hair and makeup. For her SNL performance, the backdrop included Asian architectural references.
While some view Minaj’s Asian-themed costumes as a playful cosplay tribute, she’s also been criticized on social media for appropriating the culture.
That said, it’s always tough to sort out opinions about very popular celebrities. In addition to do or die fans who never say a bad word, there are rival fan bases who use the concept of appropriation to undermine support of an individual they view as a competitor to their fave.
Check out the both performances belong, along with a fun post-show image showing Foxy Brown along with former SNL cast members Tracy Morgan and Chevy Chase.