Nicki Minaj was celebrated for her originality and gusto after being spotted at Carolina Herrera's Spring 2012 runway show sitting beside Anna Wintour in a neon pom-pom-laden sweater. Now designer Jessica Rogers, 21, of SomedayNewYorker, is accusing Minaj and her team of copying her original designs.
Rogers says she's been producing these "puff ball" garments for almost three years now, and claims that Minaj's stylists have contacted her in the past about using some of her clothing-among them a Puff Ball dress. Rogers sent various images of her work, but never heard back from Minaj's team. (Read the whole story on Fashionista.)
We'd commiserate with Rogers, but lately we've been hearing so many stories of female musicians and plagiarism that it's just starting to blur into one. None of them are quite as devious as the whole puff ball situation (i.e., stealing from an unknown designer), but they're pretty blatant in terms of stealing ideas, concepts and images as well.
There are a few reasons for this: one, female artists--more than the men--trade on visual currency. What they're wearing, what they're doing to their hair, what they're putting on their faces, all this translates into a look that is as valuable to the masses as their artistry and songs. When that look goes stale, so does the artist. The result? The Lady Gaga-fication of the music industry. I doubt that all of this is done meanspiritedly--can you name an artist who hasn't been inspired by anyone else and let their influences seep through? But unless these inspirations are acknowledged, it's disrespectful--and becomes way embarrassing when you're caught.
Check out three female artists who've been called out for copying other people's work:
At her Billboard Awards 2011 performance of "Run The World (Girls)" she was accused of copying Italian pop star Lorella Cuccarini's 2010 performance.
"My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much," Beyonce toldAOL Music
. "I then met with the talented people who worked on it. The technology and concept were so genius. Thank god for YouTube or I would have never been exposed to something so inspiring. I never worked so hard on anything in my life as that performance for the Billboard Awards."
Lady Gaga has been accused of copying every diva in the world, from Madonna to Kylie to Britney Spears.
Lady Gaga's take:
When NME asked the 25-year-old star whether she thought "Born This Way" was a knock-off of Madonna's "Express Yourself," the singer (real name: Stefani Germanotta) was outraged. "I'm a songwriter. I've written loads of music. Why would I try to put out a song and think I'm getting one over on everybody? That's retarded."
"What a completely ridiculous thing to even question me about... If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression. It's the same one that's been in disco music for the last 50 years. Just because I'm the first f***ing artist in 25 years to think of putting it on Top 40 radio, it doesn't mean I'm a plagiarist, it means that I'm f***ing smart. Sorry."
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The last time we talked about Christina on Heard Mentality, it was because she was accused of plagiarizing Lady Gaga. That's OK, though, because Lady Gaga's been accused of co-opting Christina Aguilera too. (See what we mean here?)