“Oh my god, look at her butt!”

“Oh my God Taylia, hi! I have not seen you in forever, how the hell are you?” I hear him before I see him. His thick American accent somewhat misplaced in the small setting of Rhodes University in Grahamstown. It did not take long for me to discover that there was something unusual about this man when I first met him and it was not just his accent. I asked him where he grew up to find out more about that very topic and was utterly taken aback when it was revealed that he was born and raised in Grahamstown. Proudly coloured, often throwing fluent Afrikaans into this conversation, he was an absolute paradox at first. After a while you begin to hear his American accent has filtered into the pronunciation of words from his mother tongue.

I first met Jayde Mapaling through a mutual friend. We met outside of the English Department on Campus one sunny day in the February of 2018 and hit it off immediately. We talk animatedly for the next ten minutes, and without fail, Nicki Minaj has been mentioned three times already. Both of us were initially shy but our extroverted natures could not be contained and within three minutes, we were talking like we were best friends. I heard our mutual friend call him Jaydie Minaj and I knew that I had met a fellow Barbie, a fan of miss Minaj. Competitive claws started to slowly creep from within me, nobody loves Nicki like I do kept passing through my head and I made sure to let him know. Normally people do not challenge me and when they do they fail miserably, so my confidence was at an all time high. It was squashed almost instantaneously. He knew lyrics better than I did, he knew every word to every song. Jayde was spouting trivia like a Wikipedia page but with the accuracy of an academic journal article. I was utterly floored and gobsmacked.

I have considered myself to be a Superfan of Nicki Minaj since the release of her debut Album in 2010 titled ‘Pink Friday’. I began to research her heavily and discovered old mix tapes. I was obsessed and have been ever since. I remember being invited to multiple concerts in high school but refused to go because I wanted my first one to be something that I wanted. In 2016 it was announced that Nicki Minaj would be coming to South Africa for her Pinkprint tour and the second bookings opened I had myself, my dad and seven separate friends trying to book two tickets for me, to see who could get them first before they ran out. The site crashed and I had lost all hope, cried many crocodile tears and almost gave up. I found out that often happiness can be found in the most unexpected of places and for me that was the Postnet in Grahamstown. After 8 hours of sheer torture I finally had my tickets and I had even convinced my best friend to go with me despite her not being a huge fan.

Jayde “Minaj” is the perfect example of how celebrities impact the attitudes of their superfans.

Image Source: Taylia Meese

The night of the concert turned out to be more than I expected, she was a brilliant live performer and although I was not in the VIP section, it felt like she was singing directly to me, right in front of me. Nicki even acknowledged my presence when she was getting audience members on stage. This is where not being in VIP hurt me: “Next time boo”, she said to me as I could not get to the stage. The crocodile tears I mentioned before came back in full force. By the end of the night I was completely star struck, my voice was completely hoarse and I could not function properly the 24 hours that followed. I knew it was amazing because even my best friend was at a loss for words and could not stop speaking about how amazing this experience was.
So why did I give an entirely narcissistic account when I am speaking about Jayde as a superfan? Well that is because it is the only thing that I have in my Nicki Minaj repertoire that Jayde does not. In fact, it is a very sore point for him. If I bring it up he immediately says “Oh my god Taylia, shut up, shut up, shut up! I told you never to mention that again.” I do not bring it up to be malicious, but to rather show him that I am somewhat of an equal counterpart even though that is the furthest thing from the truth. The honest truth is yes, I am a Nicki Minaj superfan but in comparison to Jayde Mapalang, Jaydie Minaj, I am nothing.  
On one random occasion I decided to count how many times Jayde mentioned Nicki Minaj in an hour and a half period and the results were not surprising. He mentioned her name a total of 63 times in the 90-minute timespan. The reason this result is unsurprising is because if you look at Jayde’s social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook you will see his page is basically a fan page with a little bit of himself flooded throughout. I say a little bit of himself because of Facebook and Instagram he posts pictures of himself but the rest is content dedicated to Nicki Minaj and his Twitter page is definitely flooded with Nicki news. His name on social media is either Jayde or Jaydie Minaj, with not many people knowing his true surname. If you have the pleasure of having Jayde on WhatsApp, you are almost certainly going to see statuses about Nicki Minaj, the only others are posted in German, one of his favourite subjects at Rhodes University or are about Mariah Carey’s music but the predominant portion is dedicated to his favourite celebrity. 
Jayde comments on almost all of Nicki’s Instagram posts and she has liked some of his comments. When asked how he felt when it happened he said it was like dying and going to heaven. Nicki Minaj acknowledged his presence and that was enough for him to freak out and almost burst into tears of happiness. I asked him what he would do if he ever met her and he said, “I would probably cry, maybe faint. Oh my God, I do not know if I would even be able to talk to her! If I could I would definitely tell her to keep being herself, to keep inspiring people and I would one day love to tell her how much she has and still does inspire me.” With that being said, if you take a look at all of Jayde’s social media accounts, he predominantly publishes pictures or news stories about Nicki Minaj. His timeline is flooded with her presence. Why, you may ask? Jayde feels like Nicki is worth celebrating and he feels obligated to share a picture whenever there is a new picture of her or share her successes with his friends.

Jayde “Minaj” is the perfect example of how celebrities impact the attitudes of their superfans.

Image Source: Taylia Meese

Jayde grew up in Grahamstown in 1997 and has been proudly gay since coming out of the womb according to him. He never really had to ‘come out’. He said that there were times where he was teased for being quite feminine but mostly people were accepting of him. In primary school he was a bit of a cheeky child that always got into trouble, causing fights or at the very least being in the centre of ones he did not cause. In high school he was friends with everyone, but is not easily ready to call himself popular. High School was the period of time where Jayde was introduced to Nicki Minaj and he was always a fan but it was only in grade 11 that he became a superfan. Now that he is in his second year of university, studying German and Microbiology, things have only intensified and all of his friends absolutely adore him for his quirks. Perfectly manicured nails that are always long, sharp and painted a multitude of vibrant colours. His hair is also either straightened flawlessly, tied ever so delicately into the same ponytail, placed in the very centre of his head, or it is curled, each curl carefully tended to.
His room is flooded with posters of Nicki Minaj Posters and his phone wallpaper is dedicated to the queen herself. Jayde has Nicki Minaj music playing every moment that he is not working or socialising during the day. If there is opportunity to be listening to her in either of these situations however, believe that he has her blasting from his phone. If he is not listening to Nicki, he is listening to the likes of Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, working on perfecting his whistle register. If you ask Jayde to describe Nicki Minaj, he describes the nature of his super fandom perfectly: “Oh my God, Nicki Minaj is my life. I eat, breathe and sleep Nicki Minaj.” This he does, he is always reading news about Nicki whilst listening to Nicki, whilst thinking something else about her and sometimes whilst speaking about her.
Now I absolutely love entertainment news, so I normally know hot celebrity gossip straight off the press, but Jayde learns every single piece of news about her the second it comes out. Where I normally get one or two stories about many different celebrities at a time, I am often convinced that Jayde must talk to her often. “Oh my God, Taylia! Have you heard the news?”, he asks and it is one of the questions I dread the most. I will recite a piece of news effortlessly and he will be impressed but then he will start talking about the other stories attached to it and I will be absolutely stumped after about ten minutes. I am a very proud person but I will be the first person to say that Jayde has me beat as a superfan but also if he were an entertainment news reporter on solely Nicki Minaj, he would challenge me in that sense too which is absolutely scary.
Nicki Minaj is known for going on the odd hiatus every now and again and Jayde says that this is when he finds himself lost. There is no news about her, no upcoming music and barely any if no social media posts at all. He jokes that this is the period of time where he has to spend time reflecting and discovering who he is without Nicki. But if he is perfectly honest with himself, which he is, he knows that she is so deeply entrenched in his life that she has become a part of him. So, he just refreshes on his already existing knowledge and tries to find out new information about her where he can whilst playing her music every second of the day simultaneously. I was sitting with Jayde at Provost Café on campus when threats of a new hiatus were looming and he said very clearly, “Can people stop pissing Nicki Minaj off, it is so unnecessary and some of us need her in our lives.” His face morphed from freshly baby faced with perfect skin into something that was lined and heavily stressed. He had wrinkles in the middle of his brows and those perfectly manicured nails were pinching the pressure point at the top of his nose.

Jayde “Minaj” is the perfect example of how celebrities impact the attitudes of their superfans.

Image Source: Taylia Meese

Jayde prides himself in knowing Nicki Minaj fluently and had learnt two songs within days of their release in preparation for her new album Queen which was released on the 10th of August 2018. ‘Barbie Tingz’ and ‘Chun Li’ became part of his vocabulary at an extremely fast pace. He has not perfected the entire album as I am currently writing this but he is very close. It is an impossible task to ask Jayde what his favourite song of hers is as each has a different impact on his life but from observation, the song that he seems to get most excited about is ‘Anaconda’. When the song starts playing, he does one dramatic clap and starts screaming in anticipation. He also gets very excited about the music video. One day he visited me and we put it on and it sparked an hour-long debate on whether or not Nicki Minaj’s butt is indeed fake. Goodness gracious, if I had known how passionate he would get, I would never have brought it up.  We explored deep archives and read many, many articles and the conclusion I eventually came to was: agree with Jayde, it is real.
He is extremely defensive, a fierce protector of miss Minaj. On the evening of Friday the 7th of September 2018, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B got into a physical altercation at the Harpers Bazaar ICONS party at New York Fashion Week. It is said that Cardi attacked Nicki for throwing insult to her newly born daughter Kulture and people were very quick in picking sides. Jayde was one of these people. Much like how he pulled up many facts to defend to me that Nicki’s butt was indeed real, he posted facts about how Nicki has always been nothing but supportive of Cardi’s growth and that Cardi was dramatic and incorrect. I tried to discuss with him that this was potentially a publicity stunt but again, he insisted that Nicki Minaj was not fake. He will fight for her until the very end. He is so loyal that it is inspiring.
Jayde has many favourite Nicki lyrics but he says that his favourite things that she says are when she does speeches in the middle of her concerts. She constantly talks about how you need to put yourself first and should never have to apologise for being who you are. You need supportive people in your life, but that you must never let anyone stop your growth. I was able to see this live and in person and I can say that it was incredibly inspiring, sending shivers down my spine. Jayde lives by this, he will not let anybody bring him down, he loves who he is and he will never explain or apologise for it. Nicki Minaj has helped him in this journey to selflove and self-acceptance in ways that people may not think. She has been an incredibly positive influence on his life. His attitude is definitely inspired by Nicki Minaj. He does not care what ‘haters’ say or think and he is going to do whatever pleases him in life, whatever helps him grow into an individual that he is proud of.

Now back to the accent. How did a coloured Afrikaans man that grew up in Grahamstown South Africa end up speaking in an American accent? It all began just over two years ago. He had a fascination with the accent and found it really pretty. He started playing around with the pronunciations of a’s in words like can’t and then eventually, one day he was speaking to one of his close girl friends and it came out naturally. He said he did not realise it had happened until she pointed it out but got so excited when he discovered that it had occurred. He has spoken in this accent fully for five years now. When asked what inspired him, he says that he has always been interested in American television and arts and it just stuck. If you were to have Jayde and Nicki Minaj talk about something passionately at the same time, although their accents are not the same, they sound very similar. She has had an impact on the way he talks, his worldly views and the way he thinks. Jayde is one of the biggest superfans I have ever met.

Jayde “Minaj” is the perfect example of how celebrities impact the attitudes of their superfans.

Image Source: Taylia Meese

Activities: 

 

You can see that Jayde engages the most with his celebrity through social media. He constantly reposts Nicki Minaj pictures and shares news articles that pertain to her. He is constantly sharing her successes. He has even engaged with her on Instagram where she has liked comments that he has made on material surrounding her. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram by either searching Jayde or Jaydie Minaj and see for yourself. He is also continuously listening to her music, learning every single word and advertising it to anyone that will listen. He also buys her albums and any magazines featuring her in order to acquire memorabilia. His whole wall is covered in posters of her.

 

Aesthetics:

 

 Jayde ensures to have his nails perfectly manicured. He grows them and shapes them by himself and he sometimes uses the aid of his sister to paint them. His favourite set of nails to date are the ones that spell out Nicki Minaj, a letter fitting to each nail. Nicki Minaj also promotes the colour pink, whether it be in her wardrobe choices or her album covers, pink is everywhere. Some of her albums also include pink in the title such as The Pinkprint. Thus it is one of Jayde’s two favourite colours. He likes to incorporate this colour into his wardrobe and nail colour choices and every time he sees it, he is reminded of Nicki Minaj. 

 

Attitudes:

 

Jayde is the utter embodiment of this category. He takes the words Nicki Minaj says, whether in lyrics or speeches, and adopts them into his every day life. He loves how unapologetic Nicki Minaj is and how unafraid of living her life she is. He said that she got him through some really tough times. She taught him that there are always going to be critics and the only person you need to please at the end of the day is yourself because only you have to live with yourself. Nicki Minaj does not let people affect her negatively and so Jayde has learnt to take a page out of her book. He talks like her and his life is Nicki Minaj according to his own words.

Interview with Jaydie Minaj, featured on RMRs Radio Show with host Taylia Meese. The show talks about celebrity gossip and has fun discussions and trivia with superfans.