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NewsMusic NewsAnti-vax protesters rally outside CDC in Atlanta, citing Nicki Minaj’s vaccine tweets

The organisation believed to have led the protests has a history of spreading vaccine misinformation

By Alex Gallagher

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj during New York Fashion Week in 2020. CREDIT: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

A group of anti-vaccine protesters recently rallied outside the Centre for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, shouting slogans referencing Nicki Minaj‘s recent controversial tweets about the coronavirus vaccine.

“Nicki Minaj told the truth to me. Fauci lied to me,” protesters were filmed chanting outside the CDC. Local television station CBS46 reported one of the protesters saying, “We are here because the CDC has been lying to us for so long”.

Initial coverage of the rally suggested that those protesting were Nicki Minaj fans encouraged by her misinformation-laden comments. But Insider reported earlier today (September 17) that the protesters are part of a fringe political group called the Black Hammer, capitalising on the media attention surrounding Minaj’s tweets. The group is a self-described “anti-colonial organisation that exists to take the land back for all Colonised people”.

Black Hammer also took responsibility for organising the protest on their Twitter, telling followers they would be outside the CDC as they were “fed up with the way the media is portraying Nicki Minaj”. After retweeting coverage of the protest, they went on to say that they would return to the CDC tomorrow (September 18) for “round 2”.

The organisation’s leader, Gazi Kodzo, can be seen leading the rally with a megaphone in viral clips of the protest.

Black Hammer has a history of sharing anti-vaccination sentiments. An article posted on their website in December last year made several false claims, including that “vaccines do not promise anything that will keep you safe from COVID-19” and that “many have experienced severe allergies and death” after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Reports of death after taking the COVID-19 vaccine are rare, the CDC website says, with a 0.0020% death rate reported of the 380million vaccine doses administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through September 13, 2021.

Though Minaj has yet to publicly comment on the protest, Insider notes that she did like a tweet by Atlanta-based politics journalist Stephen Fowler identifying the protesters as Black Hammer and noting their anti-vax stance, as well as “anti-Semitic remarks” they’ve made about Anne Frank (which the group denies).

Earlier this week, Minaj suggested she declined an invitation to the Met Gala due to the event’s requirement that attendees be vaccinated, writing on Twitter: “If I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research.”

She followed it up by saying that a cousin of hers in Trinidad refused to get the vaccine because a friend of his had become impotent as a result – something health officials around the world were quick to point out is not a known side effect of COVID-19 vaccination.

“His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied,” Minaj wrote in the now-infamous tweet.

In a press conference yesterday, the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Trinidad & Tobago’s Minister of Health, said the country’s officials had looked into Minaj’s claims.

“It is, as far as we know, at this point in time – there has been no such reported either side effect or adverse event,” he said, while the United States’ leading coronavirus authority Dr. Anthony Fauci refuted Minaj’s claims, told CNN that “there’s no evidence […] nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would” cause fertility issues in men or women.

The UK’s Professor Chris Whitty also said the rapper “should be ashamed of herself” for spreading misinformation.

Minaj has claimed she was extended an invitation to the White House following her remarks about the vaccine, but White House officials say she was simply offered a call.

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