Nicki Minaj posted a series of photos to Instagram that featured a new man, prompting relationship rumors for the famous rapper. The photos were taken during Minaj’s birthday weekend; she turned 36 on December 8. The photos and potential new relationship proved controversial to many of Minaj’s followers after the man was identified by TMZ as Kenny Petty. Minaj has not identified who the man is in her photos.
In the first intimate Instagram photo, Minaj cozies up to the man as he lifts one of her legs up and holds it against him; he looks affectionately at her, as she makes a kissy face to the camera. The second photo is a solo shot of her rumored boyfriend, as he looks away from the camera. The post, which has its comment section disabled, has over 1.95million likes.
Here’s what you need to know about the rumored relationship:
1. Kenny Petty Was Convicted of First-Degree Attempted Rape in 1995
Kenneth Petty is a registered level 2 sex offender in the state of New York. According to NYSexOffenders.com, Petty is a 40-year-old man who was sentenced to 18-54 months in state prison in April 1995. The crime was committed on September 16, 1994, and the victim was 16 years old. Although the registry says that the details are unknown regarding force used, TMZ reported that “prosecutors said he used a sharp object when he tried to force the girl to have sexual intercourse.”
2. Petty Pled Guilty to Manslaughter in 2006
The Blast reported that in addition to his 1995 conviction, “Petty pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a man named Lamont Robinson.” Citing a criminal complaint from the Queens Country District attorney on April 27, 2002, they reported that he shot the man three times in the stomach with a loaded handgun.
According to The Blast, Petty was originally charged with murder in the second degree, but “cut a deal” and plead guilty to manslaughter. Of the 10 years he was sentenced in prison, he served 7. The court records they obtained “indicate Petty was released in May 2013, and had been on supervised release for 5 years, until May of this year.”
3. Minaj & Petty Are From the Same Town
Accompanying the photos Minaj posted of the two of them on Sunday night were lyrics borrowed from Adele’s hit song “Hello:” “Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happens?… it’s no secret… that the both of us… are running out of time…” According to TMZ, this is a nod to Minaj and Petty’s “hometown connection;” both Minaj and Petty are from Queens, where TMZ reports they were friends.
In 2017, Minaj received an honorary key to Queens, New York, which Billboard reported was for “Minaj’s outstanding career achievements in music.” Though Minaj was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, she moved to and was raised in South Jamaica, Queens when she was 5.
4. This Is Minaj’s First Public Relationship Since Nas
BET reported that after beginning her relationship with Nas in June 2017, the music couple broke up in January 2018, “due to the constraints of their long-distance relationship.” At the time, rumors circled that Minaj was expecting a child with Nas, which was proven false. In September, Minaj appeared on The Ellen Show and expressed after three long-term relationships, “I didn’t know who I was minus a man, I am finally learning who I am, and I love myself. Everything I do now isn’t about pleasing some man, and that makes me feel so empowered. I can come and go as I please.”
E! News points out that this is not the first time Minaj featured her new man on her social media; on November 25, she posted two selfies with him. According to the filter added to the first photo, they were taken at 3:15am; she captioned the photos “You know da phkn vibez #QGTM” (“QGTM” stands for “Queens Get the Money,” according to one Instagram user who commented on the post). In the second photo, Minaj is wearing a sizeable diamond ring on her left ring finger, making some wonder if she was engaged; fans pointed out that it looks like the same ring her ex, Meek Mill, bought for her.
5. Minaj Is Defending Her New Relationship
After Kenny Petty’s history was uncovered, Minaj’s fans, who refer to themselves as “Barbies,” took to social media to express their disapproval. One fan, @_blairm, commented on an Instagram photo Minaj posted of the two of them Monday evening, writing “Dear Old Nicki please call back;” @onika_defense wrote “Nicki, we’re worried about you. Not just because we don’t want you to get more hate but because we don’t trust him and we don’t want to see you get hurt.”
One Instagram user, @annaadol_, took to Minaj’s defense, commenting “Wait y’all calling this man a rapist but it happened in 1994, meaning he was 16 or 17 & the girl was a 16 year old… must’ve been a white girl.” Minaj responded to the comment, writing “he was 15, she was 16… in a relationship. But go awf, Internet. y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo.”
To further respond to criticism, Minaj posted two more photos with her new man, with the caption “Oh they wanna talk? Let’s give’m smthn to talk about.”