Nicki Minaj Says ‘American Idol’ Gig Is A ‘Milestone’ For Hip-Hop

Nicki Minaj‘s new judging gig on “American Idol” came as a surprise to some fans, despite rumors that the deal was in the works for a few weeks, but initial reactions aside–Minaj maintains that it’s a huge leap forward for the hip-hop community.

Confirmation of the new position was met with mixed reaction — naturally — and while Nicki admits that she hears the criticism loud and clear, she’s also learned to look past it.

Minaj’s addition to the “Idol” judging panel was rumored for weeks, and finally confirmed a few days ago when she and Keith Urban joined Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson in New York to begin filming the new season. Most of her Barbz were thrilled with the move, while the naysayers had their own opinions, but in the end the Trinidad-born, Queens-bred rapper is looking at the bigger picture.

“It’s a milestone for me; it’s a milestone for hip-hop; it’s a milestone for young black women,” Nicki told MTV News, reflecting on the weight of her new gig. “Has there ever been a black woman [judging] on the show? This is a show that 20 million people watch so I feel like we should be represented on that show and I’m very proud of my decision to do it.”

Her decision to accept the “Idol” position wasn’t an instantaneous one, but in the end it was the right one. “Of course I had doubts but I had to realize that my fears of doing the show came a lot from what I thought people would say,” she explained. “I had to really think and [realize that] a lot of decisions I’ve made in my career, people thought I was f—ing crazy and I made them, and I continue to make the hard decisions. I continue to make the decisions that people don’t have the balls to make. And that’s what separates me from everybody else.”

Consider this another notch on Nicki’s million-dollar belt — one that will likely come with exponential bragging rights soon enough. “This is just gonna be another tough decision that Nicki Minaj makes,” she added. “Another thing that I’m gonna open the door and pave the way for people to do. And I think that’s where I am with it, just feeling with OK with me and my choices and not having to answer to anybody, because people will criticize you to the f—ing poorhouse. I’m very, very excited. I can’t wait for my Barbz to watch.”