Roman Holiday

Album: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)
Charted: 113


  • Minaj debuted this song at the 2012 Grammy Awards with a very odd presentation. Billed as "The Exorcism of Roman," the performance featured Minaj in character as her alter ego Roman Zolanski, confessing to a priest before being chained to a wooden board as if possessed by the devil. Eventually the Queens MC began levitating over the stage during the simulated exorcism. Finally, Minaj's alternate persona, Roman's unseen mother Martha, tells him, "Take your medication, Roman, take a short vacation, Roman. You'll be okay."

    Minaj explained the Grammy performance to Ryan Seacrest saying, "I had this vision for Roman [Zolanski], I had this vision for him to be sort of exorcised - or actually he never gets exorcised - but people around him tell him that he's not good enough because he's not normal, and he's not blending in with the average Joe. And so his mother is scared and the people around him are afraid because they've never seen anything like him."

    The performance sparked predictable outcry from the Catholic League and many social media users. Catholic League president Bill Donahue expressed his organization's displeasure at Minaj's offensive portrayal of possession, particularly "the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer." Later on in his statement, he criticized The Recording Academy for allowing Minaj's showpiece, saying, "What is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy. Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam."
  • Pink Friday: Roman Unleashed focuses on the return of Minaj's unpredictable alter ego Roman Zolanski, who was first featured on her 2010 debut album, Pink Friday. She kicks off the set with this song in which Roman proclaims, "I'm a lunatic and this can't be cured with no elixir."
  • Recognize the carol that Minaj randomly sings a couple of lines from in the bridge? - It's of course the Christmas classic "O Come All Ye Faithful."
  • Minaj's "Roman" is a character, but the original Roman Holiday was a 1953 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. In the movie, Hepburn plays a princess who takes a vacation to Rome (her "Roman Holiday") and does her best to cause dodge her handlers and have some fun.
  • The song experienced a resurgence in 2019 when it became a popular meme that originated with Minaj's fan base, the Barbz, celebrating their queen on social media by posting videos. Their clips were soundtracked by a sped-up version of "Roman Holiday."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"They're Playing My Song

"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike Rutherford talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.

Which Songs are About Drugs?Fact or Fiction

"25 or 6 to 4" to "Semi-Charmed Life" - see if you can spot the songs that are really about drugs.