Nicki Minaj was honored at the 2019 Billboard Women in Music ceremony with the Game Changer award. During her acceptance speech, she took the time to pay tribute to late-rapper Juice WRLD, who passed away at age 21 earlier this month.
Minaj and Juice WRLD toured together for 19 shows in Europe from February 21, 2019, through March 28, 2019, on the Nicki Wrld Tour.
“I recently had the pleasure of working and touring with Juice WRLD,” Minaj said. “I had a great conversation with him one day and while we walked to the stage he held my hand and told me to stay calm and to pray. He said he had been trying to do just that. I was so shocked to hear him, of all people, tell me that. But right there in that moment with him telling me that, I actually did feel calm. And I felt like, what am I actually worried about?
“Looking back now, I wish I did something differently or said something to help. He spoke to me in detail about how in love he was with his girlfriend and how passionate he was about music. And when he was in the studio with me, he did so many songs so quickly. He was honest and pure about what he felt and that inspired me.”
She also took the time to discuss mental health and drug addiction.
“I wanna tell everyone that drugs isn’t the problem, it’s the way we fix our problem,” she said. “So it’s important that we don’t pass judgment so that people don’t feel ashamed to speak up and ask for help. It’s so important that we talk about mental health, it is, because people are dying because they don’t want to express how miserable they are and how much they’re suffering so they’d rather medicate themselves.”
Juice WRLD passed away at age 21 on Sunday, December 8 after suffering seizures at Chicago’s Midway Airport in the early hours of the morning. Juice WRLD was transported to the local hospital before ultimately being declared dead. Juice WRLD had arrived in Chicago after taking a private jet from Los Angeles.
According to the report, Juice had taken “several unknown pills” before landing in Chicago and suffering his seizures. Members of the rapper’s team reportedly revealed the information to law enforcement. There was also a bottle of codeine cough syrup that was found.
In addition, 70-pounds of marijuana was seized from the plane.
Two members of Juice WRLD’s entourage — Chris Long and Henry Dean — were also arrested for possession of handguns. Both men were reportedly members of the rapper’s security team. charged with one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a weapon. Dean, meanwhile, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon at an airport and one count of possession of a high capacity magazine and piercing bullets.