After criticism on social media, Minaj posted an apology to the estate of Malcolm X.
Known for his civil rights work with black communities in the US, the African-American minister was assassinated 49 years ago this month."That was never the official artwork nor is this an official single. This is a conversation. Not a single," she wrote.
"I apologize to the Malcolm X estate if the meaning of the photo was misconstrued. I have nothing but respect [and] adoration for u."
She added that the artwork was in no way meant to "undermine his efforts and legacy".
I understand how my intent was overlooked and I definitely didn't want to offend his family or his legacy
In a US radio interview Minaj said that she wrote the song to empower women because there are too many songs that attack women.
"It was almost parallel in my opinion because he has this big gun ready to shoot,'' she said to Hot 97's Angie Martinez.
"I looked at it as this is one of the most memorable people in our history, in black history, who voiced his opinion no matter what, and I understand how my intent was overlooked and I definitely didn't want to offend his family or his legacy."
Re-posted from BBC News