Eat your heart out, Barbz.

Gag City

Fans are anxiously awaiting the drop of Onika "Nicki Minaj" Maraj-Petty's "Pink Friday 2" — and in the meantime, they've occupied themselves with artificial intelligence image generators to create visions of a Minajian utopia known as "Gag City."

The entire "Gag City" gambit began with zealous (and perhaps overzealous) fans tweeting at the Queens-born diva to tell her how excited — or "gagged," to use the drag scene etymology that spread among Maraj-Petty's LGBTQ and queer-friendly fanbase — they are for her first album in more than five years.

Replete with dispensaries, burger joints, and a high-rise shopping mall, Gag City has everything a Barb (as fans call themselves) could ask for.

Barbz Hug

As memetic lore will have you believe, these tributes to Meraj-Petty were primarily created with Microsoft's Bing AI image generator. The meme went so deep that people began claiming that her fanbase generating Gag City imagery caused Bing to crash, which allegedly led to the image generator blocking Nicki Minaj-related prompts.

When Futurism took to Bing's image creator AI to see what all the fuss was about, we too discovered that you couldn't search for anything related to Minaj. However, the same was true when we inputted other celebrities' names as well, suggesting that Bing, like Google, may intentionally block the names of famous people in an apparent effort to circumvent deepfakes.

Brand Opportunities

As creative as these viral Gag City images have been, it was only a matter of time before engagement-hungry brands tried to get in on the fun and effectively ruin it.

From Spotify changing its location to the imaginary Barb metropolis and introducing "Gag City" as a new "sound town" to KFC's social media manager telling users to "DM" the account, the meme has provided a hot pink branding free-for-all.

The Bing account itself even posted a pretty excellent-looking AI-generated Gag City image.

Sleazy brand bandwagoning aside, the Gag City meme and its many interpretations provide an interesting peek into what the future of generative AI may hold in a world dominated by warring fandoms and overhyped automation.

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