What do Defense Secretary Robert Gates and hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj have in common?
More than you might think.
Gates was named the MTV college network’s first-ever Man of the Year, beating out pop stars and hip-hop powerhouses for the honor, which recognized the secretary as a “true role model.”
“College students inherently believe that they have the power and ability to change the system,” said Stephen Friedman, general manager of MTV, in a news release. “mtvU is proud to honor Sec. Gates because he stood up for what was right, and made historic changes to the system by focusing on the issues at hand rather than partisan rhetoric.”
Gates was praised for his “bold, reasoned” choices on military modernization, gender equity and, most important, his support for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.
And, while the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have consistently rated unpopular with the millennial generation, MTV’s Freidman suggested Gates and “this generation are completely aligned in their unwavering support of the troops.”
In its release, MTV cited Gates’ laundry list of awards and accolades.
“Secretary Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal and has twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal,” the release said.
“Now, in 2010, for consistently focusing on solutions for today so they’re not problems for tomorrow, and for rational and reasoned discussion instead of polarizing sound bites — he can add ‘mtvU Man of the Year’ to his list of accomplishments.”
As for Nicki Minaj? The “Your Love” hitmaker was named mtvU’s Woman of the Year.