by Malaika Salaam
Promise you I didn’t
luck up// Was grindin’ all night // Didn’t sleep ‘til the sun up
Now I got up on my shit // Walk around like I’m that bitch
So… On Sunday it was
announced that Cardi B. knocked Taylor Swift out of the box for the coveted top
spot on the Top Billboard 100 and the internet has been buzzing since. There has been lots of conversation about
Cardi’s meteoric rise to that No.1 spot and why all the excitement? There a few
reasons I can think of and I am absolutely biased!
But, Malaika she ain’t even Black, is she?
Yes, Cardi B. nee’ Belcalis Almanzar is indeed Black, born
of a Trindadian mother and Dominican father (though some Dominicans do not
identify as Black, they share African heritage). Also, Cardi B. identifies as
Black of Latino Heritage. There has recently been a lot of criticism of
Cardi and internet dragging as folks on
Twitter and other social media are prone to do… Her past transgressions have
been brought up multiple times and folks have been quick to label her problematic.
And she has admitted her transgressions, apologized and deleted as much as she
could of the bullshit she previously stated. Yes, it was colorist and
homophobic. And this is a wonderful place to clarify that Cardi being called
problematic is a side-effect of her being a problem. Yeah, that’s right! When
your star ascends, please know that everything that has been done on your imperfect
past at metamorphosed from roach to butterfly will be aired-out because in the
age of Social Media (which is how she came up) all your business can be found
and put in the streets to discredit you and bring you down. It’s how you handle
it that matters, so are you gonna remain a roach or be a butterfly?
But why is this like historic or whatever? Because y’all it’s been almost 20
years since a woman of color, who is a rapper made it happen. 1998. 1-9-9-8 y’all…
That’s a lot of time and a lot of overlooked talent. I mean since Lauryn Hill
Doo Wop (That Thing). Do you even know how many great Black Women artists that
rap have probably deserved it ??? And to be honest, she won the hearts of the
people and put the pressure on the industry to recognize her and yes, by proxy
us! And besides why we always gotta be pitted against each other? Why can’t a win just be a muthafuggin win?!
But ain’t she just a stripper, turned reality star turned rapper? Yes, and that
is precisely why this is pivotal (well for me at least). Cardi has said
interviews that she started stripping to escape the cycle of poverty and
domestic abuse. She used what she had to get what she wanted. And far be it
from me to shame or diminish sex workers for using the tools they have for
ultimate glowuptuation. Besides, haven’t
you heard, she don’t dance no more she make money moves! Additionally, her path
from the champagne room to the recording booth makes perfect sense to me. I
mean Hip Hop at it’s core was birthed as a voice for the voiceless. Hip Hop and
Rap have long been synonymous with speaking the language of and for
marginalized people and as a woman of color, she certainly occupies that
Screenshot from Twitter retweeted by FACTSxine Waters via Alana Massey
But, but, but… Listen, you don’t have to agree with the
message or the music or lack of musicianship but can we at least come to the common ground
that she has solidified herself in the Canon of Secular Saints as The Patroness
of Paid Hoes… I mean really, she did drop two mix tapes in 6 months, what bitch
is working as hard as her indeed? I am a sucker for a good started from the
bottom story and while I don’t buy Drake’s version of that EVER… Because
regardless of his Toronto upbringing with his Jewish mom, he is still a part of
Memphis Historical Musial lineage (look up Willie Mitchell). But Cardi B.
literally grew up in the P’s and had the disadvantages typically associated
with poverty and being a woman of color with few viable options because of
both. And she managed to turn nothing into something. Through social media
social with a “No Fucks or Filters” given persona she has spread a message of
non-traditional empowerment and self-love, while remaining authentic (I know
she got fake breasts and butt and you know what TF I mean) and vulnerable. She has shared her story unapologetically
(except where she totally need to apologize) and been ouchea rooting and
cheering and cheering and using her voice and platforms to support women,
especially women of color and that will always get love from me.
In closing… lemme slide this across le desk…
My sentiments exactly!