I Don’t Expect Cardi B to Fight for a Cause, She’s Making Too Much Money
Posted by Lailah Berry
February 22, 2018
Cardi B has captivated me ever since her videos on Instagram. From “ A hoe nevah gets cold” to being a stripper and about her “shmoney”, Cardi has shown me the true meaning of faith meeting opportunity. The champion story of Cardi makes me teary eyed every time I think of it. Her reflective song “Everything” where she highlights the struggles of her life really makes you think about how those without have to live. Cardi stripped her way into the entertainment industry and landed her spot on Love and Hip Hop. Portraying a hood- ratchet girl, she gave the show a lot of depth and ‘reality’, but I didn’t like to watch her on the show because I felt like it didn’t highlight her better characteristics. She was always very messy on the show to me.
Cardi’s fanbase grew and soon, she had the following of millions. Her honesty and brutal comments about life stuck with people, and she really became someone I looked up to. The way she stood up for women’s rights and equality was also an amazing feat. Cardi B spoke with The Gaurdian in an article about her sudden super stardom. “Everyone has a me inside them, that loud girl that just wanna go ‘ayyyy!’ No matter if you a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, it comes out. Like, aha, I got you being yourself for a lil two minutes or three, huh?” For me it couldn’t be truer, I was so consumed by Cardi’s personality that her music definitely called me to be myself.
In the past year, Cardi’s instant rise to fame has thrown her into the public eye where I feel like her world view isn’t going to be accepted by everyone. As much as I love Cardi I know the hood isn’t a politically correct place. It’s full of homophobia, and other problematic ways of life. Mostly because the people that inhabit America’s most impoverished areas don’t have the tools to learn more, but also partly because the black community is unwilling to accept outliers.
Cardi B just comes down and talks to you. She sugar coats nothing and is so honest about how she sees herself. Her comments about feminism with The Guardian were so honest. “People think they smart. Some people think being a feminist is having a degree, having a very high vocabulary, and it’s not – it’s a woman who thinks she has the same rights as men.” She levels everything out and doesn’t beat around the bush.
Cardi B’s light skinned privilege has paved the way for a lot of her success and, as a fan, I don’t want to admit it but it’s true. In the music industry they tend to choose fairer skinned women to make music. From Lil Kim trying to lighten her skin to fit the sexually fueled image of a female artists to Nicki Minaj and Cardi B being almost twins. It’s obvious the big labels have a type: light and thick. This is how they sell the sex to market the music to the fans and create revenue on tours. As much as I hate it, I can’t say that they’ve given any other dark skinned female rapper a chance since Missy Elliot. They cancelled Azalea Banks for being problematic, when we all know Cardi B is just as wild. I fell like dark skinned women in the industry aren’t as marketable because the world still prefers anything that’s close to European features.
When talking about darker skinned women, and dark people in general we get ‘othered’ very quickly. I’ve been overlooked in friendships, in relationships, and even seen as less intelligent because of my skin tone. I feel like people see my complexion and expect me to be “mean” or “ghetto”. I realize I definitely get it easier than dark skinned people with more African features. My small frame, thin nose and lips helps people see me as more of a model type. Like a Lupita or a Naomi Campbell. People compared me to Gabrielle Union and Keke Palmer for the longest. My glasses made it even worse; I may have been dark skinned, but I was “nerdy” and the fact that I liked books and cared to be smart in class set me apart as a brainiac. Somehow my brain power made my blackness fall away. The black kids in my school felt like I “acted white” and was “lame” because of all the things that made me different from them. I didn’t fit in the funny dark skinned girl box, the loud dark skinned girl box, or the thick dark skinned girl box. I was just lailah, no matter how hard I tried not to be.
It has been my experience that when I watch shows and movies the dark skinned woman is always the meanest or has the most attitude. There are multiple loud, angry dark women stereotypes. On the hit show “Martin” one of the character’s best friends Pam was a loud dark skinned woman. They her in clothes that showed her muscular build, and she hardly ever smiled. When I was younger watching the show, I never realized how stereotypical they made Pam. There may not have been many positive representations in music for me, but when I found Cardi B, I felt like color didn’t even matter.
Cardi’s mannerism and characteristic make her who she is. She’s witty, goofy, and loud with violent tendencies. The public eats it up. Her fans are adopting her “sshmoney making” attitude and getting extravagant nails to match. Cardi B is a light skinned woman who’s Dominican nationality separates her even more from the black community even though she was raised in a similar environment. Cardi hardly ever states her ethnicity to affirm her blackness but still uses the word “Nigga”. I’ve been under duress on the topic of Cardi B. While her rags to riches story is moving, I find it annoying they’re being so lenient with Cardi. She uses homophobic language and defended her fiance, Offset, after he used it in a song. But when Azealia Banks made homophobic and colorist gestures, she was cancelled for it.
I think Cardi is making all of these remarks and has yet to be held responsible for anything because her “realness” and the novelty of her diamond in the rough attitude is fascinating. Cardi B has a lot of learning and growing to do. As a fan I’ve been watching her since her club promoting and stripper days. I’m so proud of Cardi and I love her frankness in the public eye. But I can’t deny her light skinned privilege is what makes all of this so easy for her.
Seeing a woman go from sleeping in an apartment with an abusive boyfriend where there was bed bugs and drug addicts, to riding in thousand dollar cars, and being engaged to one of the hottest rap artists of our time is so moving. I want to have the kind of success with writing that Cardi B has with music because I feel like the process of realizing my worth and importance has been similar to hers. I hope that she speaks out on social justice matters soon, it really hurts to know that an idol of mine is benefitting from an oppressive system I have to go up against day in and day out. No matter what, I’ll be a Cardi B stan because she does represent the black community, and even though she’s backwards, she has room to grow.