"A hater do the most to get recognition by the person they HATE !" reads one of Cardi B
's more recent Instagram posts, a musician and celebrity famous for her hilariously unfiltered personality. Her other posts include promos for her music, or ads that she's done for other companies, flashy screenshots (I should say, crotch-shots) of this past week's Grammys performance with Bruno Mars
, a photo of her niece, her nails, and her and her sister all dressed up, again, at the Grammys. "LOOKING LIKE OUR MOM" reads the caption to one of these photos of her and her sister at the awards ceremony in a beautiful pink outfit. "Wish I could talk to you someday," someone has commented in response. "I'm from a small town in Maine, Rumford. And you've definitely made a difference for many young women like me in my town."
The commenter to Cardi's post may feel that she's made a difference in her and other young women's lives but the question is, what kind of difference exactly? Cardi B grew up in the South Bronx to an immigrant family and initially became famous for her unrestrained discussion of her life as a stripper, which she credits as having been a positive force in her life. She went on to write and produce "Bodak Yellow" and established herself as a talented rapper and singer/songwriter. She signed onto Atlantic Records, started posting funny things on Vine, put enough scantily clad pics on Instagram to rack up 17.5 million followers and, boom. She's the Cardi B of today that we all know and love.
On one hand, I can definitely understand why someone would feel like Cardi is a positive force in their life: she's kind of a rags-to-riches story. She grew up in a poor area to a poor family, was actually a member of the gang the Bloods--probably still is, not quite sure how that works--and had to become a stripper for money, which luckily turned out well for her. In an age of social media she was able to talk about it and profit off it--plus, she's funny, and kind of relatable. Her Twitter account is a series of over-the-top scathing posts that always make you laugh and think "Oh my god, it's so true".
And she doesn't try to cover up her accent or change herself or the culture she came from in order to conform; she's famous for having no filter. I'm sure that if you identify with her story and her background, it feels inspiring.
But what doesn't feel inspiring is when Offsett, her fiancé and famous rapper, reportedly cheats on her and she tweets this:
"This shit happens to everyone" isn't exactly what you want to your young women to hear. And this isn't an isolated incident: she defended a homophobic lyric Offset wrote recently that said he "cannot vibe with queers". Cardi insisted that "Now, that's a word that you guys say that it's a bad word for gays—I never even heard that word in the first place—why don't y'all educate people about it?"
Yikes, Cardi. I definitely wouldn't want my kid to grow up around people who defended that kind of BS. But I have to admit, there's a part of me that wonders if you can blame her, and if it's really her job to be a role model at all. I guess I'm just trying to say, if I had joined the Bloods when I was 16 maybe I'd think some dude cheating on me wasn't that bad, either. Not that she shouldn't be held to a higher standard, but that it's just possible she was influenced by the of culture and potential traumas that surrounded her growing up. And not that it shouldn't qualify her to be a role model--look at Eminem, look at Oprah--but maybe her shockworthy and cynical Twitter posts sort of make more sense.
And does it even make sense to put the onus of responsibility and publicity of political issues on pop stars, artists, celebrities? Aren't we supposed to have presidents and congresspeople for that sort of stuff? (Okay maybe not.) Cardi B chose not to wear a white rose at the Grammys, or make any comments about women's empowerment, she just performed her typically hilariously raunchy bit with Bruno Mars in a sexy ‘90s outfit and called it a day. But there has to be a middle ground between being the front of a complex political issue like women's rights and telling your Twitter fans that there's no solution to a man cheating on you.
Maybe her bad example is a positive force in its own right, like reverse psychology. It seems so blatantly incorrect to completely excuse your boyfriend's homophobic rap lyrics that there's no way it doesn't get you thinking. Either way, when you're in the public eye, everyone's going to see what you say, whether it's political or not. S why not try to make it a force for positive change? Or at least do something about your boyfriend cheating on you, rather than being submissive and not standing up for yourself. Whether or not public figures have a responsibility to stand up for the social issues they believe in, you have to remember that these days any kid with a Snapchat could film you walking your dog down the street. So just maybe it wouldn't hurt if you bought your dog a sweater that said "I support women's rights" on it. What I'm trying to say is, I like dogs and Cardi B, even if they can both get a little rowdy sometimes. And if that were me on the red carpet this past weekend, I probably would've taken the extra five minutes to put on my white rose.