CARDI B: A CINDERELLA STORY
Congratulations are in order for Cardi B and Offset who have just welcomed their first daughter together, Kulture Kiari Cephus. 💕
Cardi B, who's real name is Belcalis Almanzar, has had a whirlwind of a year: her single 'Bodak Yellow' broke records by going to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, she got engaged and married to Offset from Migos, she had a hit single 'Finesse (Remix)' with Bruno Mars, her debut album 'Invasion of Privacy' went platinum, she announced her pregnancy on 'Saturday Night Live', she was the first ever co-host on 'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon', she broke more records with her second number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with 'I Like It' and now, she's given birth to her daughter - all in the space of 11 months! It really does seem to be a Cinderella story!
Cardi B at her first Met Gala 😍
When I hear conversations about Cardi B I often feel like the masses have missed the point altogether when it comes to why she is so successful. I’ll be the first to admit that despite “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It” being good songs, Cardi B is not the best rapper. Not by a long shot. What I refuse to deny however, is that she is an entertainer, a good one.
I once had a conversation with my cousin in which her argument was that Cardi was being praised for ‘bad’ behaviour and that her popularity was based on her living up to what is deemed cool in today's society - nudity, cosmetic surgery and ratchet-ness. What bothered her most was that in this generation of the “Instagram baddie”, young people would want to emulate her path and that it would lead to a lot of anti-social behaviour. Despite my not agreeing with her I could acknowledge that her perspective was valid, in fact I know many people share the same views and feel that Cardi is a bad influence on the youth.
People fail to realise that the reason Cardi is such an inspiration to so many and the real reason why so many people have embraced this unconventional route to stardom is not that they feel it's necessarily the 'right way' to do it but that she has remained unapologetically true to herself throughout. Those of us that were born in the era before social media know that in order to make it in the music business, women in particular had to be packaged a certain way in order to achieve success, this included strict rules on physical appearance, unquestionable talent and scandal free backgrounds. We also know that even upon “making it” these women were still subject to stringent rules of conduct that dictated that women spoke, dressed and behaved in a certain manner in order to be accepted into an industry that would still take advantage of them once it finally did give them access. #MeToo
Through all this she worked hard and has continued to do so which is can be noted through her various collaborations in music, fashion and television.Cardi B broke all those rules when trailblazing her way into our conscience. She was a proud stripper with an incarcerated boyfriend. She openly discussed her breast augmentation and the questionable materials she had injected into her butt in order to enlarge it. She spoke without any care for the correct use of grammar even though she had at some point gone to college ('university' for my British folk!) breaking the stereotype of and educated and intelligent person. She proudly displayed her Bronx roots and ratchet ways. She discussed everything from politics to morality and was able to gain a huge following on social media before eventually gracing our screens as a Love & Hip Hop New York cast member.
When she announced that she was pregnant while still working on her debut album everyone talked of the inappropriate timing and the effects this would have on her career. It is not unusual for a pregnancy to end a woman's career in ANY field but even more so, in an industry that requires you to have certain body measurements in order to be deemed marketable yet Cardi showed that with determination and hard work a woman can truly have it all; she performed at Coachella, Broccoli City Festival, Saturday Night Live and at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, presented with Jimmy Fallon, filmed various commercials, attended PR interviews and recorded music videos all while pregnant.
And THIS is why the world has fallen in love with Cardi. Not because she is a perfect role model but because she isn’t and has created her own path in an industry notorious for blocking people like her out. Because she has done it her way and still become successful. Because in a world full of fakes, she has remained authentic and showed respect to those before her (Nicki Minaj should really take notes here 🌚).
It’s not easy to stay true to yourself when everyone around you (in Cardi’s case that is literally millions of people) tell you that the way you are is wrong and should be adjusted to suit what is universally deemed acceptable. I’m sure that in many ways she has had to sensor herself in order to avoid losing what she’s worked so hard to build but for the most part, it is clear that Cardi is happy with who she is and will continue to break records with her success.
My one criticism of Cardi would be the amount of time she spends ‘clapping back’ on social media in response to negative comments. I’m sure this will greatly reduce now that she’s on mummy duty and I for one, can’t wait to see how many more barriers she is able to break okurrr! #BardiGang