Cardi B's Sexual Politics Are Personal, Complex, And On-PointAnyone who has ever taken an intro to feminism course has heard the old adage that the personal is political. It's still true today, however, an ideology around sex that is founded on the very basic belief that what works for our personal needs may not be what's best for everyone else is necessary. Cardi gets that. Her needs are specific, her desires are specific, and she can articulate both without condemning those who don't share them. We need more of that energy.
Just last year I didn't really know who Cardi B was. You see, I try to stay up to date with what's going on in the world and I read a TON of online sources, so I've read about her here and there. Her exploits and her penchant for being really candid have had people talking for awhile. Her beef with other artists and her shenanigans in several online platforms have been discussed. Her almost liberating sense of being a sexual person is out there. But I did not really know who she was or why was she being mentioned so often.
I had not paid attention to her music, either. That is, until the Grammys. There was Dolly, being awesome. There was Janelle Monae, being fantastic. But I think Cardi stole the show, not only because she was nominated (and won) for best rap song but because her stage presence was so awesome. She was rocking some AMAZING vintage Thierry Mugler and in her performance I saw a lot of that braggadocio that you usually associate with male artists. She was fun, she had showmanship, she was unapologetically sexual. And suddenly, I was a fan.
Then there was this:
I was born to flex (Yes)
Diamonds on my neck
I like boardin' jets, I like mornin' sex (Woo)
But nothing in this world that I like more than checks (Money)
All I really wanna see is the (Money)
I don't really need the D, I need the (Money)
All a bad bitch need is the (Money flow)
I was hooked. Who was this girl who was rapping basically from my own perspective? I had seldom heard this coming from a mainstream female artist in an event like this. Yeah, I know Madonna was shockingly sexual when she came down that cake during the first MTV music awards. But it's been awhile since she did that. I realized that if I were a female that would be my mantra. Cardi comes across as very down to earth, grounded while preaching the gospel of materialism and sexual freedom. She does not hide that she likes sex. But she lets others know that we are free to join or not. Love!
As a gay man, I have been demonized by the media and the religious right as a freak who only thinks about dick. Well, I do think about dick a lot but hey. Don't we all? So when I went over the idea of who Cardi is (it's a persona, of course, because only Belcalis Almanzar knows who Cardi B is) and I found out that she comes from the reality tv world (no wonder I had no idea who she was) and that she became popular by posting videos of herself talking about hustling and talking candidly about being a stripper. Yep. She used to be a stripper. And I find her narrative much more fascinating than that of, let's say Kim Kardashian, who became famous by leaking some sex tape of her and Brandi's brother. And Cardi can also be political. So sex and politics, huh? Yes, please.
You’re so blinded with racism that you don’t even realize the decisions the president you root for is destroying the country you claim to love so much .You are a perfect example on no matter how educated or smart you think you are you still a SHEEP! https://t.co/khRpoOt16B— iamcardib (@iamcardib) January 20, 2019
I find Cardi B more compelling and I find her music and persona to be much more of a political statement of many other female rappers (or famous reality stars) out there. I am not a rap music fan, so I actually had to go look for the lyrics of her songs and they are fun, and dirty and blunt and awesome. Writing rap rhymes is not easy, so I give her props for being able to keep the tradition of oral storytelling alive and kicking. All the while being politically aware and committed to her own brand of feminism.
Her voice has been heard and it has been considered, in all her potty mouthed glory, even by politicians. She spoke about the government shutdown and shit got very real. She speaks to the masses but she speaks a language that many people can relate to. After all, that's her business.Basically https://t.co/GXLafg0jrE— iamcardib (@iamcardib) January 25, 2019
Cardi B posted an expletive-filled Instagram video tonight slamming the government shutdown, saying she's scared and calling for some type of action to help affected workers. Some Democratic lawmakers are debating whether to share it pic.twitter.com/SLsvZVe1dH— Faith M. Karimi (@FaithMKarimi) January 17, 2019
I like other women who have carved their niche in male-dominated music fields but none get more of my admiration than women who muscle her way into the rarified atmosphere of rap and hip-hop. Missy Elliot, Little Kim and Nicky Minaj come to mind. I also love Khia and Kelis who had dabbed in other genres too. But right now I'm fascinated by Cardi B. She's charismatic, she's confessed that she does not drive (and has almost messed up James Corden's car!) but that she has several cars and that does not let men (or bigoted women) put her down because she was a stripper and because she likes the D. Or because she IS political. She is not trying to convince anybody to follow her steps but she's not ashamed of who she is and where she's been or about what she thinks. She's aware of the moment we live in, and I feel that if I were a girl, I would be like her. Yep. I'd be THAT girl with a reputation and a mouth to match.