When Billboard named Cardi B Woman of the Year many of you turned your noses up and wondered why this rapper had bagged such an accolade. Well, the reason is simple: Cardi is more than a rapper, she's a role model.
Following the announcement and the ensuing backlash, Cardi took it upon herself to shut down critics, so we'll leave it to her to explain why she deserves this title, in her own words:
“For you crybabies that’s like ‘what? she only got one song’ – yeah I got that song, bitch,” she said in an Instagram video. “You know? The one that sold the most, the one that streamed the most. The one that had republicans on Fox News crying about it. The one that’s about to be six times platinum in three months. The one that had your grandma popping her pussy on TikTok. Yeah, bitch, that one.”
She continued, “For over a year, I’ve been influencing and using my platform for y’all to vote, not just when Joe Biden was going up against Trump. I’ve been informing y’all about your senators, I’ve been informing y’all about districts and midterm elections. Using my money, my own money, to meet up with these candidates like Bernie. Flying out, tired after shows. Yeah, that was me, bitch.”
Cardi B said it best, now let's put it in perspective for you. With one single, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion almost instantly broke the US record for the most first-week streams for a song. "WAP" quickly became the song of the year, inspiring not only a viral TikTok dance but rousing a much-needed conversation about women's empowerment and misogyny.
While her "wet ass pussy" allegory was supposed to be one of celebration and pride, somehow Cardi's "bucket and a mop" quip ended up resonating more for the conservative tears it inspired. The Black women-led anthem became an issue of contempt for the conservative camp of white men, who were deeply offended by Cardi and Meg daring to celebrate their pussies – unlike the President who just grabs them without consent. Cardi offered a classic unbothered response: "They keep talking and the numbers keep going up."
This wasn't Cardi's first rodeo with the conservative right. The Bronx-born rapper has been irking Republicans long before "WAP" with her unashamed and relatable political activism. During perhaps the most chaotic and disheartening U.S. administration, Cardi B became the political activist we need.
Long before the 2020 election, Cardi was lending her voice and her platform to highlight progressive leaders and issues, making the establishment more approachable for the disenfranchised youth and racial and ethnic minorities. Her efforts included a prescient heart-to-heart with Senator Bernie Sanders, calling out the government for its inadequate response to Covid-19, and demanding Black Lives Matter remains top of Joe Biden's agenda.
From the Bronx to stripping, to reality TV, to becoming a reputable rapper and activist, Cardi's come up serves as an inspiration to many. She's not only the Woman of the Year – to quote Chaka Khan and risk being cheesy – she's every woman.