Born in the Bronx to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi B, a natural born hustler, has clawed her way out of poverty with stiletto shaped manicured nails and unwavering determination. In an interview with VladTV.com, Cardi says that being a stripper saved her life. At the age of 19, she turned to exotic dancing as a way to financially escape her abusive boyfriend. She made a promise to herself that she would retire from dancing by the age of 25. At 23 years old, Cardi B quit her job as a stripper and took the internet by storm via Instagram with hilarious, relatable, and opinionated videos on topics like sex work, sexism, and slut shaming.
Cardi’s brand of feminism is just what the world needs. In one of her infamous IG videos, Cardi B explains that feminism is not just for women who have college degrees: “If you believe in equal rights for man and woman that makes you a feminist. I don’t understand how you bitches feel like being a feminist is a woman who that has an education, that have a degree—that is not a feminist.” Cardi’s inclusive style of feminism gives a voice to marginalized groups including black and Afro-Latina women and sex workers.
Her boisterous social media presence has caught the attention of many in Hollywood. Her first appearance on TV was a cast member role on VH1’s popular reality show Love & Hip Hop New York. She has also guest starred as an actress on BET’s drama Being Mary Jane. But Cardi damn sure isn’t finished making it rain on us. She continues to build her self-made empire through her rap skills.
In less than a year, Cardi B has released two mixtapes titled Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 and Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2. As a black sex worker and feminist from the hood, Cardi’s music resonates with me. Songs like “Sauce Boyz” and “Lit Thot” disses men who are not worthy of Cardi’s time because they can’t afford it. Just like every sex worker in the world, I’m sure that Cardi has dealt with broke time wasters that have nothing to offer other than dick and hot breath. In the song “Hectic”, Cardi gives us a seductive mellow flow with a touch of raunchiness reminiscent of how Lil’ Kim rapped in the 90s. The themes of both bodies of work are getting money, not wasting energy on men of no financial value, and having overflowing confidence no matter what you’ve gone through in the past.
Her current hit single “Bodak Yellow” is a summer banger that emphasizes Cardi’s impressive hustling skills and the new life they’ve awarded her. “Got a bag and fixed my teeth, hope you hoes know it ain’t cheap!” she exclaims. In the chorus, she celebrates her exit from sex work and her new position as a boss bitch in Hollywood: “I don’t dance now, I make money moves,” she proudly chants.
“Bodak Yellow” is all about securing the bag. It is a song that motivates you to get up and go to that hellish nine-to-five job you so desperately wish to quit. It’s that song that makes a “regular schemgular” girl working at Walmart feel like she is that bitch when she plays it on her lunch break. It is that song that hypes up strippers, webcam models, and full-service sex workers alike when they’re getting dolled up to scam men out of their coins. Despite what the critics say, Cardi B is an influential and inspirational person who this culture needs desperately, and she knows it: “They see pictures, they say goals, bitch I’m who they tryna be!” Let this be a lesson to all you naysayers: Never underestimate a “stripper hoe” who is all about her money.