The rapper Cardi B, who is rich and famous for reasons that escape my understanding, has recently faced some questions over an Instagram video she recorded three years ago. Usually I'm not a fan of beating people over the head with old comments and social media posts they made years prior, but the equation changes significantly when the post in question is a confession of violent crime.
In the video, Cardi B bragged that she used to lure men from the strip club where she worked back to a hotel, where she would proceed to drug and rob them. She doesn't say how often she engaged in this extracurricular activity, but she certainly seems to have done it more than once. In a barely coherent statement this week, she refused to apologize for the mulptiple felonies she committed, and excused herself by claiming that she had "limited options" and had to rob men in order to "survive."
Many of her fans seem to have bought this line, including a writer for Vox who assures us that the rap star will survive the scandal because she merely commited a "crime of survival" and should not be held accountable to the same degree as Bill Cosby or R. Kelly. I guess I have a different concept of what constitutes survival. Cardi B has recently boasted that she made upwards of $3,000 a night as a stripper. She says she had 20 grand — all in singles — saved by the age of 21 (cc: IRS). Are we supposed to believe that a woman who was raking in thousands a night, and had 20,000 one-dollar bills lying around her apartment, might have had no choice but to commit a series of robberies in order to stave off starvation? That is absurd, of course. She robbed those men purely out of greed. And she's not sorry about it. She'd do it again, it seems, if the rap money dries up.
This confession sheds a new light on the rapper's recent brainstorming session, wherein she suggested that women drug cheating men and trick them into sleeping with transexuals. Given her history of drugging men, and the very specific nature of the suggestion, we have to wonder whether she has tried this method of vengeance herself. It would be just another serious felony to add to the list. And we should note that these are crimes she committed recently. She's only 26 years old. She started stripping when she was 18. We're talking about felonies that date back no further than eight years. If you met Cardi B in 2011 or 2012, she may have tried to knock you unconcious with drugs and steal all of your belongings. Now she's a rich pop star who has done commercials and secured endorsments with brands like Pepsi and Amazon.
If we are going to overlook these sordid biographical details, let's be honest and admit that we're okay with it because she's a woman. The "survival" excuse doesn't wash for a woman who was making more money in one night as a stripper than most people make in a pay period. She was simply a lowlife and a criminal — and she still is the former. Perhaps the latter, too. Who knows? And if she is allowed to continue along in her career unimpeded, it will be solely due to her gender — female privilege of the most extreme and insidious kind.