Cosmopolitan claimed that their recent interview with rapper Cardi B was “Her most explicit interview yet”, and they may be right. The Bronx raised MC gave her explicit, unadulterated, and honest opinion about multiple topics during the interview, but her views on the #MeToo movement may be the most attention catching part.
During the interview, Cardi B expressed her doubts that the #MeToo movement would do very much to help curb sexual harassment in the world of Hip Hop, especially when it comes to video vixens and women whose commercial appeal stems from their sexuality.
“A lot of video vixens have spoke about this and nobody gives a f**k,” she said. “When I was trying to be a vixen, people were like ‘You want to be on the cover of this magazine?’ Then they pull their dicks out.” She also expressed doubts that video vixens in the situation would be taken as seriously. “I bet if one of those women stands up and talks about it, people are going to say, ‘So What? You’re a ho. It don’t matter.’” Cardi B also spoke about her doubts towards men who have publicly shown support for the #MeToo movement, saying “These producers and directors, they’re not woke, they’re scared.”
Although Cardi B is known for her sometimes wild and carefree outlook on life, there is definitely merit to the artist’s claims. It’s an understatement to say that video vixens have been left out of the conversation regarding harassment in the entertainment industry, both during and before the #MeToo movement. Not only that, but there is also evidence of an overall lack of representation of women of color when it comes to the social media campaign. Apparently, Cardi B isn’t the only woman of color who has these doubts in the #MeToo movement, as Amber Rose and many black female activists and journalists have vocalized the similar sentiments. “It just becomes frustrating to me because, now all of a sudden, all of the women that are in $20 million movies are coming out and now everybody wants to help.” said Rose in an interview with Paper Magazine. “They forgot about the regular people like us."
While the #MeToo movement has been gaining more mainstream attention since the allegations against Hollywood elites such as Harvey Weinstein, the movement was actually started years ago by black women. More specifically, it was founded by Tarana Burke, a black female civil rights activist who has spent her professional career founding and working for multiple organizations that benefit black women. Is it safe to say that it is unfair that even though Burke started the #MeToo campaign back in 2006, it’s is only getting attention over 10 years later after mainstream white celebrities have decided to mention it? Is it safe to say that it is unfair that although she is the founder of this movement, Burke is seen as more of an afterthought than the celebrities who are co-opting the movement? Maybe that is why when Michelle Williams asked Burke to attend the Golden Globes with her, Burke’s reply was “Why? I’m trying very hard not to be the black woman who is trotted out when you all need to validate your work.” according to an interview with The Guardian. Although Burke did attend the Golden Globes with Williams, her initial response does seem very valid.
So does Cardi B’s sentiment about the #MeToo movement have any validity? The fact that there is a lack of mainstream attention and sympathy, despite statistics showing that women of color are more likely to be victims of sexual assault definitely offers evidence to the rapper’s claims. Consider the fact that previous outcries of video vixens and black female entertainers regarding sexual harassment has fallen on deaf ears throughout the years, Cardi B may have a point. Considering the fact that the #MeToo movement seemingly ignores the issues of the group it was initially founded to benefit, while giving praise and attention only to the mainstream superstars behind it, Cardi B has a point.
How do we fix this issue? It’s difficult to tackle this issue without at least thinking “Why not focus on the ‘bigger picture’?” It’s difficult to answer the question of why race is involved instead of focusing on the issue of women being safe from sexual harassment. However, maybe the first step in improving the movement to better raise awareness for all women is to have a few outspoken people in the spotlight giving their opinion. Maybe this much needed process has been started by Cardi B.