Cardi B: ‘I made the choices that I did at the time because I had very limited options’

Ghislaine, Amanda and Brooke talk at Womens confernece

I’m a lowkey Card B fan and yes, I know she’s done and said some problematic stuff. I just hate when people write her off completely rather than giving her some grace to grow and learn. This is sort of the point of Cardi’s interview with Elle Magazine, for their September cover story. Cardi is promoting her new album, but in this interview, she’s mostly talking about politics, feminism, cancel culture and a lot more. One of her best qualities is her commitment to talking about politics, economics and history through her working class, plain-spoken and sometimes obscene way. You can read the full Elle piece here, and here are some highlights:

She’s voting for Joe Biden: While she may be disappointed that Sanders has dropped out of the race, she assures me she is committed to doing anything to get Joe Biden elected. She wants Trump out of office, “Those people that he caters [to], he’s not going to do anything for them. It’s not like Republicans are getting better housing. It’s not like Republicans are getting better benefits. They’re not. He’s not doing anything for anybody. He’s just saying things that appease the same people.”

She’s spoken to Breonna Taylor’s mom, Tamika Palmer: “[I saw] Breonna Taylor’s name everywhere, but I didn’t really know her story. What they did to her is really f–ked up… What’s the excuse? Why is the cop not in jail? Wasn’t what he did a crime? It’s a crime! And no apology. No apology. No video of the cop coming out crying, ‘I f–ked up. I don’t this. I don’t that.’ Nothing. It’s nothing. I don’t even know how her mom still holds her head up. Unbelievable.”

She wishes male rappers would speak about Breonna Taylor: “A woman like Breonna Taylor, she was young. She looked like she was listening to your music. She looked like she was your fan. You should stick up for her.”

On the real video of her using the racist term “chinky eyes”: “Never in my life, my 27 years, I never even knew that was a racial slur. I was describing my husband’s and my sister’s eyes, and my daughter’s eyes…. I don’t even know how to describe their eyes anymore because that’s how I used to describe their eyes. I don’t even know the word. That they’re almond shaped? But it’s like, I never knew that. And for people to be like, ‘She’s using a racial slur. She’s disgusting.’ And it’s like, ‘Bro, I didn’t even know that was a racial slur…. I didn’t say it…with no bad ill intention.’ ”

On everything else she’s been cancelled for: “I made the choices that I did at the time because I had very limited options. I was blessed to have been able to rise from that, but so many women have not. Whether or not they were poor choices at the time, I did what I had to do to survive.”

Why she thinks people are always yelling at her: “I feel like people are attacking me because they want me to feel the pressure of bullying, and they want me to give up, and they want me to say, ‘Oh, I quit music’ or ‘I’ll delete my Instagram, delete my Twitter,’ and I’m not willing to do that. No one will ever have that much power [over] me.”

On feminism: “My music is always going to make a woman feel like a bad bitch. When you make a woman feel like she’s the baddest bitch in the room, to me, that’s female empowerment.”

On her marriage to Offset: “I do know that my relationship has a lot of drama and everything. But there’s a lot of love there’s a lot of passion, there’s a lot of trust, there’s a big friendship. It’s always us against the world. If you all are so curious to know about my relationship and blah, blah, blah, I’m going to put it in the f–kin’ music, and you can buy it, too. I’m not going to give it to you all for free.”

[From Elle]

The interview ends with Cardi comparing life to a strip club and her metaphor was so evocative and profound, it actually really impressed me. She basically said that every woman has to embrace their own uniqueness and realize that it’s not about the girl in front of you or the girl behind you being better or richer or prettier (in the strip club of life), it’s about being awesome to yourself and celebrating who you are. Then you shouldn’t expect to be the only stripper who gets paid, it’s just about getting YOUR coins.

Not so profound? Cardi’s excuse for that recent racial slur. I mean, yes, she’s sorry about it but come on, she knew it was offensive.

Photos/covers courtesy of Elle/Elle IG.

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65 Responses to “Cardi B: ‘I made the choices that I did at the time because I had very limited options’”

  1. Levans says:

    Cardi low key is the political commentator we need! She understands the working and middle class so well!

    Her excuse for the slur is bad. I also understand how she didn’t mean for it to be offensive as almond eyes are considered a desirable feature. Hopefully she will do better, and thats all we can really ask.

  2. A says:

    I’m not gonna lie i never knew it was a slur. That’s how i and everyone else used to describe my eyes. Obviously i will never use that term ever again. But yeah i belive her

    • Laalaa says:

      Agreed, I never knew.
      I also never knew that it’s not appropriate to speak about spirit animals like people do in popular culture “what’s your spirit animal”, etc, and I learned that from Kerry Washington after she got called out in her IG comments

    • Wow2 says:

      I have a similar story. I was driving with my bf and his friend. I don’t remember the exact convo but I used the term paki. In my 35 years I never knew it to be a racist term. Turns out my bfs friend is from Pakistan and he educated me. I felt so awful and told him that in all my years I never heard it used in a racist way, I’ve only heard it used to describe a person’s nationality but never in a derogatory way. I thanked him for educating me and apologized to him profusely.

      Alot of the times white people dont know our own privilege and its sad that it takes situations like this to teach us. It taught me alot, and I am grateful to Sam that he didn’t make a big deal about it or make me feel worse than I already did. It was a real eye opener.

      • Julie says:

        I’m glad the rest of you are so ready to forgive her for it. I like cardi b a LOT. And I don’t approve of cancellation. But as a mixed race Asian-American, I’ve been angrily and gleefully been called a “chink” in one form or another too many times to count. Her ignorance on the matter was her choice, and that is NOT an apology. Its one of the worst asian slut apologies I’ve heard from a celeb.

        Still a fan, but now a hesitant one

      • Julie says:

        *edit slur not slut! We do not slut shame here at celebitchy!

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Julie: Yeah. I go back and forth on Cardi B sometimes. She could have given a better apology.

      • Argus says:

        @Wow2, I appreciate that you made the effort to understand why ‘Paki’ is offensive. Props to you for owning up and learning from this experience. As a South Asian origin woman living in the UK, I’ve been referred to as ‘the Paki’ (my family is not from Pakistan) by white acquaintances in the past and I mostly just shrugged it off because I’m so used to it. One of the reasons why I didn’t get riled up about Prince Harry calling his army colleague ‘my little Paki friend’ is because I guess I’m desensitised to it as an offensive slur. Maybe I should follow your friend’s example and take the time to educate people who may not know any better if it happens again.

    • Elo says:

      I learned in my 30’s that one of the things I’ve been saying since I was a kid was a racial slur towards Asian people, specifically Japanese people. I grew up in an area with very few Asian people and I didn’t form that association.
      Additionally I didn’t know until my 20s that gyp- was a slur, I didn’t make the connection because I had never seen it spelled and figured it was jip
      Now I know better so I do better. That’s really all anyone can do.

      • Bubbled says:

        I have also been called a “chink”, “angrily and gleefully” as Julie says, in a way that it was clear the speakers knew it was a slur. Also have been called a “Jap” – same thing. Just so it is clear to everyone reading this post, “gook” is also a slur for Asian people. Please don’t use these terms anymore. I am willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I do think that mocking Asians is often considered “acceptable” and “funny” in a way that mocking African Americans, for example, is not.

        I took a dialect class in an acting school where we practiced all kinds of accents, and when I did a demonstration of various Asian accents, the class burst into laughter as if those accents were a joke. I just waited until they stopped laughing and then continued.

      • Bubbled says:

        [accidental double post]

  3. A Deer says:

    I’m a lowkey Card B fan and yes, I know she’s done and said some problematic stuff. I just hate when people write her off completely rather than giving her some grace to grow and learn

    THIS right there.

    Maybe it’s because I’m tired of how to be Valid(TM) in minority spaces (BIPOC and LGBT+ spaces, for example) you have to be an academic or need to be at least a person with higher education. Working class people’s voices are being silenced.

    Sorry that my mental illness and poverty wasn’t the pull-myself-by-the-bootstraps story someone of y’all wanted and this b-tch simply couldn’t graduate from college, but I have a voice, and the fact that people like me are being shunned as failures or as not intelligent enough for the model minority PR game is disgusting.

    We need more people like Cardi B, in that sense.

    I can’t get behind her relationship with Offset, though. He’s scum and she deserves better.

    • SomeChick says:

      I totally agree.

      If respectability politics worked, it would have worked already.

      Also there is a total double standard in how men are treated compared to how women are. Men get passes for all kinds of things. Women are supposed to be quiet and pretty and nice.

      I appreciate that Cardi speaks her truth and that she won’t be silenced or forced into a mold to suit anyone.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      All of this. That is a problem sometimes in the feminist movement. You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to recognize abuse and inequality. It’s not good when a person thinks their degree trumps the lived experiences of those they claim to be fighting for. There’s a similar problem with privileged older white housewives who brag about their travels around the world and use them to shame and silence woc at home.

    • Mindy_Dopple says:

      ALL OF THIS! She stands so strongly in her validity. She is a human being. She is a woman. Her story isn’t the one ya’ll wanted and it’s not the one she wanted either ya’ll be here she stands and she’s got something to say.

  4. Ai says:

    I find it hard to believe that people don’t know that ‘chinky eyes’ is a racist term. I wished she just own it instead of the I don’t know excuse. Did she apologize tho because the above isn’t one. I do think she is trying but she’s gonna have to show going forth that she understood.

    • Sunnee says:

      My dad is part indigenous Central American. His eyes are small, ( so was my grandmother’s) I don’t know how to describe them, like they’re always squinting. Not only does he have the epithelial fold he could never seem to open them fully. They always looked half shut. He described it as chinky eyes. My dad did not think chinky refers to Chinese. He’s from another country. English is not his first language. I think he thought it referred to a chink in the curtain. Like when it’s open a little bit. I looked the etymology up and chink can refer to a cleft or a fissure or a slit. As in a chink in the armor. So, NO, not everyone realizes it’s racist.

      • Me says:

        That’s some serious mental gymnastics there.

      • Emma33 says:

        I don’t know why that is mental gymnastics when Sunnee is talking about her father using the word to describe his OWN eyes, and not realizing where the word came from.

        I’m Australian and went to university in the US. I was talking to another student one day and used the term ‘Indian’ instead of Native American, and she looked at me like I’d just spat on her. When I stopped to think about it, of course, ‘Indian’ is not all all he correct way to describe Native Americans – but I was Australian and was just repeating what I’d heard people say in Australia.

        I think we absolutely can use words that are offensive – even on ourselves – without knowing.

    • sealit says:

      I have a hard time too Ai. I am part Asian, and I have eyes that are larger than the average Asian, but still almond shaped. If someone walked up to me and said chinky eyes, I would absolutely be offended. Just because she claims not to know doesn’t take away from the offense. If someone said the n word with a “y’ on the end, would it soften the blow? And I’m not going to argue the point. I am Asian and this is how I feel when I hear the word chinky.

    • Leskat says:

      I agree. I’m approaching 40 and for as long as I can possibly remember or think about “chink” has been a slur. It’s never NOT been a slur to me and I grew up in a tiny Canadian prairie cowboy town, and it was racist there so… all those people trying to justify it as they didn’t know are lying.

  5. Léna says:

    Women always have to be “perfect” in today’s world to be loved. She isn’t, but so are a majority of male entertainers. Why are we always expecting more of women than men? So annoying.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      The thing about the double (and tripple) standard there is that love isn’t even really what’s being required- no entertainer is really owed love. If the issue was just everybody being free to forgive problematic male artists while not being allowed to do the same for problematic female artists, that would be bad enough. It’s the fact that the women have to begin damn near perfect just for their misogynistic abuse and some of the racism or homophobia thrown their way to matter. Just for other women to be able to say, “It’s not okay to treat people this way.”

    • Me says:

      It’s too much to expect that she’s not a racist POS? That’s complete bullshit.

      • Léna says:

        I do not disagree with you, I find her very problematic. But I don’t like the double standards : white men will say and do much more horrible things and will be given a lot of second chances. I’m just pointing that out.

  6. Yoyoma says:

    Is she still talking about being a stripper in the past or that last time she hired a man to beat up some women for flirt with offset?

    • Geeena says:

      she also used to drug men and rob them, I would assume she’s referring to that as well

      • vertes says:

        This!! She drugged men in order to rob them because she had “limited choices” and did what she had to do to “survive.” BS. Could burglars, embezzlers, kidnappers & bank robbers use the same excuse? I consider her amoral scum. She’s a cheap grifter whose actions were only for her own monetary gain, with some meanness thrown in.

      • Call_Me_Al says:

        Yeah, I just can’t get past all these incidents. I mean, I like some things she has to say and the way she uses her platform, but I’ll never stan.

  7. SJR says:

    I like the fact that she says she did what she had to do to survive and she realizes that not everybody gets out of the strip club life, lots don’t, I think.

    Now, why give her a hard time because she used to work in a strip club, when Jay Z talks about dealing drugs to get a start to survive? Talk about a double standard that needs to stop.

    She might not be perfect but I like her.
    It would be better, IMO, if she would would openly apologize for the racial statements, she knew the phrase she used was offensive.
    She is young yet but she seems to be a strong person in running her own life, making her own choices and keep going.
    Her working at a strip club did not injure or victimize anyone else, so STFU about it.

    And, hell yes, we working class people are ignored and silenced every damn day in USA!
    Lower income means less respect, fewer choices and a general attitude from others that we are not as good as wealthy people.

    I don’t care how much money Team Trump has/claims to have, they are Awful people.

  8. ce says:

    Two things: one, I love reading cardi’s interviews and I think she’s a really bright and interesting person… but no, I don’t liker music! I think I’m the only one. Two, growing up my family used the same term to describe our family’s eyes on my dad’s side (a Caribbean grandmother has Chinese ancestry) and I used it unawares for many years that it was offensive also :( when I realized I had used the term in public and what I was actually saying, I was so mortified. Like, there really is some blind spot between the term “ch*nk” and “ch*nky” for some reason… I don’t know why but I do feel her on this one :/

  9. Emma says:

    A great point from her about no male rappers talking about breonna

    Did Kanye include breonna in his latest video ? Noone else comes to mind.. very valid point…

  10. Boxy Lady says:

    I live in NY and I know a lot of Dominicans. A LOT of them use the word “ch*nky” to describe eye shape. When I’ve said, hey that’s a bad word, they’ve said, what, no it’s not. I can totally believe that she didn’t know it was a racial slur, as in she didn’t know the origin and history of the word.

    • Jay says:

      I’m also from NY and agree there’s a subset of POC here that would absolutely use the term with no ill intent, maybe even praise it as a desirable trait!

      I don’t agree with Cardi that there’s no way she could have known it was a slur – I think if you gave it any modicum of thought, you could realize that – but I do believe that she wouldn’t know any other word to use to describe that shape of eyes. “Almond-shaped” never struck me as particularly descriptive and the first time I heard it, I couldn’t figure out what that actually meant.

  11. BlueSky says:

    I get tired of the slut shaming women endure
    because they are/were strippers. It’s very easy for people to say “get a real job” or “go to school”‘. My in-law’s niece works as a stripper. For a lot of people, their options are limited, especially if you are dealing with systemic racism, jobs that don’t pay enough to live off of, and a system that is designed specifically to keep you from succeeding. Even with a degree, it didn’t stop people from discrimination when it came to jobs. I appreciate when celebrities use their platforms to bring attention to certain issues and causes.

  12. SomeChick says:

    I wish the Elle interview had been longer. Went on to read the Katie Porter interview – she’s a congresswoman from Orange County California, which had never before gone Democrat. Very inspiring!

  13. Angel says:

    So drugging and stealing people is a choice now ?

    • ME says:

      It seems like this woman will always get a pass no matter what. Now saying a racial slur is ok in some people’s minds because it came out of Cardi’s mouth and not Kim Kardashian’s is a whole new level of protecting Cardi from any and all backlash. She had no choice but to drug and rob men you know. She needed money for her boob job you know (she even admitted she got a boob job while working as a stripper and had expensive clothes/purses/shoes). I remember people on this site defending her actions then, and still defending her use of a racial slur now. Ridiculous.

      • Call_Me_Al says:

        Yeah people on here aren’t too keen on Bill Cosby drugging people to get what he wanted from them. Kudos to Cardi for her honesty but I don’t hear much growing.

  14. Ann says:

    I like Cardi. I don’t really care about what she did to some horny rich guys. But the whole doing it to survive thing rubs me the wrong way. She has said it many times. Tattoos, implants, and designer stuff aren’t necessary to “survive.”

    • GirlMonday says:

      That’s a judgment. You don’t know. Strippers can write off their implants. Real estate agents use fancy sh!t to distinguish and elevate themselves, so that clients, at a glance, will instinctually think they’re successful and perhaps be more inclined to work with them. I live in a very expensive market, and the agents that I know have shared this with me. I may not think it’s necessary, but I’m not a realtor, so what do I know.

      My point is, as someone with very little lived proximity to her world, I don’t get to judge the choices that gave her an edge in her career and life; neither do I get to decide what was necessary for her to survive. Neither do you.

      • Ann says:

        Tattoos aren’t necessary for survival. I stand by what I said.

      • SomeChick says:

        TBH she has several tattoos which don’t look like they were all that expensive.

      • Geeena says:

        Have you tried to write a breast augmentation off before? You would have a very hard time writing any cosmetic surgery off on taxes.

        As well, many many many strippers (and other sex workers, including porn actresses) get by just fine without booty and booby enhancements. She got them because she wanted them, not to survive. No judgement on how she chose to spend her money or on what, don’t make it seem life or death to get her boobs done, come on…

    • Geeena says:

      yeah, i tend to agree. I do my best not to judge anyone, especially women’s, hustles. That being said, growing up with secondhand clothes, on and off foodstamps will always feel more like doing what we had to for survival, whereas Cardi was doing what she believed she had to for a lifestyle/material objects that she wanted.

    • Léna says:

      It seems that some celebrities will “dramatize” their upbringing in order to have a more dramatic backstory to sell. I’m still confused at Scarlett Johansson describing her “poor” upbringing, while her dad’s an architect

  15. Pulplove says:

    I’m struggling with how I feel about Cardi. She can be endearing one minute, and the next be annoying. She can say smart things in one breath and with the next say something really problematic.

    I like what she said about male rappers honoring Breonna Taylor, but her reluctance to truly apologise for her use of that racial slur is pretty far away from growing. If she didn’t know that’s one thing, but now that she obviously does. Why not be clear about being sorry and not wanting to use something that is used to degrade others?

  16. Bendix says:

    There’s nothing wrong with working as a stripper (or, for that matter, any other kind of Sex worker).
    There’s a whole lotta wrong with hiring violent goons to assault people on your behalf…especially if they are people significantly less wealthy than you who didn’t you no damned harm.

  17. Hildog says:

    The amount of people on here claiming they didn’t know “chinky ryes” was a racial slur is absolutely appalling. Good god!

    • sealit says:

      Thank you Hildog. The bottom line is the subset population of people or the dads aren’t using the word as a compliment. The standard of beauty is a big round eye with a crease. They’re using it to describe a beauty trait that is less desirable and seen as other. Almond shape eyes are and will forever be seen as foreign. My eyes are what make strangers believe they can walk up to me and ask me where are you from? Would people be giving Gwenyth Paltrow the same benefit of the doubt if she used the word chinky?

      So now we all know it’s a racial slur. Can we stop using it in any grammatical form?

    • Geeena says:

      I did know this one was a racial slur but there is a similar one I only recently learned is also an East Asian slur. So I kinda get it, for people growing up places with a small to nonexistent Asian population, but I’m incredulous at all the people who are like, “That’s just how I call that eye shape, how do I describe eyes nowwwww??????” as though they can’t say hooded eyes, heavy lidded, almond shaped, or even the slightly gross sounding, bedroom eyes.

  18. Lunasf17 says:

    I’m conflicted about Cardi. I like that she is who she is and there is nothing wrong with stripping IMO. I like that she is political and engages with politicians and seems interested and wanting to learn more. She hasn’t had an easy life in many ways and can relate to other people’s struggles and good for her for talking about Breonna. I find most rap music misogynistic and just creatively not good these days. It’s just not my taste and I listened to the WAP song and it just sounded like most everything else on the radio in the past decade, nothing really unique or impressive. I didn’t have a problem with the content or sexuality because IMO it’s all been said and done by other artists. It’s just not shocking at this point. 27 is pretty young and she is figuring it out. I hope she ditches the husband and stop fighting over him, he isn’t worth it.

    • Geeena says:

      I like her music, but hearing Megan thee stallion with her solidified to me that Cardi doesn’t have a lot of range in her rapping and has a very staccato flow that doesn’t always work, whereas Megan just killed every verse.

  19. nicegirl says:

    Fuck, that’s life for so many of us. I get this.

  20. Diana says:

    Love her 😍

  21. Silvie says:

    I love her. I think she earnestly loves her community and wants to better herself. She had a baby right after getting very, very famous, so she hasn’t had a lot of time to educate herself. Not every female artist grew up with middle-class privileges, but she’s using her platform to bring about change the best way she knows how. I love Killer Mike and Jay-Z, too, and they’ve both owned up to selling drugs when they were young; neither are proud of it. Why do we hold female artists more accountable for past crimes than male artists? I wish male artists like Talib Kweli would reach out to Cardi and speak with her instead of slamming her in the media.

  22. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m all for growth and education. BUT. I’m certainly not ever going to hand out personal passes for certain past mistakes. I hope Cosby dies in prison because I think he’s a monster. But why do I think he’s a monster? Could it be he drugged and assaulted? Why yes, yes he did. This kind of behavior isn’t an excuse because one needs to survive. It’s abhorrent and vile and unforgivable. If this goes through one’s mind, regardless of reason, they should be written off because if they’re not in prison they should be. From what I read above, this woman hasn’t evolved, she’s simply rearranging words and motives. Go ahead and cyber stone me now lol, but this is how I feel.

  23. Wannabesith says:

    I wonder who had to translate her interview? Have you heard this woman speak? Brrrtt!

  24. Su says:

    I find it interesting that every Asian or part Asian who has made a comment has summarily been ignored. So often on this site, people are supportive of the racial prejudice others have suffered but here it’s mainly crickets. Why is that? Is it because it’s Cardi-B? Or is it something else.

    I am half Asian and have heard it all in regards to racial slurs in a number of countries. None of it is ok—period.

    • Bo Peep says:

      @Su Agree, Cardi B should have apologized. We would demand an apology from anyone else. I feel like celebitches often hesitate to comment when the issue concerns two groups of POC, maybe because this site’s demographic is predominantly white. It’s easier to call out your own because you may feel like you have a better understanding of the issues.

      BIPOC are heavily marginalized, while the marginalization of Asian POC is less known. That term has also haunted me growing up, and the stereotypes it’s associated with are the same ones that earn Asian Americans lower “personality points” from universities, housing discrimination from realtors, job discrimination from interviewers. Foreign. Untrustworthy. Not leadership material. You can find the studies.

      Meanwhile low income Asian communities in the US are ignored as the model minority is upheld, used to demonstrate that Asian Americans don’t suffer from structural racism at all.

      None of this is okay. I like Cardi B. I don’t believe in canceling, but why this pass on her non-apology? Why is everyone rushing to relate to her by saying you all didn’t know it was a slur and used it yourselves? Why is that your defense of Cardi B?

      Instead of apologizing and committing to never use this term again… this community that I admire doubles down. Given Celebitchy’s history, I’m not surprised, but I am still hurt.

      • Su says:

        @Bo Peep, you nailed it. I would say people want to pretend that Asians aren’t marginalised whilst still continuing to marginalise them. It’s downright disgusting.

        I have had extraordinary opportunities in my life and I am grateful for them. However many have come with a caveat about how in my case people claimed to see me as white (I do not look white.), as if that was some sort of compliment. I could go on but I won’t.

        I actually think that very few people should be cancelled as it denies, in essence, all of us the opportunity for growth and real change. However, I absolutely believe that one cannot change if they are not held accountable.

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