When Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion teamed up for a new song I was hyped. Was “W.A.P.” what I was expecting? I don’t know, but I’m not upset about it anyway. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have been crystal clear about who they are and what their brand is. Did you not catch “City Girls”? Have you somehow missed “Hot Girl Summer”? There was no bait and switch here. I really don’t get the collective outrage over a song that (while it’s filthy AF) is not really any worse than what most of us in our thirties and forties grew up with. I mean have you never heard a Trina song or anything by Foxy Brown or Lil Kim? I distinctly remember a certain popular rapper named Ludacris dropping a song about a similar part of the female genitalia “poppin” and no one batting an eye.
But even if we don’t go down the very long list of vulgar yet extremely popular songs of the last 40-50 years, can we just acknowledge the fact that there are tons of ditties going back to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” that glorify rape culture? But those lyrics don’t lead to the kind of pearl-clutching associated with two women rapping about their sexual preferences and freedom. The double standard is too much to logically breakdown.
Still, watching conservative idiot Ben Shapiro choke on his own tongue while reading the lyrics to the song was probably worth all the hypocritical backlash these talented goddesses are facing these days. I mean, for a man who supports a president who was shouting from the rooftops about not asking permission to “grab a woman’s p*$$#” to be so offended by women talking about being aroused is laughable at best. And it’s not just because they’re women, but because they are Black women that people feel so free to criticize and cut them down. The fact that this song and video have people spinning out when we are dealing with a global pandemic, rampant corruption within our own government, and a failing postal system in a year where voting by mail will literally determine our futures is insane.
Millions without health care and unable to afford it, eviction crises underway, overall failed Trump response to the Coronavirus, but what sets Ben Shapiro off most are lyrics in a rap song. pic.twitter.com/cBB9iXYDcr
— David Doel (@daviddoel) August 10, 2020
The fierce desire to not only police black female bodies but also shame and debase them when women attempt to claim positions of sexual power is a time-honored tradition in the United States. The ugliest part of all this though is not the fake moral outrage spewing forth from the conservative right-wing, who will literally talk about anything if it distracts from the disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic freefall that the current administration is guilty of. The worst part is the way that some Black men have jumped on the bandwagon to waggle their fingers at Cardi and Megan, making claims that they are unfit to be mothers or wives because of their raunchy behavior and sexy outfits.
What the actual F?!
Most of these women blazing their path through the insanely misogynistic world of hip-hop from Lil Kim to Missy Elliot to Cardi B come from poor or working-class backgrounds their respectability was in question from the first second they opened their mouths. I remember talking to lots of my friends (also women of color) who were just not down with Cardi B when she first began to blow up because they felt like she was “too ghetto.” It took more than one convo to iron out exactly where this sentiment was coming from and to pinpoint the systemic white supremacy that makes us uphold certain aesthetics and ways of communicating as “better” or “more educated” than others.
The same way white supremacy tells us that the way people of color communicate is “ghetto” is how misogyny tells us that certain women are unworthy of the “honor” of being moms or wives because of their enjoyment of sex or their sexual empowerment. Last time I checked, men aren’t being called into question or being told that if they want to be “husband material” they can’t be sleeping around in their 20s and 30s. In fact, most men are encouraged and even made fun of on if they don’t engage in that exact behavior. This is where the entire concept of “sowing your wild oats” comes from, is it not?
For the most part, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have been allowing this manufactured controversy to roll off their backs, no doubt at least partially due to the fact that all this faux outrage will just lead to more views, downloads, and streams of their latest hit. They’re just women going about their business, stacking that paper — and if that’s not something for all girls to aspire to then I don’t know what is. Self-sufficiency is way cooler than being somebody’s wife anyway.