Cardi B vs. Nicki - No Beef, All Chicken

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Listen, I have been dying to write this piece.  Analyzing human behavior and putting the pieces together is fascinating.  Why do people think and interact the way they do?  That is one of the main reasons why I started blogging about relationships.  Add in a dash of petty, and I am in heaven.  And that is why you are here.  With me.  Right now.

Two weeks ago, Cardi B rocked all of our worlds when she released her debut album "Invasion of Privacy".  It's raw, it's catchy, it's ambitious.  Ms. Bicardi put it all on the line for us to hear, starting with a bold introduction that unapologetically pays homage to her past as a stripper.  Plenty of people might turn their nose up at that (and once upon a time I would have been one of them) but there is something about Bartier Cardi that has earned my respect.  From numerous articles and comment pages, I know I am not alone in my assessment.  She's rough, yet true to herself.  Her fighter instinct and ambition have gotten her far, and makes her relatable to folks.  People want to root for her.  Plus, I smell a little crossover appeal in her future (she nailed that first appearance on Jimmy Fallon). 

One week after Cardi dropped her album, Nicki Minaj released two singles, firing shots to "preserve her reputation", then does an interview with Beats 1 where she is suspiciously vulnerable. Nicki low-key blasts Cardi for not showing her love in interviews.  She also accused her of only giving partial details as to why Nicki changed her verse on MIgo's "Motorsport", a song which both women were featured on, without acknowledging the real reasons: 1) Quavo wanted her to remove a part where she was singing 2) Cardi's label, at her request, asked Nicki to remove Cardi's name from a line in her verse.  You can hear Nicki whining about it here.  

Moving past my love fest of Cardi in paragraph 2 - section 2,3,4,5&6, what I don't understand is why this is even a conversation right now.  "Motorsport" was released in October 2017.  Here we are, two weeks shy of May, and she waits until now to address it?  NOBODY WAS THINKING ABOUT HER. We are basking in the glory of Cardi's record breaking new album and here Nicki comes dancing on the set like it's hers.  It's not.  She has had, and will continue to have, her shine.  Let somebody else enjoy the spotlight.  Hell, I want there to be multiple spotlights so all of this Black Girl Magic can explode into the stratosphere.  Furthermore, if a person requests that that their name be removed from your verse, that is a likely indicator that something is up.  

Secondly, Cardi has made little reference to NIcki directly in interviews to date.  Nicki mentioned that Cardi seemed annoyed when Nicki was brought up during her first interview after "Motorsport" was released.  That could have been for a number of reasons.  Pretend you were in Cardi's shoes.  If people kept asking about a supposed beef with another female rapper when you are working to promote your own brand, wouldn't that get tired after a while?  And honestly, my unsubstantiated theory is that Cardi does not care for Nicki.  This is where I get a little nutty.

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A few months ago, I recall reading an article where Cardi mentions that she was slated to do a song with big named artists, but was removed from it because one of the other artists on the track didn't think she was big enough.  My mind immediately went to Nicki.  There were probably loads of subconscious biases happening simultaneously that helped me draw that conclusion.  But there I was.  Pitting two female rappers against each other in my brain.  Who knows who that mystery person was.  My money, though, is still on Ms. Minaj.  

Cardi B has also made reference to people being fake in the industry.  She has to bite her tongue and she hates it.  Add that to her disinterested replies about Nicki in the aforementioned interview after "Motorsport" was released and we might have a recipe for a simmering beef stew (see what I did there).  Here's the thing, though: Cardi B doesn't owe Nicki shit.  Not a damn thing.  Was Nicki helping her climb poles before she was famous?  Did she set up meetings with labels for Cardi?  Did she buy those bloody shoes for her "Bodak Yellow" music video?  Nope.  Therefore, Cardi is not required to kiss her ring.  I probably sound very anti Nicki.  Admittedly, I had to do a little soul searching to understand why I had such a strong distaste for her behavior.  It all boils down to entitlement.  I hate entitled people.  And this isn't the first time Nicki tapdanced her ass on a set that wasn't hers...and it got on every last one of my damn nerves.

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Three years ago, Minaj's light porno "Anaconda" wasn't nominated for "Video of the Year" at MTV's VMAs.  She got upset and ranted on social media about how curvy girls are often overlooked.  Then Taylor Swift, who was nominated for her badass video "Bad Blood" got all defensive and even offered to have Nicki on stage with her if she won.  There were debates back and forth on how Tay Tay benefits from privilege didn't get it.  She got dragged a little bit.  Eventually they cyber hugged it out and all was well.  Soon after, Miley Cyrus decided to comment on their minor squabble in an interview (talking all out of turn - this was in her twerking teddy bear days), and Nicki called her out at the actual VMA show.   She literally wanted to fight Hannah Freaking Montana (bet she won't try that with Remy). 

Although this whole situation was entertaining, I was peeved by Nicki's original argument.  Yes, she had a point.  Curvy (read:black) women are underappreciated in society.  Queen Bey can make an album worthy of a Peabody award, perform upside down while pregnant with twins, spark social commentary for the masses, and just be a genuine dope ass woman and still have naysayers who claim she is overrated.  Um, what?  Nicki Minaj does not possess that level of talent.  "Anaconda" simply wasn't good enough.  Period.  So to use such a strong, meaningful argument for a self-serving, irrelevant point was tacky.  Not to mention, Nicki bought her curves.  Now I am not here to shame anyone who adds enhancements to their bodies.  If it makes you feel good and you like what you see everyday, go for it.  On occasion, I have been known to wear hair that did not sprout up from my scalp.  And I am fine with that.  But what I don't do is go around challenging people about their treatment of blonde bombshells because I didn't get that promotion I was totally unqualified for.  Jussayin'.

A friend of mine, who is pro-Nicki, and I have been debating about this for the past four days.  She is the W.E.B. to my Booker T in this intellectually ratchet debate.  We'll call her Monica. Monica believes that Migos and Cardi set Nicki up to make her look bad to drum up publicity for "Motorsport".  In her interview, Nicki mentions that she texted Quavo to back her up on Twitter, and he refused to defend her saying he would do it "if she were his girl".  Ugh, gross.

Monica and I went back and forth on other topics such as mastery of their craft, longevity, and decision-making skills.  Then it dawned on us that we were doing "that thing".  You know, when women are scrutinized and critiqued for every minor imperfection.  Those same character traits are ignored or even commended when the opposite sex does it.  This mindset keeps us divided, limits our ability to destroy barriers and create new paths for women coming behind us.  Instead of evaluating women based on merit, we often resort to worrying about their appearances.  Meanwhile, men can stand behind them creepily and/or brag about groping their private parts to friends and not only get away with it; they are rewarded.

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Let's move on to the Migos (amigos without the 'a') - specifically Quavo.  He asked this woman to do a feature on his track, then allowed her to be hung out to dry on social media. That is trashy.  Granted, the whole ordeal is very 6th grade, but really?  It all boils down to patriarchy.  Men hold a certain prestige and power in our society.  Many of them find it entertaining to watch women squabble over what little bits are left for them.  NIcki felt like the only way she could be saved is if he came to her defense.  If she was going to be mad at anyone, it should have been him as he is supposedly her "baby".  But they have since "made up" and sources say they saw Nicki and Quavo together throughout Coachella.   

In conclusion, I think Nicki's well-timed shade fest allowed her to feed off of Cardi's spotlight a little bit.  It's not real beef, it's chicken.  And Ms. MInaj is kin to Colonel Sanders.  Cardi had the best response of all.  She gave a star-studded, jaw-dropping performance at Coachella while dressed up like Left Eye from TLC.  Someone she clearly respects.

Trust Your Gut

Ah.  That little voice inside your head that says "this isn't right".  That feeling of your chest  tightening, making it slightly difficult to breathe.  Often, we are left with a choice to follow the guidance of our inner Jiminy Cricket, or simply ignore it.  I have found that too many times I have ignored that voice to my own detriment.  But that is changing. 

So I met a guy.  We went on a date.  It was fun, yet something in me said, "Mmmm you might want to watch it."  Don't get me wrong, we had a good time.  He had a good sense of humor, lived a pretty safe and secure lifestyle.  And we had a lot in common.  Though there were a few moments that led me to believe he could be troubled.  Now, I have a history of giving people chances to prove themselves.  Mostly because I have been wrong about first impressions, and those folks turned out to be wonderful.  However, I am mostly right.

Well, this gentleman began giving me a vibe that felt all too familiar.  A vibe that said "do not stop, do not pass go.  You've been here before and you need to block him for your own sanity".  His offense was nothing too serious.  Mostly making odd remarks and sensitivity to my sense of humor (which frankly I found to be pretty benign).  But I didn't know him, nor did I owe him an explanation. And neither do you.  Trust that little voice in your head.  It may be telling you something that your conscious mind may not be picking up on.  In a world where patriarchy rules, we as women must protect ourselves first and foremost.

Be safe and happy smooching!

New Year, Same Me...With a Few Upgrades

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Every year it's the same spiel.  "In the new year, I'm going to [fill in the blank here]."  Did you know that on average, most New Year's resolutions fail by February?  Heck, if I had a dollar for every time I scrapped a New Year's resolution, I could probably buy a small island.  Okay, maybe pay for a month's worth of Starbucks, or a nice dinner out with friends.  You get the point.  Either way, it doesn't work for most people and it most certainly doesn't work for me. 

So I write this welcome back post not as a dated tradition with no follow through behind it (although I did manage to get myself into two weight loss challenges...I chock that up to getting a Fitbit for Christmas and all holiday merriment coming to an end), but to say this has been in the works for a while.  And I cannot contain it anymore.  I NEED TO WRITE.

For the better part of three years, I have gone through peaks and valleys with my writing (more valleys than anything).  I had become complacent.  Life was good.   Besides, between work, family, friends, social commitments, civic duties, relationships - where was the time?  Suddenly this past year left me feeling like I was underwater.  I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was supposed to be writing.  I thought about it everyday.  Dreamt of it.  And felt sort of melancholy when it wasn't getting done.  I realized my writing was a part of me.  The way that any of those other commitments and activities were.  The freedom of expression, the way my fingers effortlessly flitted across the keyboard while I averted my eyes from the screen willing new ideas and emotions to flow onto the pages, transporting me into another world.  God how I missed it.  Each book that I read made me want to write even more.  New authors with refreshing styles, vivid imagery, fluid lines with perfectly placed words only intensified my desire.  Then those nagging thoughts came back.  How will you ever make time?

The solution came in the form of a new acquaintance. We met at a wedding last  fall. Her positive, upbeat nature drew me to her, and an immediate connection was formed.  We have been having lunch just about every month since, and during our last meeting she suggested I read a book called Change Your Habits, Change Your Life by Tom Corley.  I jotted it down on my phone, and came back to it a few times. 

On a flight to Texas (another activity I've been doing more as of late is traveling), I decided to download a sample of the book.  It had rave reviews online, and my local library did not have any available copies.  I figured if it was any good, I would just buy it on Kindle and be done with it.  O.M.G.  This book is packed with great insights into how habits are formed, and why people behave the way they do.  It also provides useful information about what good habits are and how to change bad habits into good habits.  I highly recommend reading it (if you haven't already).  I'm usually a fast reader; however, when it comes to text containing information I want to absorb and apply, I tend to take my time.  So I am about 95% finished; however, I plan to go back and re-read.

In any event, that volcano of passion that had been slowly growing inside of me, finally began to erupt.  I cannot wait for the right time.  I have to make the right time.  My life is great, but I need passion.  I miss my passion, and that is writing.  After some time off, and lots of refocusing, I am back. That picture at the top?  That's my vision board.  I put it up on a bare wall in my room that had been waiting for the perfect companion.  Now each day I am reminded of what my goals are to keep me on track.  So New Year, same me with a few system updates.

And oh yeah, I'm still Smooching Frogs ;-)