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.

This Is For You

Dear Broken-hearted Girl,

You are beautiful.  When I started this blog three years ago, you were who I had in mind.  Everything about you is beautifully and wonderfully made.  Heartbreak is tough.  It is one of the hardest emotions one can ever experience.  But don't give up!  

You've probably heard a million times "he's still out there" or "in a few years, you'll forget about him".  Nevermind "him".  This is a place for you.  It's a place for you to reclaim your beauty, and your joy.  It's a place for you to be empowered.   To laugh, relate, and fill your bucket.  To let your hair down and be imperfect.  Indeed, one day "he" probably will come along.  And by that time, the love of your life will be you.

My friend, I extend to you heartfelt words and years of frog smooching wisdom.  Know that your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being are most important always.  Nourish it with hugs and laughter from time spent with friends and family.  Occupy yourself with activities that you enjoy and challenge yourself by finding new ones.  Look lovingly upon your reflection in the mirror and say out loud "I am beautiful".  Because you are.  And one (of even a slew of) bad relationships do not define your worth.

Love always, 

Roni  

 

Adjust Your Crown: Tips for Dealing with Haters

 Got haters? Adjust your crown.

Got haters? Adjust your crown.

Conflict is unavoidable.  Sometimes it fosters creative problem solving, and lends to unique win-win resolutions where everyone benefits.  Then there are those conflicts that are just plain petty.  That co-worker who hits 'Reply All' in an attempt to publicly shame others.  Or even worse, (in)direct social media jabs.  Sure, it's easy to say "ignore it...move on".  Getting there is the hard part.  It requires you to adjust your crown.

What do I mean by that?  Have you ever watched an old black and white movie where the leading lady's feathers get ruffled?  Back then distinction, grace, class, and downright snobbery were the medicine used to treat those suffering from hateritis.  Memories of Bette Davis waiving a dismissive hand or doling out a biting one-liner continue to warm my heart.  She adjusted her crown very well.

Ladies, there are rules to this game.  Throwing shade like Ms. Davis takes years of practice.  Quite frankly, I'm not even on that level yet. But as my mother always said "class will tell". So let's start with the basics.

1) Everyone has a story

 We all have our struggles.  We all deal and heal in our own ways.  With that being said, you may or may not know what the other person has going on in their lives.  Do they feel unwanted or unloved?  Are they lonely?  Could they, or someone they love, be dealing with health issues?  It is easy to dismiss someone as being miserable.  Failure to see life from their lenses can create unnecessary tension in your relationship with them.  Asking yourself "why" can go a long way in determining how you handle their brand of pettiness.

2) Use the Right Forum to Vent

If you see an indirect post on Facebook about you, it's natural to want to respond or put up a post of your own.  DON'T.  Going tit for tat only validates their foolishness, bringing you to their level.  You have a crown on your head girl.  And no one should be allowed to knock it down.  

Do you have a friend that you love and trust?  I'm talking about the one that helps calm you down.  Not the one who comes to your house with a ski mask at 1AM ready to roll.  Again I say: DON'T. (I've had a few of those friends over the years, and oddly enough, I've noticed that they tend to have constant turmoil in their lives.  Co-winky dink?  I think not.)  Leave the drama out of writing (social media, email, text or otherwise), and just talk.  Simply verbalizing the issue can help you feel at ease about your situation.  You might even resolve it on your own by having a comforting ear and fresh perspective.  Remember, even if you delete it, screenshots and written messages can live forever.  Honor the crown.

3) Respond Appropriately

And by appropriately I mean determine whether you should respond at all.  Several factors should be taken into consideration.  A few of them are as follows:

  • Does this person fly off of the handle often?  
  • Can your life be significantly impacted in some way by what they've done?  
  • Do they just need to be put in their place?  

Admittedly, it's hard for me to let stuff go without addressing it.  I may let it die down a bit at first, but I'm a "get to the root of the problem so it doesn't happen again" kind of girl.  Usually my method of choice for a warning shot is a compliant response that exposes the individual's shenanigans.  If that doesn't work then being direct is the best way to go.  Set expectations for how you want to be treated, keeping the esteem of all parties in mind.  

Bonus: Everything comes around full circle.  If you're patient, you will find that the universe works itself out.  Trust me.  It's true.

4) Be Productive

Depending on the issue, you might not have the opportunity to address it.  Or you may have decided that it's not worth your time, effort, or energy.  You might still be perturbed even if you've decided on this course of action.  Recently my godmother blessed me with a catchphrase that I adore, "when you're blue, find something to do."  Blue doesn't have to be depressed or sad - you could be mad as hell.  Put that energy into a project.  Do you have home improvement projects in queue?  Is there a hobby that you've wanted to pick up?  Finding ways to better use your time is a great way to blow off some steam.  It serves a dual purpose.  Now you're not only dealing with your issue effectively, you're taking time to improve yourself.  

5) Celebrate

Effectively resolving conflict is difficult for most of the population.  Navigating through your emotions, and those of others can exhaust a lot of energy.  Take time to relax.  Reflect on what went well, what you might want to do differently next time, and bask in the glory of your perfectly perched crown.  You deserve it :-).