Cardi B vs Azealia Banks: Who Read Who?

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First things first, this is not a competition. That wrestling ring everyone seems to be placing Cardi and Azealia in? Nonexistent. This is not a fight, and there are no winners or losers here. The only real takeaway from this social media altercation between the two, is that there is a real conversation to be had about the portrayal of black women in entertainment. Let’s talk.

 

For those of you who missed it, here’s everything that happened.

It all began Friday, May 11th on the Breakfast Club. During her interview, Azealia Banks brought attention to Cardi B claiming that, she is a “caricature” of black women. 

Cardi then defended herself on instagram, responding that she “never asked to be a role model” and that she is unapologetically herself. 

It did not end here. Fueling the fire even more, Banks clapped back in a series of tweets.

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Cardi issued her last response in a lengthy paragraph on instagram. 

                                                                                                                                                                                   via Instagram

                                                                                                                                                                                  via Instagram

Banks, getting the last word in, replied in a string of hateful comments claiming that Cardi was “missing the point.” 

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Cardi B has since deleted all her Instagram posts, and privated her twitter account. While Azealia’s twitter seems to have been deactivated.

 

What does all this mean?

Azealia Banks boasts a notorious reputation for putting down and belittling successful black women. To name a few: Remy Ma, Teyana Taylor, and Beyonce (Yes, even Queen Bey!). You name it, Azealia has virtually attacked them all. So, although she may make some points, the message is 100% corrupted by the messenger. It is difficult to receive because it seems she is not saying these things for the right reasons. Her intent is, clearly, malicious. Azealia appears to wear “black female consciousness” as a mask, hiding behind her own insecurity and hatred. She does the opposite of what she advocates for,  and in the process drags down her fellow black sisters instead of uplifting them. That being said, what she accuses Cardi of reveals an important issue in hip hop feminism right now: Do celebrities have a duty and a responsibility to uphold a certain image?

So, did Azealia read Cardi for filth, or was she just hating? Well, it’s not that simple. Azealia definitely brought forth some troubling truth. Did it come from a hateful place? Yes. But is some of it true? Also, yes. Black women have long had an exaggerated, oversimplified, and over-sexualized portrayal in entertainment and media. It is a constant and ongoing battle for influential black women today to rewrite the narrative and erase the stereotypes/stigma of the past. So then, that calls into question the role of a woman like Cardi B. Does she have the responsibility of representing black women in hip hop? Despite her rejection of “role model,” Cardi does carry some responsibility whether she likes or not. As such an influential and public figure, her womanhood and actions speak for far more than herself. However, in the same breath, Cardi is an individual. She is not the only black female celebrity there is. While she may represent and speak for a small part of the community, the community is so much bigger than that. So many other strong black female celebrities influence and represent the culture. It is important to remember that. 

This feud has has also revealed other issues. In hip hop, it often seems only one woman can be on top. Society always finds a way to compare and pit women (black women, especially) against one another in the music industry. For instance, Nicki Minaj vs. Remy Ma, Cardi vs. Nicki, and the list could go on. However, this is an entirely separate conversation to be had. 

At the end of the day, Azealia was not completely wrong but her approach undoubtedly was. And this leaves Cardi with a lot to think about. This also leaves us—her fans, black women, and society as a whole—with a lot to think about as well.


So, how do you interpret all of this? Did Azealia come for Cardi sideways, or was there some truth to her read? If so, what can Cardi (or us as a society) do differently in the future? Comment and tell us!