One of the worst human traits that we all must grapple with is the one that prevents us from apologizing when we have said or done something awful –and we all have. A few weeks ago, Cardi B faced this test. Sadly, she failed miserably.
It began after Cardi completed a sit-down interview with Access Hollywood to promote a new hip-hop collaboration with Netflix, called Rhythm + Flow. Cardi took to Instagram shortly thereafter, to lash out after the publication released a preview of the interview that read “Cardi B Admits Baby Kulture Calls Someone Else ‘Mommy’ Because She Works So Much: It ‘Feels Wack’.”
Cardi flipped upon reading the preview, declaring that Access Hollywood had chopped up her words to create clickbait. Cardi put them on blast in a now-infamous video shared on Instagram in which she stated,
“Access Hollywood, suck my whole d***. S** a d***, I hope your f****** mom catch AIDS, b****.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Cardi B wished AIDS, presumably upon the mothers of everyone who works at Access Hollywood, or maybe she just meant the mother of whoever interviewed her from the publication – it’s not clear. What is clear is that this is one of the most profoundly disturbing and ignorant comments anyone can hurl in the year 2019.
Understandably Cardi was angry at Access Hollywood for mischaracterizing her words. According to the “Hustlers” star, “They asked me a question about me doing different ventures and how has things changed when it comes to motherhood.”
She lit up Instagram, explaining how she told Access Hollywood that she makes the conscious decision to be present and hands-on in her child’s life, despite having an intensely busy professional schedule of acting, music, creative collaborations and new business ventures:
“I could have somebody babysit my f****** kid, but it’s like it’s a wack feeling when your kid not even trying to fuck with you and call somebody else mommy. That’s why you gotta spend time with your kid,” Cardi said on Instagram. “So these muthafuckas chopped what I said up — That’s not what the f*** I said! Don’t use my m******** kid for clickbait, b****. Don’t f***** cut s *** off trying to make me look like I’m a fuck ass mom cuz that’s something that I’m not. I don’t play that shit.”
Personally, I have been one of Cardi B’s biggest fans. I think she has the comedic timing and self-awareness of Judy Holiday, which could lead to a great career in Hollywood. Reviews of her performance in “Hustlers” have been positive, and she continues to be that “rough around the edges girl with a heart of gold” – we root for because she is relatable and real.
That said, it is disappointing to learn that when faced with the backlash on social media against her for her hurtful insult, Cardi doubled down on it, refusing to apologize. Even further falling down the rabbit hole of ignorance, Cardi’s defense is that she’s not going to apologize to them because they did her wrong purposely just to get clicks. If that was the case, she needed to call them out for THAT specific infraction without hurling AIDS as an insult like it was 1986.
The point Cardi is missing is that it is not Access Hollywood to which an apology is owed (though she should consider that as well). Instead, it is the millions of people and the families and friends who have suffered decades of immeasurable death, pain, and loss from AIDS she owes an apology.
For Cardi to be so reckless as to wish AIDS upon someone not only shows her failure at giving an appropriate response to adversity, but it also sticks a dagger in the hearts of millions of infected people who have been fighting the negative stigma of AIDS since the epidemic emerged.
Ignorance and homophobia still plague our society, and we have come a long way to change perceptions. With the gay community being the most highly-devastated from the virus, while simultaneously fighting the ignorance of thinking AIDS was a punishment from GOD to kill them, there is an unsettling history attached to Cardi B’s insult.
As a Cardi B fan, I have been her biggest cheerleader. I love to root for the underdog, especially when she is real, authentic, and delivers stellar, ass- shaking radio hits. I have been willing to be in on the joke of her foul-mouthed antics, ‘F—K you’ attitude, and funny sound effects. But I need to draw the line here with this terrible AIDS comment. It’s already awful on its own merit, but even more egregious is the irony that Cardi is now being courted for film and TV projects by Hollywood – one of the communities most decimated by AIDS, beginning with the death of legendary actor, Rock Hudson back in the 80s.
Granted, we all have said stupid things in the heat of a moment; none of us are immune to that, though we should try to do better. However, Cardi’s unwillingness to admit her AIDS comment was a terrible misstep is really the issue here. It is unfortunate, especially considering the legion of gay fans from all over the world who love her. Incidentally, some of those fans are living with or have succumbed to AIDS.
If by chance Cardi is reading this, here’s a direct message: I believe you are better than this, Cardi B, though, after your Instagram rant, I may be in the minority of those who agree. Oh, and by the way, please stop using the N-word. Yes, you’ve elevated your game, but I implore you to now advance to a higher level of consciousness.
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.