Cardi B is challenging us, and our response is about to be revolted.
Arguably the most pressing question of the time, and this moment in pop culture when internet sleuths rake incessantly through celebrities' records, now hovers over one of the music industry's hottest commodities: Should bad behavior in an entertainer's past disqualify from popularity in the present?
In this case, Cardi's past sins are horrific, to say the least. A three-year-old Instagram Live video resurfaced this week in which the rapper discussed drugging and robbing men to "survive" during her days as a stripper.
Like, I had to go strip. I had to go, 'Oh yeah, you wanna f-ck me? Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's go back to this hotel, "" Cardi says on the clip, before admitting she would subsequently drug and rob the men. That's obviously abhorrent.
In response to the controversy, Cardi posted a long statement to Instagram explaining her's "part of a hip-hop culture where you can talk about what's wrong with you you are. "
" I never glorified the things I brought up in that live I never even put those things in my music because I'm proud of it and it does not take responsibility to glorify it, "she wrote. "I made the choices that I did at the same time because I had very limited options.
Her statement was flirted with a quasi-defense of the behavior, claiming that they were "consciously willing and aware "Which is not true if they have been drugged. Overall, however, in response to a clear expression of regret, although the conduct in question remains repugnant. Cardi captioned the screenshot.
This strange situation raises questions about double standards for men and women (Would we forgive a male celebrity if the sexes Are there differences?), and gives the opportunity to draw parallels between Cardi and other celebrities like R. Kelly (whose sins are very much existed in the past and continue in the present). But it also implies one of (a) today's (b) biggest celebrities in (c) indefensible behavior. How does she fare?
As of now, Cardi's career seems to be fine, which is probably the right outcome given her contrition. But is she going by more easily because we do not want to give her up? R. Kelly's reckoning was pulled peaked.
Of course, Cardi has just shown remorse, but it's fair to wonder that given the severity of her admitted wrongdoing. Kevin Hart, another megastar, lost his Oscars gig for much less, and more like Cardi.
For better or worse, people caught in Hart-like circumstances will now be able to say, "Cardi B drugged and robbed men, why am I being punished? "Precedent is on the line.
There's also the matter of her current character. I'm sure Cardi's graphic verses in "Please Me" alone are more than enough to disqualify her from many people's rotations. Cardi B at the top of the charts.
Even if you can do that, however, there's a legitimate question as to Whether it's moral to boost the career of someone who is drugged and robbed people, even if it was years ago. Michael Jackson's death in 2009. One particular passage stood out:
Iconic pop stars should be weird and unknowable, that's what we're paying them for. They should not be typing their observations into their iPhones 140 characters at a time; hyperbolic chambers with well-dressed chimpanzees and possibly regrettably, kindergartners. Because we can not. We need them to live lives we never know, lives we should not know; to be, if not above the law, then certainly beyond the pale.
To be clear, the writer's bit about kindergartners is absurd. We do not "possibly, regrettably" need that from our artists, we never have and never will. But I think the bigger point stands.
If you were not crazy, Cardi B would be much less disruptive and interesting-and boring pop stars are a scourge. The kinds of people who produce compelling work are not perfect, and their lives never want to meet our standards of moral behavior. We're all flawed, and entertainers exist to help us through those flaws;
The key is to consume their work when warranted without condoning it, intentionally or otherwise. That's a tricky business to navigate, but it absolutely involves removing the incentives for future wrongdoing and keeping bad actors accountable for past conduct. While we are working on that, we can try to adjust our moral standards to the pointlessly crass inanity off the charts in the first place.