Pop culture is rife with forced-feeling proclamations of wokeness, which is why Cardi B's work and online persona often feel like a breath of fresh air. Instead of dropping the latest feminist buzzwords, she has a habit of shattering sexist stereotypes simply by being herself.
The latest example is her "Money" music video, which dropped Friday. The slightly NSFW video begins with Cardi looking poised and regal in mid-century, cabaret-inspired costuming that echoes Beyoncé's looks in her self-titled visual album (especially "Haunted" and "Partition"). The scene quickly cuts to a series of epic costume changes and gothic interiors—including a strip club, where we see Cardi and other impressively athletic dancers in action on the pole, which was Cardi's way of earning a living before her rise in the music industry.
Juxtaposed with shots of Cardi breastfeeding her infant daughter, Kulture, the strip club scenes in the "Money" video show Cardi taking ownership of her past and present, asserting that women can be both mothers and sexual, that breastfeeding in public is perfectly natural and that sex work is work. As I tweeted upon seeing the "Money" video, Cardi reminds us that we truly shine when we can walk confidently as ourselves and own our experiences, despite the labels society may ascribe to them.
After dealing with a grueling two-weeks of post-divorce announcement touring—during which cheating, estranged husband Offset crashed her Rolling Loud set begging her to take him back—Cardi B just proved once again that she always lands on her feet.