WORDS: Jemima Wiseman
Rapper Cardi B is no stranger to controversy and celebrity fall outs. She has been hailed for her openness rapping about her former career as a stripper, but this time she’s gone too far. She is almost the American dream: raised by the streets, a modern story of rags to riches, girl made good. Almost.
Like some people who come from the depths of poverty the true picture is a little uglier than we would like, and getting carried away with her story of oppression, Cardi has played herself when she took to Instagram live to tell us all how hard her life has been. Leveraging her past as a stripper she has inadvertently stumbled into revealing her criminal past and the methods she employed to rob her marks by drugging them.
Well, this isn’t the first time she has talked about drugging men, there is an earlier video of her talking about drugging her boyfriend and embroiling him in a three-way sex game which involves him unwittingly sleeping with a ‘tranny’, as she so eloquently puts it, if he were to cheat on her. She describes in detail how she would essentially date rape her own boyfriend and sexually humiliate him by drugging him into a state of helplessness. Creating a honey-trap with the aid of a trans women, and confront him with the facts after the act.
So she - completely unprompted- admits to drugging and date raping men to rob them, and compromise them into sex acts to which they have not consented.
When I started to write this article, one victim, Kevin Smith, had come forward, alleging that she also drugged him, date-raped and robbed him, and you might have expected the trial by social media to have turned on Cardi, the self-made female success of the rap world. No. That’s not what happened. It seems the sway of public opinion had more ridicule and vitriol for the victim in this case than the date-raping stripper: because she is a female, and both socially and economically disadvantaged.
The alleged victim has since retracted his comments, stating it was a joke: poking fun at men who were victims of her self-confessed date rape robberies.
Well ok, she wasn’t a Club Disney star thrust into stardom by grasping adults. But she herself was the one grasping at that which was not hers. And yes, she is a product of that world she grew up in, but why, now when the victims come forward is the internet laughing?
This news has come down to a titter on Twitter among 14-25yr olds, and attracts very little attention outside of youth culture. Are we so blinkered to only notice what’s going on with artists of our own generation or does this kind of toxic ‘femininity’ get a pass?
The outrage and upset over R Kelly’s sexual misconduct has been viscerally felt, and I too was shocked and appalled by the charges brought against him. He was prolific in his abuse, and he used his power and influence to exert his sexual-violence on to very young girls. His apparent immunity to the law was another source of outrage for years. Allowing him to abuse impressionable often under age girls, sparking a list of hashtags in recent years as we all became more media savvy.
The #survivingcardib response is a reference to this. But the overwhelming majority of responses to Cardi B’s actions is pretty poor and unsympathetic to the men she abused.
There is a sense that the men were guilty too, because she was a stripper. There is an assumption that poor little Cardi was solicited as a prostitute, and that’s illegal ‘so what did you expect’.
The alleged victim took to Twitter admitting he had fallen victim to Cardi while engaged to be married. In the social media post- which has been recanted since the backlash from fans and unsympathetic public opinion- stated he had a few drinks with Cardi, and may not have known she was a sex-worker. We can assume he didn’t know she was a thief when he invited her back for a drink at his hotel.
It might be stupid to invite a strange woman into your hotel room, but as we know from the 1992 rape trial of Mike Tyson, this does not constitute consent to sex.
Whether the social media post is true or not, Cardi has implicated herself and admitted abusing men using her sexuality and a concoction of drugs and alcohol to rob and control men: this is not a role model to anybody’s children. This is illegal and morally bankrupt behaviour and it is not acceptable just because the victims are men.
The saddest thing about this situation is that men have been lured into a false sense of security after the massive #metoo movement of 2018. Believing the times had changed and we live in an era that recognises victims of abuse of any gender only to be met with ridicule. Good luck undoing the damage to the real victims Kevin Smith: if indeed you are not one.