Rapper Cardi B is on top of the world right now. The Bronx MC is coming off 2 massive singles, “WAP” and “Up”, and is gearing up for her sophomore album. As fans wait for the new project, some are beginning to revisit old interviews and dig up dirty on her. In one such interview, Cardi is quizzed on her use of the N-Word. She is not the first artist to be asked about their use of the world, several other acts have been criticized for using it despite not being being considered Black or African American by the masses.
Fellow Bronx superstar Jennifer Lopez famously caught some flack for her use of the world on her 2001 single “I’m Real (remix)” ft. Ja Rule. Lopez identifies as Puerto Rican and has never claimed to be black or afro-latina. Speaking on the controversy back then she seemingly brushed it off and dismissed claims that she was racist because “Ja Rule wrote the song.”
“For anyone to think or suggest that I’m racist is really absurd and hateful to me,” the singer-actress told The Associated Press back in 2001. “The use of the word in the song … it was actually written by Ja Rule [and] it was not meant to be hurtful to anybody,” she said during an interview on NBC’s Today show during a promo run around that time.
Actress Gina Rodriguez caught some heat back in 2019 for accidently singing the N-word while rapping along to a Lauryn Hill record during an instagram live. The “Jane the Virgin” actress quickly deleted the live and told followers “sorry if you were offended.” When her apology was criticized as being to vague and dismissive, she followed up with a second one, this time a lengthy note express how “embarrassed and remoresful” she was.
For Cardi, her use of the N word is a little more loaded. As vocabulary around race, culture and ethnicity continue to develop, more strides have been made to help latino people of African decent self identify outside the spectrum of just “spanish”, which itself is a term for latin speaking people of white European ancestry. Cardi, who is Dominican and Trinidadian, has identified as Afro-latina over the years, but because of her fairer skin and hairstyle choices, some feel like she may still not qualify and question her use of the word. In a recently resurfaced Vlad interview, a pre-“Bodak Yellow” Cardi tries her best to explain her use of the word as a cultural thing and something she simple “cannot stop saying” due to its ties with hip-hop and rap. She also touches on colorism and points out how dark skinned women get treated in the nightlife and stripper industry.