Nicki Minaj and Cardi B go at it. The debate goes deep in the Black community

Rapper Cardi B, performing “Bodak Yellow” at Play Bar in Tallahassee, October 2017.
Nadia Felder | The Famuan

The very public New York Fashion Week feud between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj has been the topic of discussion everywhere, especially in the Black community where the topic got deep.

Last week (Sept. 8), hip-hop’s current leading ladies Cardi B and Nicki Minaj got into a scuffle after Cardi B threw her heel at Nicki in the middle of Harper’s Bazaar ICONS party at NYFW. Allegedly, this brawl has been brewing for about a year now.

After footage of the action went viral, Cardi B gave some background information to the confrontation on Instagram.

“When you mention my child, you choose to like comments about me as a mother, make comments about my abilities to take care of my daughter is when all bets are f— off!!” Cardi B wrote on Instagram. “I’ve worked too hard and come too far to let anyone f— with my success!!!!”

As aforementioned, the altercation occurred in the midst of a party, a majority white party. Or as Minaj would say, an “upper echelon” party. This sparked a web-wide discourse about the issue at hand, etiquette, and double consciousness in majority-white spaces.

Nicki voiced her feelings on the Beats 1 show “Queen Radio.” She expressed her feeling of humiliation while wearing an Alexandre Vauthier gown when Cardi B heckled her down.

“The other night I was a part of something so mortifying and so humiliating to go through in front of a bunch of upper echelon — and it’s not about white or black — it’s about upper echelon people who have their lives together, the way they pass by looking at this disgusting commotion I will never forget. I was mortified,” Minaj said.

Countless media outlets and event attendees witnessed it go down between the two rappers. Minaj argued that Cardi B made them both look bad in the presence of not a white crowd, but an upper-echelon crowd.

“I could not believe how humiliating it all felt because we — and I use ‘we’ loosely and I’m going to clarify ‘we’ — how we made ourselves look and I’m going to get back but before I go I want to say I would never discuss someone’s child and it’s so sad for someone to pin that on me because I’m the bad guy and they know people would believe that,” Minaj continued.

What’s the difference between white people acting a fool in public and Black people acting a fool in public? The public has been programmed to believe the narrative of Black people being uncivilized. This narrative has a long history of being told in various forms by the media. 

People took the topic to Twitter and sparked a racially-woke dialogue. A Twitter user by the name of @MyleezaKardash tweeted: “Nicki right. Y’all think that photo of Cardi leaving NYFW is so raw, but that sh– is EMBARRASSING. Y’all know how long it took for hip hop culture to be respected in fashion?”

Per history, Black people have been working their existence into white spaces since the birth of America. While white people can typically avoid Black spaces, Black people are required to navigate white spaces as a condition of their existence. This requirement enables an awareness to see us through the lens of American society, creating a double consciousness.

In the words of W.E.B Dubois, this sense of double consciousness gives a Black person the knowledge of preconceived beliefs and attitudes that American society has of them; while keeping a conscious view of who they are through their own self depiction as a Black individual.

Just like Minaj, many argue that Cardi B chose the wrong time and more importantly, the wrong space to act a fool.

See, the thing about being a minority in this country, and more specifically a Black minority, your actions and thoughts get accepted (by the majority) as the standard for your entire race. That’s how racial profiling works. It is a discriminatory practice of bias and assumption based on race or ethnicity.

In the video, it is evident that Minaj didn’t physically retaliate; yet she insinuates that the “upper-echelon” will categorize her and the majority of the Black community based on their public confrontation. Nicki Minaj does not want to be profiled, stereotyped, and boxed in as a ratchet-loud Black woman who can’t stay in her lane.

Now, if you have any knowledge of where Cardi B is from and what she represents, the idea of her throwing hands isn’t too unbelievable. Therefore, people argue that NYFW should be aware of the hood-like mentality Cardi B unapologetically carries when expecting the star to be in their space.

Knowingly, this does not give Cardi B a pass for her aggressive instigation. Of course there is a form of etiquette that is expected out of an audience when present at particular functions, but it becomes absurd when a space approves or disapproves members by the measurement of social stereotypes ingrained in one’s head.

Double consciousness is a necessary tool for survival due to the fact that racist ideologies are continuously passed across the nation. As a Black American, it is vital to recognize one’s placement on the playing field by white America.

In her own right, the regular degular shmegular Cardi B ignored the reality of her disadvantage and reputation in the white society of Hollywood as a member of the African diaspora.

The newly born star probably has little to no awareness of W.E.B Dubois’ concept of double consciousness and how the discriminatory narrative of Black Americans doesn’t’ change when you get a seat at the “upper-echelon” table.

But too often Black people get caught up in how they are viewed through the eyes of society. The struggle of co-existence in a majority white America creates a conflict between how one should express oneself vs. how one prefers to express oneself.

Just like Nicki Minaj, many Black Americans use an incident like this one to argue each other down about which caricature of the Black community will most likely be accepted by White America.

The question isn’t whether Cardi B should have chosen a different crowd to confront the beef between the rappers. The question is, why does a Black person’s virtue depend on the strength and support of white America?