Nearly half a million people tuned in to Cardi B clapping back against her own husband after he accused her of cheating on him in a now-deleted Instagram story.
On Monday, Cardi took to Twitter Spaces, sharing a short, three-minute long update clearing her name after Offset alleged she slept with another man. She started the Twitter Space by belting out lyrics to “I Should Have Cheated” by Keyshia Cole, before addressing his accusations directly.
“Listen…don’t pay attention to that country man, y’all,” she said to listeners. She then went on to suggest he was “spiraling” and believing things that weren’t true.
Then she made an interesting point about how difficult it would be for her to cheat given her level of celebrity.
"Come on, now. I’m Cardi B. I think sometimes motherf–kers forget I’m Cardi B,” she said. “If I was giving this pussy to anybody, it would be out. I’m not just anybody.”
She then appealed directly to Offset, imploring him to “stop acting stupid,” before concluding her Twitter space with the following:
“The f–k? Stop playing,” she concluded. “That’s all I’mma motherf–king say because for real, let’s be serious.”
Cardi often appears on platforms like Twitter Spaces and Instagram Live to talk to her followers – so everything about how she’s handling this is totally on brand for her, everything from the “I’m Cardi B” celebrity defense to the expletive-laden address to her followers on Twitter Spaces.
But this is an extra interesting situation considering their history, which I wrote about here. Typically, it’s been Offset in the hot seat over cheating allegations, not Cardi B. In most heterosexual celebrity relationships, it’s typically the man in the hot seat over allegations of infidelity. It’s not to say women aren’t cheating, but it is to say women tend to be better at keeping it a secret – a non-negotiable if you’re a famous woman having an affair.
It’s tough to say whether Cardi B did actually cheat, but if she did, many might agree she was within her right to, especially if we’re looking at it through the lens of the lick back. I first wrote about the lick back here, after Gabrielle Union described cheating on her first husband as a way of coping with imbalances in her marriage. Considering that the foundation of the lick back lies in the revenge aspect, Offset may have been due for a taste of his own medicine.
Cardi also chalked up her husband’s accusation to the fact that he is “spiraling” – and she may have a point. This past weekend, Offset performed with Quavo at the BET Awards, making this the very first performance the pair has done together since the murder of their bandmate, Takeoff.
The entire experience must have been very triggering for him – especially considering his strained relationship with Quavo both prior to and after Takeoff’s death. It was nice to see them put their tensions aside for the sake of the performance, which featured a tribute to Takeoff in the form of a massive hologram-esque depiction of him in the background while they performed on stage.
What’s also interesting is how much grace we extend to men who lash out like this – and against their own wives at that – during times of intense emotion, despite having the complete opposite expectations and treatment of women who are accused of being unfaithful.
I penned an entire piece about the complexity of Black grief so that people would better understand the myriad of emotions at play for people just like Offset after the death of a loved one. But months later, I don’t find myself capable of extending the same level of empathy if he is in fact a victim of the same infidelity he inflicted on his wife.
In addition to the piece I wrote about Offset’s grief, I also wrote a piece detailing some of the visible toxicity that is constantly on display with him and Cardi B. These are all claims constantly being echoed by her fans, who have suggested to her that she’s in an abusive marriage, which she has vehemently denied.
Offset’s claim of Cardi’s infidelity is gaslighting at best – which makes the lyrics to the song she started her Twitter Spaces update with a germane choice: “You can’t accuse me of all the things you know that you are guilty of.” Some online users are wondering if he’s reverted back to his unfaithful ways and is simply projecting ahead of another wave of infidelity rumors making headlines.
It’s unfortunate to see Cardi B bearing the brunt of Offset’s grief and “spiraling” when she’s done so much to support him after the loss of Takeoff. It’s part of the reason that in my piece about Black grief I suggested deep healing for him and Quavo in the form of therapy – which is often avoided among rappers as it’s associated with weakness due to the stigma surrounding “needing help”. Unhealed trauma lives in the body and manifests itself in a variety of ways and Cardi and the pair’s two children will likely experience the full scope of that due to their proximity to him.
It’s a wonder what will come of this accusation and what will happen for this couple in the coming weeks and months. But isn’t it always? This pair has proven to be unpredictable, unconventional and in a league of their own. Perhaps they’d be better off dealing with their issues in that league of their own and leaving the half a million people that tuned into Cardi's Twitter Spaces update out of it but right now that’s not Cardi’s way.