Cardi B capped off a weekend of incredible reviews and an already-certified gold album (my review is coming up next) with the official announcement of her pregnancy. On SNL. In a tight white Christian Siriano dress, during a performance of the best song on an album full of great songs. No big deal. Cardi B had a better weekend than all of us.
The pregnancy wasn’t a surprise, exactly. There have been rumours that Cardi B was pregnant for weeks. In February, she addressed the rumours in the most Cardi B way possible by saying, “let me fat in peace.” “Let me fat in peace” is what I will tell my mother next time she lovingly asks me if I’ve gained weight. That same month, TMZ reported that Cardi was due this summer.
Last Thursday, Cardi was still dodging pregnancy rumours. She told Beats 1 that everyone would have to listen to the album for answers. Smart marketing strategy. I like it. So, why did Cardi choose her SNL debut to reveal her baby bump? And why was she hiding it at all? First, let’s make it clear that Cardi B has every right to keep her pregnancy to herself for as long as she damn well pleases. We don’t know the circumstances of her pregnancy and there are many medical reasons why women choose to keep the announcement to themselves for as long as possible.
But Cardi B is a public figure who is known for her candor. She’s not Eva Mendes. She’s not the celeb who is going to go undercover for months to deliver a baby without anyone knowing. Cardi B has built a brand on her transparency so, especially during an album release, there’s got to be a strategy, right?
Well, she’s scheduled to perform at Coachella next week and we all know the only story coming out of Coachella will be Beyoncé. As a fellow Beyoncé stan, Cardi B knows this. She was also responding to rumours of Offset cheating on her while she was promoting the album right in the middle of her pregnancy. With all that, I would have chalked up Cardi’s pregnancy reveal to a simple attempt to avoid drama during the album rollout strategy – until she posted then deleted this:
Right after Cardi B’s SNL performance, a friend posted a video of Cardi walking off stage, exclaiming, “I’m finally free!”
This video prompted Cynthia Erivo and many other Cardi fans to tweet about the expectations placed on pregnant women and especially pregnant artists.
When @iamcardib said “I’m finally free” after her SnL performance (which was amazing), my heart broke, what kind of world are we in that a woman has to hide her pregnancy STILL, why are we still condemning women with children in entertainment. It’s ridiculous.— Cynthia Erivo (@CynthiaEriVo) April 8, 2018
Cardi used the words “scrutinize” and “destroy.” Cynthia Erivo used “condemning.” I haven’t seen the exact backlash to Cardi B’s pregnancy but I can imagine it has something to do with questioning her choice to have a child with a man who may or may not have cheated on her and has three kids from previous relationships or for choosing to have a child at the height of her career. Both of those choices are Cardi B’s and Cardi B’s alone.
Cardi B is getting Lauryn Hill comparisons this week because of Cardi’s sample of Ex-Factor on Be Careful. Musically, I think these comparisons are unfair because of how vastly different the two artists are but Lauryn Hill got pregnant early in her career too. The song To Zion directly addresses the choice Lauryn made and the backlash she received.
Look at your career they said/ Lauryn, baby use your head/ But instead I chose to use my heart
There is no doubt that a woman’s success can be delayed by children but many women who choose to have children continue to kill it in their careers. A friend of mine who works in a male-dominated field hid her pregnancy for a long time because she was worried about what her bosses would think. When she did reveal it, she had to field dumb comments about when/ whether she was going back to work. She had to deal with people assuming she couldn’t do her job as well because she was pregnant.
I’m not saying this is why Cardi B kept her pregnancy to herself for so long. Maybe she just wanted to channel Beyoncé at the 2011 VMAs and have a mic-drop bump reveal moment. But maybe she kept her “blessing” private for as long as possible so she could avoid the bullsh-t judgment people think they can throw at women as soon as their stomachs pop.
I’ll give the last word to Cardi B.
I started winning when the whole world was doubting on me !think imma lose with my little baby counting on me ?— iamcardib (@iamcardib) April 8, 2018