Haters are just going to hate, right? But why is it that in black entertainment there is always some sort of jealous rivalry drummed up between artists within the same genre of music? We’ve had so many beefs and wars over the years between artists vying to be the greatest, but isn’t there enough seats at the table? As a community, we are a talented bunch, but more often than not, we tend to tear each other down rather than build each other up.
The imagery of crabs in a barrel comes to mind. A left over sentiment from slavery seems to continue to plague black people. Rather than help each other rise above, we prefer to drag each other down while climbing to the top. If I can’t have it, then neither can you. If I can’t stay on the top, then I definitely won’t allow you to do it either.
Recently, during New York Fashion Week at the 2018 Harper’s Bazaar ICONS party, a fight erupted between two female rap titans, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. The altercation seems to have been allegedly started by Cardi B, in which she sustained a contusion on her forehead, but it is not clear how she got it. While losing her cool may seem messy to some, Cardi B seems to be justified in her vitriol toward Minaj.
Subsequent to the event, Cardi B took to her Instagram and posted an address captioned, "Period." While she never mentions Nicki Minaj by name, she insinuated that Minaj tried to sabotage her career on the sly. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was Minaj making disparaging comments about the "Bodak Yellow" rapper’s daughter, Kulture Kiari.
In the Instagram post, Cardi wrote, “I addressed you once in person, I addressed you a second time in person, and every time you copped the plea!! But 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**kin' off!! I’ve worked too hard and come too far to let anybody f**k with my success!!!! Bitches talk all that s**t in they raps but in real life they p***y!! This s**t really is for entertainment!!”
This isn’t the first time that Nicki Minaj has been accused of trying to sabotage someone’s career within the female rap industry. Cardi B isn’t the first female rapper that she has had beef with either. There seems to be a trend with Minaj and her need to be the one and only female rapper.
Back in the '90s, there were many more female rappers in the game doing their thing, staying in their lane and being great. We all remember the '90s classic ode to Kool and the Gang’s "Ladies Night," where female rap and R&B stars came together for one smash hit and celebration of each other. There were no petty jealousies, no rivalries — just a celebration of talented women. Super stars like, Missy Elliot, Lil Kim, MC Lyte, the late "Left Eye" Lisa Lopez, Total, Da Brat and auntie Mary J. Blige delivered a star-studded video, a great remix and an image of black women uplifting each other for their shared talent. No such camaraderie these days amongst black female artists.
In 2010, when Nicki Minaj exploded onto the scene with her pop-tastic rap sound, she filled a gap that was left when most of the rap goddesses from the '90s had gone quiet. Her rise to fame was rapid and uncontested for quite some time, which probably lead to the inflation of her ego. At some point, a feud erupted between Minaj and the legendary Queen Bee, Lil Kim. Since then, Minaj has also beefed with Remy Ma, a former friend of hers.
Minaj, of course, denied having any issues or beef with Cardi. They were both featured on "Motorsport" by Migos, but had no shots together in the video, which raised a few eyebrows. But they claimed there was no beef and was even seen talking at the Met Gala in May of 2018.
While Minaj stuck to her guns about there not being any issues of bad blood between the two, she did, however, feel that Cardi B was ungrateful. She claimed she felt slighted after Cardi B did an interview after "Motorsport" came out, where Cardi B apparently said she didn’t hear Minaj's verse. Sounds like a lame reason to feel slighted, and furthermore, why should she be grateful to you, Nicki?
While this is just one example of how crab mentality or black crab syndrome operates in our community, it is far too prevalent and is a clear indication of why we cannot advance as a community. While Cardi B’s actions at the Harper's Bazaar party cannot be in anyway condoned, it is clear she had had enough of Minaj throwing jabs and microaggressions at her. It is sad that these two titans cannot come together and enjoy the bounty on the table laid out before them.
There are enough seats at the table for everyone. There's no need to battle for the top spot or a way out of the barrel because there really isn’t a barrel to begin with. Black women, especially, always want to compete with each other as opposed to uplifting and enjoying sisterhood.
Perhaps one day we will come to understand we are stronger when we support each other, instead of always trying to drag and throw shade. Honestly, it's time to level up.