Cardi B has had to defend herself from R. Kelly comparisons this week, after a years-old video resurfaced online that had some accusing the “Bodak Yellow” rapper of being a criminal.
In damning footage that got renewed attention on social media over the weekend, the 26-year-old rapper can be heard talking about drugging and robbing men when she was a stripper — things she did in order to survive, she said.
“I had to go strip,” she can be heard saying in the short video, which was reportedly taken during an Instagram Live session three years ago. “I had to go ‘Oh yeah, you wanna f--k me? Yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s go to this hotel.’ And I drugged n----s up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do. Nothing was motherf---ing handed to me, my n---a. Nothing.”
The video, which quickly spread across social media, led some to compare Cardi B to R. Kelly and Bill Cosby, and sparked "#SurvivingCardiB," a hashtag undoubtedly inspired by Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary that chronicled decades of sexual misconduct allegations about the “Bump n’ Grind” singer. While some defended the rapper’s actions as being firmly in the past, others called for her to be held responsible and possibly face jail time.
Cardi, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, initially defended herself in a series of tweets on Saturday.
“I never claim to be a angel I always been a street b-tch Ya be glorifying this street rappers that talk and do that grimmey street sh-t but they can’t stand a street b-tch!” she wrote in one tweet. She then announced in another tweet the following day that she’d be taking a break from Twitter for a few days, before returning the following day.
She issued a lengthy statement on the controversy on Tuesday, claiming that she did those things because she had “limited options” and “needed to make a living,” and stating in the caption, “All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future.”
“Im apart of a hip hop culture where you can talk about where you come from talk about the wrong things you had to do to get where you are,” she wrote. “There are rappers that glorify murder violence drugs an robbing. Crimes they feel they had to do to survive. I never glorified the things I brought up in that live I never even put those things in my music because I’m not proud of it and feel a responsibility not to glorify it.”
“I made the choices that I did at the time because I had very limited options,” she continued.
As for the men she referenced drugging in the video, they were all men with whom she was in a relationship, who were “conscious willing and aware,” she said.
“I have a past that I can’t change we all do,” she concluded her post.
In perhaps an instance of art imitating life, the Bronx native is set to make her feature film debut in the upcoming “Hustlers,” a movie about former strip club workers who “turn the tables on their Wall Street clients,” according to Deadline.
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