The 2018 MTV VMAs just validated what we all knew: Cardi B was the biggest and best breakout star over the past year. Thanks to votes cast by fans across the country, the rapper took home the coveted VMA for Best New Artist. The only thing better than watching Cardi get the credit she deserves for all of the hard work she's put in over the past 12-plus months — which includes giving birth to a baby girl in July — was watching her acceptance speech, which included a little bit of shade and a really powerful message about being a successful working mum.
"A couple of months ago a lot of people were saying 'you know you’re gambling your career. You’re about to have a baby. What are you doing?’ And you know, I had a baby, I carried the baby, and now I’m still winning awards!" Cardi bragged after accepting her award. It was a jab at everyone who doubted her, for sure. But she had a real point.
The idea that women can't have children and maintain their careers is antiquated and sexist. In the words of Beyoncé, we are definitely "strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business." However, the pressure for women to choose between their work and their children is real. Women are viewed as less competent when they prioritise their children, and bad mothers when they prioritise their careers. Something is always on the chopping block to be sacrificed. Not even Cardi could avoid this fate.
A few weeks after the birth of her daughter, Cardi pulled out of a joint world tour with Bruno Mars. It would have been huge for her career, given the success of their collaborative single, "Finesse." Cardi said that the decision was "the hardest to make" but neither she nor newborn Kulture were ready for so much travel.
Luckily for this Best New Artist, a few sacrifices do not send all of your accomplishments into the wind, and she knows it.