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From Female MC To Washington D.C.

Graphic by Toan Truong

Ah yes, Cardi B. Who can forget the notorious stripper from the Bronx who seemingly okurr’d her way to the top of the Billboard charts and won the attention of millions? Since her 2017 release of “Bodak Yellow,” the record that catapulted her to stardom, Cardi has managed to keep busy with new music, a supporting role in a feature film and even raising a daughter with now-husband Offset from the hip-hop group Migos. As if her resume could not get any more extensive, it seems the 27 year old is ready to dive headfirst into a career that diverges far from the entertainment business — politics.

“I think I want to be a politician. I really love government even tho I don’t agree with government,” Cardi B tweeted on Jan. 12. The unforeseen tweet came to fruition after being inspired by war documentaries. However, many Twitter users were quick to point out her inexperience with the field, on top of the fallacies of her grammar that would render her incapable of ever being taken seriously. Regardless, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the rapper show interest towards politics. In July of 2019, she sat down with Sen. Bernie Sanders to discuss pressing issues regarding our country, with Bernie even praising her activism. Furthermore, 2016 saw Cardi voicing her opinions on President Donald Trump in a video that satirically pitched the idea of Cardi herself running for presidency during her time on the reality television series, “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” Cardi B may not have a very prominent political background, but that didn’t stop Donald Trump from running for presidency. Therefore, what exactly is the problem?

To be honest, there really is no right answer as to why people get so worked up over celebrities getting political. However, if you were to ask me, I think it most likely has to do with the fact that we rely on those in the entertainment business to help us escape from politics. I get it, the world can be a lot. Sometimes we just want to listen to our favorite artist or watch our favorite actor without having to worry about whether or not their political stance is in support or in opposition of our own. Why? Because political affiliation is something that society uses to judge character, and that is a conversation that not many are willing to address. 

The thing is, Democrats and Republicans have become so polarized to the point where they sometimes forget that there is a middle ground that both parties can establish. Take comedian and actor Vince Vaughn for example, who received backlash earlier this week for shaking hands with President Trump at an NCAA college football game. A simple handshake evolved into a heated debate regarding the integrity of Vaughn’s character and, personally, that seemed all too unfair. 

Regardless of whether or not celebrities are praising or denouncing our current government, I feel that it is their prerogative to do so, just like we have the right to speak out against things we do not approve of. Sure, if their ideas are not in line with your own, it can be difficult to see them neutrally. However, we should not force them to be silent about politics just because it is inconvenient for us. No two people ever have the same exact perspective, and when it comes to politics, that is no different. Instead of blocking out each other and sending hate to those who are not fighting on the same team as us, we should consider being more open to hearing what the other side has to offer. At the end of the day, we can benefit from our willingness to hear a new side of the conversation.

I get where Cardi is coming from. The changes she wants to see are clearly not being produced, so it makes sense for her to want to take matters into her own hands. Realistically, given the sporadic nature of the tweet, she most likely was not serious about being a politician, but the uproar it has caused has definitely raised a point that people need to be a little less concerned about the political involvement of celebrities. Cancel culture is very much a real problem we currently face, and when we start threatening celebrities to stay away from politics, we are only promoting ignorance towards serious subjects that require attention. Being a celebrity does not mean a forfeit to the right to political activism. Famous or not, anyone is entitled to respectfully express their beliefs, because that right is protected by our first amendment. Period.

Toan Truong is a third year Psychological Science major and Criminology, Law & Society minor. He can be reached at toanat@uci.edu