Con­tin­u­ous rise to fame

Cardi B has come a long way and it seems noth­ing, not even a petty beef with Nicki Mi­naj, can stop her. Buhle Mbonambi tracks the ratchet le­gend’s ca­reer

The Sunday Independent - - SUNDAY MAGAZINE -

“I DON’T dance now, I make money moves…,” rapped Cardi B.

We may have ab­sent-mind­edly rapped along to Cardi B on Bo­dack Yel­low, but what we didn’t re­alise, was that she ac­tu­ally meant busi­ness… She was stat­ing her in­ten­tion to make real money moves and boy has she stuck to her word.

The first time I came across Cardi B was on Be­ing Mary Jane, where she was ba­si­cally play­ing her­self – a loud, smart-mouthed black girl from the Bronx on a re­al­ity show. I liked her comedic tim­ing and how she was able to hold her own against Gabrielle Union.

Then came Love & Hip-Hop: New York where she was in her el­e­ment, even go­ing as far as throw­ing a shoe at a ri­val. Un­sur­pris­ingly, it’s be­come one of the things she’s most fa­mous for, thanks to throw­ing a shoe at ri­val Nicki Mi­naj at Carine Roit­feld’s fash­ion icons party dur­ing the New York Fash­ion Week in Septem­ber.

Cardi B has come a long way from her strip­per days and drop­ping mix­tapes on Sound­cloud. She’s on the big­gest song this year, Girls Like You with Ma­roon 5, which has spent more than two months on top of the Bill­board 100 chart; her al­bum, In­va­sion Of Pri­vacy topped the Bill­board 200 al­bum chart, she has per­formed at all the ma­jor mu­sic award cer­e­monies this year, win­ning a few of them too.

She rocked Coachella while she was heav­ily preg­nant, and then re­vealed to the world she was ac­tu­ally mar­ried to Offset, one-third of trap trio, Mi­gos.

And to cap it all, she was named one of Time mag­a­zine’s 100 most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple of 2018.

When the fash­ion week squab­ble with Nicki Mi­naj hap­pened, so many fore­cast the end of Cardi’s ca­reer. And yet it was this bad girl vibe that has some­how en­deared her to so many peo­ple, es­pe­cially those in the mu­sic and fash­ion in­dus­try.

It’s com­mon knowl­edge that true in­flu­ence and suc­cess comes when fash­ion de­sign­ers and the in­dus­try can­not have enough of you. It’s that in­famy that has had the Kar­dashi­an­Jen­ners (and their men) be­come hot tick­ets at fash­ion weeks; why the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try’s prob­lem­atic faves are al­ways seated in the front row and never miss an A-List shindig.

Their edgi­ness and un­pre­dictabil­ity makes them at­trac­tive to brands and it’s al­most guar­an­teed to earn them front page head­line news.

Cardi B has quickly re­alised that be­ing true to her­self – loud, ratchet and un­apolo­get­i­cally so – is her big­gest so­cial cur­rency. You know ex­actly what you are go­ing to get with Cardi and that has en­deared her to many. That’s why she’s able to be a favourite of so many de­sign­ers.

Tom Ford, Dolce and Gab­bana, Jeremy Scott, Chris­tian Siri­ano and Pra­bal Gu­rung are fans of the rap­per, deck­ing her out in their de­signs fresh off the run­way. Anna Win­tour knows Cardi and is said to find her in­ter­est­ing – she man­aged to get in­vited to the Met Gala in her first year of rel­e­vancy, a feat that took Kim Kar­dashian-West and her fam­ily close to a decade to do.

Cardi is re­leas­ing her fash­ion col­lab­o­ra­tion with pop­u­lar fast fash­ion brand, Fash­ion Nova on Thurs­day. She’s been the brand’s in­flu­encer since 2014 and their re­la­tion­ship has seen both brands grow in pop­u­lar­ity. It’s ex­pected that her col­lab­o­ra­tion with the e-com­merce brand will be sold out within hours which is no easy feat, es­pe­cially when Fash­ion Nova is one of the fastest grow­ing fash­ion brands in the in­dus­try right now.

Tom Ford an­nounced a lip­stick named af­ter her, which sold out within hours; last year she signed a deal with shoe brand, Steve Mad­den and now Ree­bok re­cently an­nounced that Cardi is their new brand am­bas­sador. She’s the new ad­di­tion to the list of women the sports­wear la­bel has picked to ap­peal to a fe­male au­di­ence. She joins Vic­to­ria Beck­ham, Gigi Ha­did, Ari­ana Grande and Gal Gadot.

Not bad for a girl who not so long ago was an in­ter­net per­son­al­ity, mak­ing us laugh (and cringe) on Vine, In­sta­gram and Snapchat. Not bad for a girl ev­ery­one thought was a one-hit won­der. Not bad for a girl many thought would re­pel fash­ion brands. In­stead it’s been all things rosy for her, not to men­tion her thriving mu­sic ca­reer.

She’s now mak­ing even more money moves. Which she to­tally warned us about.

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