Earlier this month Cardi B joined SZA, 21 Savage, Metro Boomin and a handful of notable rappers in Spotify’s annual RapCaviar “Pantheon” which immortalizes “names that are forever etched into [hip-hop] culture with songs that no one will ever forget”. The Grammy Award Winning rapper was inducted alongside hip-hop successes Jaden Smith, Juice WORLD and Gunna . The four 2019 RapCaviar inductees were honored with “masterfully crafted, ornate, life-size sculptures that captured their vibrant personalities.” Interestingly, Cardi’s statue finds the 26-year old standing tall with a crown on her head and a cellphone in her hand. “Cardi B has cemented herself not only as one of the top acts in hip-hop, but also as one of the most important artists in all of pop culture. This past year, [she has] owned the cultural conversation, and the phone in her sculpture is a nod to her influence going beyond music” (Carl Chery, 2019). Through Instagram, Cardi B has been able to transcend herself from a normal girl from New York to a household figure making an impact across the globe.
Back in 2014 I discovered and fell in love with Cardi B on Instagram. At the time, the 21-year-old used the platform to share her stories as a stripper and express her views on men, women, sex, family, poverty and popular culture to her then 500K followers. Her controversial and often unfiltered rants that explored everyday topics made her authentic and furthermore relatable. According to C. Cunningham in Social networking and impression management, “maintaining authenticity appears to be key to effective impression management. When designing their self-presentation, people can feel pressured to present self that is consistent with existing reputations or likely future actions. A greater preoccupation with one’s social image fosters an emphasis on consistency rather than on a positive image” (Cunningham, p. 36). In 2015, it was announced that Cardi would be cast on VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop. Finding success in primetime television, Cardi’s Instagram quickly increased beyond the million-follower mark. Despite the newfound fame, the Bronx entertainer still maintained the same genuine Instagram persona that found her fame years earlier. In a time where social media culture highlights the best aspects or selected interests of users, Cardi continued to expand her audience by giving us the glamorized lifestyle of Hollywood alongside the realistic lifestyle of a girl from the Bronx, New York. “By highlighting interests or activities on social mediate profiles, we may emphasize some aspects of the self and deemphasize other less desirable attributes, creating an ideal self” (Humphreys, p. 85). In 2016, Cardi B’s debut single “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” went viral smashing record across the globe. Even then, with over a then-14 million followers, Cardi B made the connection as a “regular girl” on Instagram.
Fast forward 2 years, Cardi B is at the top of her game with 40 million followers on Instagram, an endless list of awards and certifications and a handful of global hits. Even with all the success, Cardi still uses her Instagram to connect with her fans on an authentic level. When she’s not delivering a controversial rant or promoting one of her projects or a partner brand, Cardi uses her Instagram to connect with her fans often interacting with fans often commenting on fans posts or even reposting their videos. Although her Instagram has been used as a (remarkably successful) promotional tool, she’s able to maintain an authentic image through social media. This perception has allowed Cardi to influence more than music. Her impact can be felt in fashion, politics, film and many other industries. Although authenticity often outshines her image as a professional singer, it has proved effective for her career. As I find to find my online personality in a world of authenticity and social media impressions, I find myself in awe at the perfect balance Cardi used to take over the world! Check out Cardi B’s Top Instagram moments here!
Offset – “Clout” ft. Cardi B<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/mt2zvsvkKKo” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>
Cunningham, C. (2013). Social networking and impression management. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.
Humphreys, A. (2016). Social media: Enduring principles. New York: Oxford University Press.