Since dominating the music scene with her megahit “Bodak Yellow” last year, Cardi B has been the conversation on just about everyone’s lips. But when folks are not talking about the Bronx rapper’s rags to riches story or latest hip-hop collaboration, they seem to be debating the validity of her blackness — and Cardi has had enough. In a recent interview for CR Fashion Book, the rising Dominican-Trinidadian star is straight killing that noise.
“Some people want to decide if you’re Black or not, depending on your skin complexion, because they don’t understand Caribbean people or our culture,” she told Zendaya in a Q&A for the beauty and fashion magazine.
“I feel like people need to understand or get a passport and travel. I don’t got to tell you that I’m Black. I expect you to know it.”
Most critics believe that Cardi — born Belcalis Almanzar — isn’t Black because she’s part-Latina. But, as she explains, latinidad is an ethnicity. It simply means she, or her family, comes from a Latin American country. But in that region, especially in the Dominican Republic, there are people of all races, including, and largely, people of African descent.
“When my father taught me about Caribbean countries, he told me that these Europeans took over our lands. That’s why we all speak different languages. I expect people to understand that just because we’re not African American, we are still Black. It’s still in our culture,” she continued.
“Just like everybody else, we came over here the same fucking way. I hate when people try to take my roots from me.”
People who question the rapper’s blackness are at once disregarding that Latinos can be — and that millions, like her, are — Black as well as ignoring that the star is from another Afro-Caribbean island, Trinidad.
The questioning of Afro-Latinas’ blackness, of course, is not new. Most recently, Love & Hip-Hop Miami star Amara La Negra has held interview after interview explaining the difference between race and ethnicity and using herself as an example of being simultaneously Latino and Black. She’s not alone. From Hollywood to just about every ‘hood in the country, Afro-Latinos are — and have long been — fighting to exist and to be seen as their whole selves.
As Cardi says, “I really just want people to understand that the color that I have and features that I have are not from two white people fucking.”
Catch the rest of her interview over at CR Fashion Book.