By Erma BreAnn
Stripping is to Cardi B, what my nine to five is to me.
Take a moment to reflect on that statement. - Moment over. - Now can we stop talking about Cardi B being a stripper as if stripping is such a taboo? We strip in our own lives. I’m stripping, we just call it a different name. My job title is Office Specialist. I don’t even know what it means most of the time. I guess I specialize in office work. Instead of dancing around a pole, I “dance” around an office. I wear what they want me to because a dress code is a dress code, naked sounds the same as business casual to my ears. You probably aren’t getting dollar bills thrown at you while you work but it’s dangling over your head, it’s called a paycheck.
Let’s stop making the point Cardi B is a former stripper as if that is the sole reason she got to where she is right now. That stripping is how she topped the charts as the first Black Female Rapper to hit Number 1 on the Hot 100 without a feature since Lauryn Hill. I hope no one actually believes that is how it happened. It sure would make us feel better to believe Cardi B cheated her way into success somehow, whilst we’re still dreaming. Now that we’ve gotten over the shame of stripping, we can talk about why Cardi B’s story is inspiring?
Cardi B did something we are waiting for someone else to do: invest in oneself. That is right. That’s what she did. She used her money to invest in her first mix tape and the second, within six months. She studied the craft, networked and made moves. She didn't wait for someone to sign her or tell her that she was special. When you see value in yourself, by believing in yourself, you will make things happen for yourself.
When living paycheck to paycheck, it sounds easier for a stipper because we imagine they make more money and have more free time. So we call Cardi B a former stipper as though we can’t do what she’s done. It gives us an excuse, an out, to continue this cycle. But it’s not all about money because if you don’t learn to manage your money properly you will still find yourself stuck and living paycheck to paycheck with six figures.
If anything, we should admire how Cardi B didn’t get stuck.
I see it everyday how we complain and gripe about getting out of bed to go to the jobs we hate. I would wake up sick every morning because I didn’t want to go to work. It’s a mentality we can’t shake. Then we advise others to be stuck with us, and we get salty when someone frees themselves. I followed the cycle for years, and I never made real moves to achieving my dreams and goals. Too busy making other people’s fantasies come true.
So when I here “I don’t dance now, I make money moves, said I gotta dance I make money move,” I get excited to go to work or stay up late writing my little heart out, because I know I have a vision. I am here for Cardi B like the Beyhive is here for Beyonce. ‘Bodak Yellow’ is an anthem for all of us artist and dreamers who are still “stripping” at our nine to five jobs.
How do you deal with your 9-5?
Erma BreAnn is a queer writer and poet based in Chicago. She is the creator of the blog Basic, Bad, & Bitchie at ermabreann.com, focusing on her journey through life. Follow her on Instagram: instagram.com/ermabreann