I know we’re all bored in the house and in the house bored, but perhaps more people—celebrities especially—should take up reading as a hobby. I hear there’s this awesome book called “The Room”—maybe celebs and other rich and powerful folks should start reading that!
In this round of “you didn’t even scan the room, let alone read it,” we have the lovable and successful rapper Cardi B! It all began late Sunday afternoon when Cardi tweeted, “Should I spend 88K for this damn purse? Omggg it’s tempting.”
Yeahhhh, most folks weren’t interested in helping Cardi decide on a frivolous purchase after nearly a year (or more, in many cases) of financial struggle and poverty during a global pandemic—and they let her know just that.
Unfortunately, Cardi took this as an “attack” on her “hard work” instead of the insensitive obliviousness her tweet embodied.
I’m less interested in what Cardi chooses to do with her money than I am about her penchant to share and boast about it to an impoverished-in-a-pandemic fanbase. Alas, after being called out about it, the 28-year-old rapper also cited the causes she donated to, including CashApp giveaways. She noted she’d donated $2 million this year, along with helping her family during the pandemic.
Eventually, Cardi decided to actually open her purse, and announced she would be donating to a few causes that evening.
“Any charity or foundation, drop your receipts under the comment. I will match what you donated and match your donation to that same charity or foundation. Let’s match energy,” Cardi tweeted.
Still, even her “charity” was sullied with a tit-for-tat—basically accusing those criticizing her for not “matching” her charity, even though she clearly has much more charity to give than most. Further, she grotesquely used that very charity to expose a fan who critiqued her—as if to hold it over her head. Not cool, Cardi.
In terms of philanthropy as a practice, Stanford University scholar Rob Reich said:
In an age of massive and rising inequality, we also see rising levels of philanthropic activity among the very wealthy. The two go hand in hand.
This might seem an uncontroversially good thing, a mechanism for the wealthy to return some of their wealth to society. It can indeed be a good thing, but the starting point of my analysis is that big philanthropy is an exercise in power—the direction of the private assets of wealthy people toward some public influence. In a democratic society, wherever we see the exercise of power in a public setting, the response it deserves is not gratitude but scrutiny.
At the time of this blog’s posting, Cardi’s latest tweet on the matter read, “Sooooooo......do ya want me to show ya the purse?”—returning to the very same lighthearted humor that attracted her fans in the first place (only this time, it wasn’t so well-placed).
Hell, she could’ve actually just posted a picture of the bag without mentioning its cost and gone about her business instead of asking people—many of whom can currently barely afford a bag of food, let alone a luxury bag—whether she should spend tens of thousands of dollars in an economy where a one-time $1,200 stimulus has been deemed sufficient by the U.S. government for an entire year’s worth of lost income. Especially when we’re all currently watching a group of government officials continue to debate their citizens’ livelihood and financial fate in some sort of petty political skirmish.
This “read the room” conversation is ongoing and came up in a different context when Letitia Wright recently took to Twitter to share anti-vaccination propaganda, then went back-and-forth debating about it with fans. The actress has since deleted her account, but just as celebrities are more accessible via social media to receive praise and adulation due to their larger platform, they are also just as worthy of receiving critique and pushback. Anyone can get it. No one is immune. No one is above it.
In a typical display of deflection, celebrities often attribute any critique to “cancel culture” or “PC culture,” accusing fans of being “too sensitive,” while being hyper-reactive themselves (Now who’s being “sensitive”?!) toward any pushback by blocking commenters or going on an hours-long rant in response to anyone expressing anything less than full-on worship. The cognitive dissonance is astounding. Sure, accountability looks like “bullying” or “an attack” when you’re used to receiving praise from upon a pedestal. In that same vein, maybe celebrities wouldn’t disappoint us so much if they weren’t constantly upheld on that same pedestal.
Updated: 12/7/20, 3:50 p.m. ET: Behold a Bardi Bag! Cardi B has revealed the bag that has everyone (especially her) in a tizzy; the same bag that caused her to ask for advice and then become upset when she got it. Drumroll, please...
So...now I know why she didn’t just post her picture and go. Black Twitter definitely had something to say about it, too.
So, I guess you could say Cardi secured another bag...but it really wasn’t worth the energy it cost her.