Cardi B Tells Mariah Carey It's 'Insulting' She Gets Paid Less Than White Colleagues
The “WAP” rapper also revealed that she still gets “nervous” around other celebrities — including Mariah — and the pair tease a possible collaboration in the future.
Cardi B wasn’t quite ready to throw around the notion of racism during her chat with Mariah Carey for Interview magazine, but she was willing to go so far as to say she’s felt “prejudice” in some of her professional dealings.
“I have been involved in endorsement deals, and then I found out that certain white people got more money for their deals from the same company,” she said, declining to call out any companies by name.
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“I do my research. I know how much money I made [from] that company,” she said. “My fans buy my shit. So it’s like, ‘When you’re not paying me what you’re paying these other people, why is that?’ It’s kind of insulting.”
Mariah absolutely agreed with Cardi, though she admitted her experience has been a little different “because people don’t know how to categorize me sometimes, and that sucks.”
Of mixed-race descent, Mariah has talked in the past about how she wasn’t always completely recognized or accepted by any of her communities. On the other hand, it means she also didn’t always experience the same levels of discrimination most Black or Hispanic women endure.
“I think people should listen to the words you say because you’re saying it from firsthand experience,” Mariah told Cardi. “You’ve gotten less than other artists who are not artists of color, and yet your influence has been way broader.”
In particular, Cardi was calling out racial disparity in the fashion industry, despite the “big influence” that comes from the hip-hop community. “Black artists have the hardest time getting pulls from designers and the hardest time getting seats at their fashion shows,” she said. This, she argues, even though it’s often Black artists who get certain fashion brands trending.”
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Elsewhere in the interview, Cardi admitted to being awestruck talking to Mariah, and even a little wary that the two were meeting for the first time, even if it was just via the telephone.
“If it was in person, I wouldn’t be able to look you in the eyes,” Cardi told Mariah. “That’s how nervous I get around celebrities. And sometimes my head starts talking, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I look stupid, I feel stupid, I’m dumb.'”
But it’s not just a classic case of getting starstruck for Cardi. She also admitted that she worries she’ll lose respect, get disappointed or decide she doesn’t like somebody if “they do some funny shit” when she meets them.
“My husband always tries to tell me, ‘You can’t think like that because you’ve got to network and this is not real life,'” she laughed. But it’s not easy for Cardi, who admitted, “I don’t want to meet [artists] because I don’t want to hate them.”
“I’d rather just not know them at all and love them than meet them and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, this person’s a weirdo,'” she continued.
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Later, Cardi turned the tables on Mariah as someone who’s been in the industry decades longer, asking her if she things people are “more accepting nowadays than they used to be.”
“I feel like back then, celebrities had to have a squeaky-clean image,” Cardi said. “You just wrote a book and a lot of things you said shocked people. Is it easier now to be more open about your life?”
Mariah said she did struggle with that throughout her career, constantly being judged for every little thing she did. “When I started doing little tiny things like, ‘Oh, she’s trying to dress sexy,’ or, ‘She’s trying to always be with rappers,’ or whatever, people were shocked, like I did something they’d never seen before. I was like, ‘Why are they making such a big deal of nothing?'”
“I do think people are much more accepting now,” Mariah continued. “The world is crazy. There’s so much racism and hate and horrible shit that goes on, but I do feel like people are, at least in some circles, allowed to be themselves and express themselves more than they were back in the day. People expected me to be something specific, but I can only be me. We’re similar in that way.”
Despite Cardi’s reservations about meeting celebrities and the reality ruining her mental image of them, it sounds like these two women actually hit it off pretty well. By the end of their chat, Mariah even went so far as to ask if they could record a song together.
“I would love that. I would love to do a record that touches souls,” Cardi told her. “You had me heartbroken when I was 11 years old and I didn’t even have a boyfriend.”
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