photo from Wikipedia Creative Commons

Ex-stripper, now Grammy-winning-rapper, Cardi B, began her community service court order last Friday.

According to prosecutors, Cardi B and her entourage attacked employees of Angels Strip Club in Flushing, Queens, in 2018, throwing chairs, glass bottles and hookah pipes in an apparently personal dispute with a bartender. Cardi B was arrested for her role in the catfights, which allegedly began with claims that the bartender had had a sexual affair with Cardi B’s husband Offset. The bartender and another Angels employee reported minor injuries from the incident.

According to Rolling Stone, “The Grammy-winning rapper pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 15 days of community service.”

The New York native’s plea deal for the brawls involves speaking to girls as part of “Girls Talk,” a police mentorship program designed by NYPD Chief of Training Juanita Holmes “to build trust and foster mentorships between police officers and girls, with occasional special guests,” according to HuffPost. “The 30-year-old ‘Bodak Yellow’ singer visited an NYPD ‘Girls Talk’ event at the police training academy in Queens and shared what the department said was ‘her rags to riches story.’ She danced with teens and posed for photos.”

“I feel like there’s so many people that make y’all probably feel like, ‘This is what’s cool, this is what’s going on, this is what it takes to be lit, this is what it takes to be fire,’” Cardi B told the young girls.

“Sometimes that’s a little bit of peer pressure like on a girl. Don’t fall into that. You know what I’m saying? Like, be great. Be you. You’re amazing. You’re dope yourself.”

The NYPD posted a video on Twitter, which highlighted the “inspirational event,” as well as invited criticism from Cardi B’s critics, including a retired police lieutenant, who questioned the rapper’s appropriateness as a role model, HuffPost reports, “given her sometimes provocative lyrics, criminal record and past admission that she drugged and robbed men while working as a stripper before she got famous.”

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In a 2019 article, ED Publications’ Publisher Dave Manack spoke on the Cardi B confession in the aptly-named article, “Cardi B and the concept of ‘stripper revenge.'”

The former stripper, now one of the most popular hip-hop performers in the world, embraces her past at the Satin Dolls club in Manhattan as empowering. In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Cardi B reminisces:

“A lot of women here, they taught me to be more powerful,” she said in that interview. “I did gain, like, a passion and love [for] performing. It made me feel pretty… I’m glad for this chapter in my life. A lot of people always want to make fun of me—‘Oh, you used to be a stripper!’—I don’t ever regret it, because I learned a lot. I feel like it matured me.”

It’s a feel-good story we all know and love: underdog survives the grittier things in life, and now she lives it plush. We were rooting for her, until she revealed on her Instagram Live a disturbing aspect of her history.

Interspersed with stories about her wild times working the club, Cardi B bragged that when asked by customers to make a hotel visit, “[I’d say], ‘Oh yeah, you want to f*ck me? Yeah yeah yeah, let’s go back to this hotel,’ and I drugged n****s up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do.”

The Robin-Hood-wanna-be confession has some hang-up, namely: the “villains” of Cardi B’s triumph appear to be average men at the strip club who allegedly wanted more, perhaps illegally. So Cardi B admitted to drugging and robbing them (which, of course, is also illegal).

The clap-back for the usually politically-conscious Bernie-Sanders-endorsing rapper came quickly after her admission, as fans ordered Cardi B “canceled.” Never one to back down in the face of challenge—which all of her public history holds true—Cardi B fought back against the backlash:

“I never claim to be perfect or come from a perfect world wit a perfect past I always speak my truth I always own my shit,” part of her social media statement read. “I never claim to be a angel I always been a street bitch. Ya be glorifying this street rappers that talk and do that grimmey street shit but they can’t stand a street bitch.” 

Instead of reckoning publicly for admitting to drugging and robbing strip club customers, Cardi B moved into a starring role in the major motion picture “Hustlers,” which, released in 2020, glorifies women workers intoxicating and robbing their customers. It’s a so-called “stripper revenge” flick, which follows “a crew of savvy former strip club (entertainers) who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.”

Now one of the wealthiest women in the industry, worth over $80 million, can Cardi B continue to claim her victimhood?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Suggesting some recent change, on Saturday, Cardi B, shared about her recent plea deal for the strip club brawls that, “Community service has been the best thing that has happened to me.”

On Twitter, she waxed her court mandate as an emotional and spiritual journey: “Those people that we leave behind they just need somebody to talk and a lil push and YOU might be able to change their life forever,” she says of her young fans.

En route to the police academy recently, the multiple-platinum selling artist grunted on her Twitter about “waking up early to perform community service before going to the recording studio, but added: ‘I did the crime. I only have myself to blame,'” according to HuffPost.

The HuffPost reports that Cardi B agreed to a conditional discharge, pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges from the 2018 fights. Ten other counts, including two felonies, were dismissed. Two co-defendants also pleaded guilty.

Cardi also agreed to abide by protection orders for the two victims in the case: “bartending sisters known as Jade and Baddie Gi,” reports Rolling Stone.

In a self-reflective statement at the time, Cardi B said to Rolling Stone: “Part of growing up and maturing is being accountable for your actions. As a mother, it’s a practice that I am trying to instill in my children, but the example starts with me. I’ve made some bad decisions in my past that I am not afraid to face and own up to. These moments don’t define me and they are not reflective of who I am now.”

The celebrity mother of two remarks that the punishment, so far, has been grounding.

“I’m looking forward to moving past this situation with my family and friends and getting back to the things I love the most – the music and my fans,” she says. “I’ve made some bad decisions in my past that I am not afraid to face and own up to.”

Cardi B’s plea deal requires 15 days of community service to be performed by her by March 1 is she’s to avoid a 15-day jail sentence, according to HuffPost.


Read the HuffPost story here, the Rolling Stone here and ED’s Dave Manack’s take on “stripper’s revenger” here.

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons.

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