This weekend the world got what they were salivating for, Cardi B to announce or confirm her pregnancy. As the guest performer on Saturday Night Live this past weekend Ms. Belcalis Almanzar performed a song from her new album for her second set and as the camera pulls away a healthy round belly was revealed. Cardi B is one of the names on the long list of women who happen to rap and she is now on the even shorter list of rappers who have been pregnant during their climb to the top or at the height of their careers. Immediately when the blogs found out that she might be pregnant everyone wrote her off and basically said her career was over. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers cannot discriminate against anyone in the terms of their employment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. There are only a few that have gotten through the game without having children; Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, and Missy Elliott to name a few. Not that these women didn’t or still don’t want to have kids is not the question but whether or not having a child during that time in their lives was conducive to how they wanted to raise a child.
Only recently have we seen a major musical icon (Beyoncé) be the example on how to survive motherhood and the music industry simultaneously without having to sacrifice their career or the child’s livelihood. Mrs. Carter gave women in the music industry the blueprint as to how to maneuver what some may see as a hindrance. Women have always been made to feel like being pregnant is degrading in a way. When a woman is pregnant it is said that she can’t work, she’s “hormonal”, she has “mom brain”, and in some places you may have to relinquish your duties i.e. church. This isn’t about being married or not because married women go through the same tribulations. All of this compared to how men are treated when their significant other is pregnant. He doesn’t get time off from work even though he needs it just as much as the mother. A man can go perform while his significant other is at home pregnant. Some guys who just happen to rap miss the birth of their child being away on the road.
Just because a woman wants to exercise her femininity and bear a child she should not be encouraged or swayed to terminate the pregnancy. Lauryn Hill raps about it plainly in the first verse of her song, Zion. But she had the mental fortitude to push through the negative and despite what you may think Lauryn was still successful after having her first child. Cardi B will be the first woman who just happens to rap to be able to utilize the “Bey-print” for her pregnancy and so far so good. Nicki Minaj is at the age where she may want to have children and contrary to popular belief no woman wants to have to go through IVF or any other fertility methods unless they absolutely have to. Men can move however they want and there’re no rumors, no backhanded compliments, and there’d be no doubt as to where his career is going. A male rapper can get a woman pregnant and not miss a beat. (Pun intended)
“But everybody told me to be smart. Look at your career, they said.” – Lauryn Hill (Zion)