Cardi B at the VMAs: How a Rapper Sparked a Pro-Life Message


Abortion supporters often present a false choice for women: an education and career or an unplanned baby. But one rapper is proving them wrong. And regardless of whether or not she is pro-life, her remarks are inspiring pro-life messaging in the media.

Cardi B is still a new name in the entertainment world, but the 25-year-old rapper quickly rose to fame in 2018. Not only did she successfully release her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, in April, but also she won three awards at MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) August 20. She took advantage of that latest event, the VMAs, to call out critics who warned she couldn’t continue her career unless she aborted her new baby girl.

“A couple of months ago, a lot of people were saying, you know, you’re gambling your career, you’re about to have a baby, what are you doing?” Cardi B said seconds after winning the VMA for “Best New Artist.” “And you know, I had a baby, I carried the baby. And now, I’m still winning awards!”

She was referring to Kulture, her surprise one-month-old baby with husband and rapper Offset. She was also referencing her critics – again.

Cardi B first revealed in an April interview that people online and around her pressured her to abort Kulture. But, she said, she “didn’t want to deal with the whole abortion thing.”

“It just really bothers me and it disgusts me because I see a lot of women online like, ‘Oh, I feel sorry for you. Oh, your career is over,’” Cardi B admitted at one point. “Like as a woman, why can’t I have both? Like, why do I gotta choose a career or a baby?”

She didn’t have to, and so she chose both. But choosing one or the other is a common talking point among abortion supporters. In 2015, Cecile Richards, then president of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, called abortion “key to women’s opportunity to be financially secure and pursue their dreams.” Two years later, NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue wrote that she could “finish my education and dedicate my life to human rights and environmental work and political change” because of her abortion.

But that didn’t stop news outlets and women’s magazines from applauding Cardi B’s decision at the VMAs.

Time magazine recognized Cardi B’s “Major Mom Power Moment” as writer Melissa Locker called Cardi B’s words a “statement about pursuing her art as a mother.”

As Glamour’s headline put it, “Cardi B Shut Down Critics Who Said a Baby Would Ruin Her Career.” For the women’s magazine, contributor Lynsey Eidell acknowledged that, “for all her success, Cardi still faced the same tired criticism that nearly all working mothers encounter: that she can’t have a thriving career while also raising a child.” But, Eidell argued, “if anything,” motherhood has gave Cardi B’s career “a boost.”

Similarly, Marie Claire’s headline repeated, “Cardi B Says Motherhood Won’t Stop Her From Winning.” Writer Amanda Mitchell stressed that “The idea that motherhood and a career cannot coexist is one that should have been left in the dusk a long time ago.”

Refinery29 praised Cardi B for taking a “Stand For Working Moms Everywhere.”

“The idea that women can’t have children and maintain their careers is antiquated and sexist,” added writer Sesali Bowen. “In the words of Beyoncé, we are definitely ‘strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.’”

She applauded Cardi B for being a rebel.

“[T]he pressure for women to choose between their work and their children is real,” she added. “Luckily for this Best New Artist, a few sacrifices do not send all of your accomplishments into the wind, and she knows it.”

And maybe, because of her, other women will know it too.

At a 2017 press briefing, March for Life president Jeanne Mancini stressed that women “have that incredible strength in them to choose life” and “often, that’s just all they need to hear, is ‘You’ve got this. You can do this.’”

Whether they know it or not, Cardi B and her media fans are spreading that message.

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Katie Yoder serves as the associate culture editor at NewsBusters and is a columnist for She is also the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow for the Media Research Center’s culture division. Follow her on Twitter @k_yoder.

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