On August 7th, 2020, rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion collaborated and released a song entitled WAP. The song also came with a video featuring other female artists and influencers. Many people were concerned about the song’s lyrics as it is a very sexually explicit song. But in a time where female rappers are dominating the music industry and sexual liberation is more encouraged, why is this song so problematic to so many people?
In the center of this debate over the appropriateness of the song are surprisingly men and even politicians who want to get the song banned. Former Republican Congressional Candidate, DeAnna Lorraine, tweeted on August 25th “America needs far more women like Melania Trump and far less like Cardi B”. This is supposed to be received in the sense that Melania Trump has the class that women are “supposed” to have while Cardi does not even though the women are in no way related to each other.
The main argument is that the song is not a good example of how young women should behave and that it is not appropriate to play around children. The fault with this argument is that the song is not meant for kids. It is not the artist’s job to censor their work and vision so that parents do not have to pay attention to what their children are absorbing.
The secondary issue of the song representing how women should not behave is extremely problematic because it creates an idea that the bodies of the women or anyone who listens to the song are not their own to do what they please. For years men have been making songs where they have been sexualizing and objectifying women as playthings for their enjoyment and joke about ‘punishments’ if these women are disobedient or displease them in any way. The moment that two grown, successful women rap about the independence of their own bodies it becomes a problem proving that women are only allowed to be sexually liberated when it is convenient and pleasing to men.
This discussion brought attention away from the amazing visuals, choreography, and features in the visual and have diluted the fact that two black, successful female artists are just as involved in mainstream media as they are. The video included other well-known women in the music industry such as Normani, Rolasia, Mulatto, Sukihana, and Rubi Rose as well as a surprise appearance by Kylie Jenner. The song and visuals display confidence that some people may not have been ready to see from women but were beautifully executed nonetheless.