Cardi B: A New Feminist Icon And Rapper With A Lot To Say

Cardi B: A New Feminist Icon And Rapper With A Lot To Say

The internet sensation releases a new album, "Gangsta B*tch Vol 1."
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“Our Lord and Savior, Cardi B.” That’s how one of the newest internet sensations, Belcalis “Cardi B.” Almanzar was introduced on the Breakfast Club last week. Originally a stripper expressing her unique worldviews across Instagram, Cardi B has overcome numerous obstacles that stood in her way to become one of the biggest entertainers in the past year. Funny, bold and unapologetic she has used her voice and crude humor to begin creating an empire. It was only a few months ago that the world received news that Cardi B would be a cast member on Love and Hip Hop New York. And she hasn’t stopped there, Cardi has since walked the runway during New York Fashion Week, been invited to host an MTV show with Charlamagne the God and held numerous conversations with famous director Lee Daniels. And to continue her ever growing empire, Cardi B. just released one of the most raunchy albums I’ve ever heard. And to make it even better, it doubles as one of the most unrepentantly feminist albums in recent memory.

Honestly, when I first opened Cardi’s “Gangsta B***h Music Vol. 1” I expected a joke. The few experiences I had with Cardi B and music had been less than pleasant and incredibly humorous for both myself and the hip hop world in general. So yes, I went into her new mixtape with very low expectations and even less anticipation. But I was met with a woman at her most relentless and her most brutal. I got the message loud and clear, “This isn’t for you”. Why wasn’t this album for me? Because I am a man and Cardi B has made a musical masterpiece that is almost exclusively reserved for women. Disadvantaged, women of color to be even more specific. And I was completely fine with that. Finally, a woman in hip hop did what was previously unimaginable. She made an album that is not for male consumption and it works extremely well.

With the exception of a few party bangers, Cardi B uses her 13 track mixtape to provide an honest look into the psyche of a woman doing whatever it is to make it in a male dominated world. She covers everything from love to domestic abuse and it all works because it’s Cardi’s truth. Along with thousands of other women. Songs like “Trust Issues” and “Selfish” are poignant and reflect on a woman’s responsibility to a man while “Her Perspective” is a powerful skit reflecting on domestic abuse and the mistreatment of strippers. Even songs like “I Gotta Hurt You”, an EDM dominated club song, oozes the pain and honesty that Cardi B exemplifies. Cardi B reflects on what it takes for a woman in her position to win in society and invites other women to do the same. It takes a boldness that many female hip hop artists have yet to obtain to be able to make such a powerful declaration in what is still a male dominated industry. And I salute her for it. Twerk on Cardi B and keep “making that shmoney.”

Cover Image Credit: Complex Magazine

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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91 Days

A Tale of Family and Revenge
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91 Days has 13 episodes including a post flashback episode that gives a little more life to the characters. Each about 25 minutes long, this show is for mature audiences as it contains scenes of violence and death of children. If those things bother you in any way then I recommend not watching this anime. If that doesn’t bother you then read on.

There’s an old saying about “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” It is to imply that should a person seek revenge, they should dig a grave for their target and for themselves. As feeding into vengeance is killing yourself. In the anime 91 Days, he digs more than just two graves but the original point is all the same and heavily implemented.

91 Days takes place in southern Illinois in the fictional town of Lawless, during the time of Prohibition, a.k.a the rise of organized crime in America. One night, young Angelo witnesses his entire family being murdered including his younger brother at the hands of three men on the night of his birthday. He alone escaped that night, only to the hesitancy of one of the shooters. He lived as an empty shell for seven years until he receives a letter from an anonymous sender, detailing the names of the men who killed his family and where to find them. And for the first time in a while, he has a spark of life burning in him. He sets out on his quest for revenge in a time where the law was more broken than any.

What’s most interesting about this show is that it’s performed by Japanese voice actors, but the things they say are Italian-American expressions. Everything in the show is very Americana, referring to the aesthetic styles and cultures associated with the history of America, the scenes and the culture that is portrayed in the show are very authentic. But with the characters being voiced in Japanese it provides an intriguing juxtaposition albeit in just an audio sense.

It’s almost eerie how well the creators captured this little slice of Americana and made a more interesting series about Prohibition and Italian mafia than some American studios, certainly more interesting than the Godfather movies (yeah, I said it. Fight me over it.) It just goes to show how much better a piece of media can be by doing the proper research on whatever culture, time period and incorporating it into your work. Of course, there’s a certain threshold where that becomes unnecessary and the whole thing becomes convoluted but that’s for another time. The point being that Shuka (the studio that created 91 Days) did their research and made an original show with a genuine feel to it.

If you have a thing for drama and action then this show oughta fill your quota on both. The lengths Angelo goes to in his thirst for revenge is unlike anything I’ve seen in a TV show or movie. I don’t want to give anything away if you’ve decided to watch it, but I’ll say that at one point it becomes almost counter productve. If you have the time I highly recommend watchng this series, I hope you enjoy it!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.funimation.com

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