Rapper Offset, who is a part of the hip-hop group Migos, was heavily criticized on social media last week for using homophobic lyrics in YFN Lucci’s new song, “Boss Life.” His fiancée and fellow rap artist, Cardi B, came to his defense on Saturday night and feebly attempted to convince fans that the lyrics were not homophobic.
The verse is as follows: “Pinky ring crystal clear / 40k spent on a private lear / 60k solitaire / I cannot vibe with queers.” Many people have accused Offset of using the word “queer” in that last line as a homophobic slur.
The rapper later offered an apology on Instagram with a screencap of the definition of the word “queer.” Offset explained that his intention was not to use the word as a slur, but to use it according to its original definition, meaning “strange; odd.”
“To me ‘queer’ I don’t mean someone who’s gay,” he wrote. “I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd.”
In a live Periscope video, Cardi B agreed with her fiancé, insisting his lyrics are not homophobic or meant in reference to “someone who’s gay.” Cardi also pointed out that she has never seen her fiancé treat members of the LGBT community differently.
“It has a different vocabulary on the dictionary,” Cardi said in the video. “Now, that’s a word you guys say is a bad word for gays—I never even heard that word in the first place—why don’t y’all educate people about it.”
“A lot of people are not aware about what’s wrong or right in the LGBT community,” she continued. “Why don’t we do things to educate instead of bashing and trying to label something that they not? Our schools never teach us that these are bad words.”
Cardi B’s comments—and her tone-deaf, “I’m sorry that you were offended” style apology—received backlash on Twitter for appearing to pin the blame for Offset’s ignorance on the LGBT community.
While it’s undeniable rap artists such as Migos and Cardi B are becoming influential powerhouses within their industry, with great power of course comes great responsibility. Cardi asking the LGBT community to be held responsible for not educating her and Offset on usage of the word “queer” is a major reach. Whether or not the intention was homophobic, the word “queer” has been used as a derogatory term for decades, so this is not exactly a new development.
Unfortunately, this isn’t entirely new territory for hip-hop music; the genre has attracted criticism in the past for misogynistic and transphobic lyrics. But as someone who attended Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride in 2016, Cardi B is surely more aware of her LGBT fanbase than most rappers. It is strange, to say the least, that she would claim to have zero knowledge of why using “queer” as a slur is offensive. Maybe she’d like to hold herself responsible too.