Offset and Cardi B’s deteriorating marriage has been the subject of commentary, criticism and controversy for what feels like weeks. He’s launched an entire social media campaign to convince her to take him back after his infidelity, and it all reached a fever pitch at Rolling Loud this weekend as Offset and his sympathizers crashed what should have been a major moment for Cardi—all in the name of “love.”
The couple were married last fall and went public with the news a month after officially getting hitched, when Offset “proposed” to Cardi onstage at Powerhouse 2017. Despite complications—he has three children with three other women and was being sued for unpaid child support for the third child—Cardi and Offset became one of hip-hop’s most high-profile couples, as she became one of the biggest new acts in music. Amid her rise, subsequent pregnancy and the birth of their daughter, Kulture, there were constant cheating allegations swirling. Things finally came to a head last month, when Cardi announced her split from Offset after a year of marriage.
She shared the news via Instagram, and immediately there were reports that another woman, 20-year old model Summer Bunni, was pregnant with what could be the Migos rapper’s child.
With the drama swirling, the media eating up every moment of it, and fans taking sides, Offset decided to stage a spectacle.
During Cardi’s headlining performance at the Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles, where she made history as the first woman to ever topline the fest, Offset took to the stage to beg his estranged wife to give him another chance. He appeared with roses and proceeded to publicly apologize for what he’d done. “TAKE ME BACK CARDI” signs were strategically placed behind them by stage officials just before his entrance (the two share a management team). Cardi dismissed the moment, and after a heated exchange, Offset exited the stage.
The performative aspect of public apology is always manipulative. Some would argue that if you screwed up publicly, you should say “I’m sorry” publicly, but that gets messier when considering how much a celebrity can use public opinion to fuel sympathy and add pressure for reconciliation for appearance’s sake. No one is naïve to this—and in this case, it’s become especially egregious, as a litany of A-list rappers have stepped forward to add their voices to what’s become a “Take Offset back” din. T.I., The Game, 21 Savage, 50 Cent and others have chimed in across social media and elsewhere, with everyone suggesting that Offset deserves another chance with Cardi.
21 also performed at Rolling Loud, and had Offset come out during his set as he led the crowd through a “Cardi, take Offset back” chant. “I feel you bro..Take Offset back Cardi B. Ain’t nobody perfect,” T.I. tweeted. The Game shared his thoughts via Instagram. “When I saw the blogs posting about offset, I felt like A-Wax in #Menace2Society,” Game shared on IG. “Not my nigga it’s a few couples out here that these young people really be rooting for.. for example: Hov & Bey, Savannah & Bron, Kobe & Vanessa, Melo & La La & as of late, Cardi & Offset. Yea I know, my nigga fucked up but we’re all human and trust me when I say… there are niggas out here doing way worse shit to their girl than just entertaining a few hoes via texts. Now, I don’t know all the dynamics between you two nor does anyone else on the internet, but what I do know is you guys look great together and with the marriage and addition of your beautiful baby girl it’s only right you guys reunite immediately for the good of you guys family unit.”
“I feel like these days, relationships, the family environment of old is slowly fading away and you guys amongst others n the ones I named above serve as super dope examples for this new generation of growing couples to remain solid and really stay true to those wedding vows ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART.’”
That sense of solidarity and togetherness seems to be consistently and predictably one-sided. Of the rappers most vocal in their support of Offset, there aren’t many songs about not giving up on a woman who may have betrayed your trust. As is the case with society at large, so many of these rappers seem to believe love means a woman proving what she’s willing to endure from her man; but when the roles are reversed, a man would be a fool to endure such disrespect from a woman. That double standard has made this entire episode farcical on its face.
High profile rap couples enduring turmoil isn’t anything new. T.I. and his wife Tiny famously endured marital troubles in the public eye over a span of two years, as stories of his infidelity seemed to finally reach the boiling point. Their divorce has been pending since 2016. Kehlani was subject to widespread cyberharassment and threats when it was presumed that the singer cheated on her then-boyfriend, NBA star Kyrie Irving, after rapper PARTYNEXTDOOR posted a pic of him and Kehlani in bed. When Kehlani later shared a photo from a hospital bed, stating that she’d attempted suicide, fellow R&B star Chris Brown mocked her for “doing shit for sympathy.”
When Savage split with his former girlfriend Amber Rose earlier this year, there was speculation that she’d cheated. “Amber cheated on 21 with one of his friends,” an “anonymous source” told Celebrity Insider in May. “She feels horrible about it. That’s why she’s still the one in love while 21 is over her.” In his response to an IG post about Amber cheating, Savage commented: “dats cap she would be dead.” The denial by both parties notwithstanding, it doesn’t seem that there’s much room for a woman’s discretions and offers of “nobody’s perfect.” Why are so many so obsessed with Cardi forgiving Offset?
But the idea that “a man is going to be a man” has been so deeply entrenched in so much of American culture and beyond. We give so much latitude to wayward husbands and expect wives to endure, forgive, and repair unions that their partners never valued enough to respect in the first place. Cardi B has been having one helluva gold-star year were it not for the mess that infidelity has caused within her marriage, and she shouldn’t have to pay for her significant other’s callousness. Beyond that, for so many high-profile stars to publicly pressure her is reprehensible; the way this is all publicly playing out is unbelievably awkward and cynical, and for artists who aren’t directly involved to feel obligated to add to the spectacle is shameful.
A marriage is between those bonded within it—even in an age of IG posts and Twitter confessionals. Male stars pressuring a woman to forgive a cheater is enabling said cheater and turning him into a victim. For a genre that’s given us everything from “bitches ain’t shit” to “these hoes ain’t loyal,” that’s a sad commentary on how deluded male entitlement can be. We have to become more emotionally mature and self-aware as men, and stop relying on emotionally manipulative strategizing to maintain power in relationships. A public-pressure campaign is nothing more than this, and it bulldozes over how deep the wounds are. When a bond is repeatedly broken, an individual has to take their emotional and psychological well-being into account. And if a person is using tactics to push you into a corner, they’re often more invested in control than they are change or growth. Sometimes, that’s just not something you take back.