WAP: Women and Power 

Cardi B broke her music hiatus by releasing her new single “WAP” ft. Megan Thee Stallion under Atlanta Records in August of 2020. The song features guest appearances by famous female figures, including Normani, Rosalía, Sukihana, Mulatto and Kylie Jenner.

Both Cardi and Megan are familiar with expressing their sexual autonomy through their music. Since 2018, Cardi B has been rapping about her experiences before becoming a public figure, explaining that they keep her humble in her rise to fame. She speaks freely about her days as a stripper and doesn’t shy away from including those narratives in her lyrics. Her EP “Invasion of Privacy” includes multiple tracks that showcase her comfort with sex and her body.

Megan The Stallion is also well-versed in conveying her sexual confidence through her music. In 2018 she released her album “Tina Snow,” introducing her alter ego, a raw, unfiltered “pimp” version of Megan. Her discography exhibits her sexual autonomy and her comfort in her skin. Megan is one of the few rappers in her field who not only breaks the stereotype of the short, petite, female musician, but raps about it unabashedly. 

Looking at the discographies of both musicians, both lyricists are experts when it comes to expressing the sexual liberation of black women. At the very least, these types of lyrics are to be expected from the artists; however, fan responses to the music video were mixed.

Some praised Megan and Cardi for their sexually liberating lyrics. Others hated the song, deeming it too provocative. DeAnne Lorraine, a current Congresswoman, had a lot to say about Cardi and Megan’s lyrics, labeling them as “vile” and “disgusting.”

Twitter had quite a bit to say about the outfits that Megan and Cardi B sported. Fans criticized their outfits, believing them to be too promiscuous. In the same video, however, Kylie Jenner is praised for sporting similar attire. The double standard that fans give to Kylie Jenner as opposed to Megan Thee Stallion on screen is striking. 

Fans flooded twitter, policing Cardi and Megan’s outfits while giving Kylie Jenner a pass, and perpetuating misogynoir, the intersectionality of misogyny and race that specifically affects Black women. The term was coined by feminist Moya Bailey, whose idea is perfectly encapsulated by the storm of tweets implying that only Cardi and Megan’s outfits were too raunchy or promiscuous in hopes that the artists will conform to mainstream and “respectable” standards of beauty.

Jenner was in a very similar outfit to both Cardi and Megan, yet the responses to their outfits were notably different. Jenner is praised for her 10-second appearance, almost taking the spotlight from Cardi B and Megan. According to Twitter, Jenner flaunting her figure is empowering and encouraged, but Megan displaying her body in the same video warrants criticism and borderline harassment.  

Despite the mixed responses to “WAP,” Cardi and Megan do not plan to stop displaying their sexual autonomy any time soon. Shortly after the music video release, Megan tweeted about the double standard given to her lyrics vs other male rappers’ lyrics, dismissing the antagonistic fans with a curt “bye lil boy.” Cardi and Megan’s sexual liberation is a part of their brand, and enough fans enjoy the lyrics lamenting their sexual prowess for them to continue telling their stories.