Why Cardi B’s Success Means So Much for Dominicans in The Bronx

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Madeline Familia (Huffington Post) writes that “New York’s latest homegrown superstar parlayed her entrepreneurial spirit and giant personality into industry-wide acclaim,” expanding on the topic by explaining what Cardi B’s success means for Dominicans. Here are excerpts:

For those who have been living under a rock over the past year, Bronx native and proud Dominican Cardi B, born Belcalis Almanzar, has taken the world by storm with her hit single “Bodak Yellow.” The single reached the number one spot on the Billboard music charts, making her the first solo rapper of Dominican descent to achieve this level of success. More recently, Cardi B has received not one, but two Grammy nominations and has even graced the covers of Rolling Stone and New York Magazine. For many, this may sound like a typical urben sucess story — you know, a talented rapper, from an impoverished environment reaching success, fame and stardom — but for many Latinas (especially ‘Dominicanas’ from the BX, myself included) it means so much more. For so many Dominicans living in the Bronx, Cardi B symbolizes the promise of success.

Cardi B’s Dominican accent blending with New York slang can border on witty gibberish at times, but this did not stop her catchphrases, such as “washpoppin” and “shhmoney,” from quickly permeating the everyday speech of urban hip-hop culture. Nonetheless, what strikes our love for Cardi is the fact that she is entirely self-made. Cardi B first gained popularity not as a rapper, nor reality T.V. star, but as a social media influencer. Her Instagram videos gained popularity a few years ago when she struck everyone with her outspokenness, humor, openness, and authenticity, quickly winning a following north of one million people and landing deals with brands, such as Fashion Nova. Cardi B does not apologize for who she is and what she did to get to where she is today.

If you live in the East Coast, especially New York City, then you’re probably aware that Latinos of Caribbean descent are everywhere, but especially in the Bronx. Cardi B represents the 53.5 percent of the Bronx’s population, which boasts residents of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origins. According to a 2010 Census, “The Dominican population in the United States rose from 520,121 in 1990 to 1,041,910 in 2000, making it the fourth-largest Hispanic/Latino group in the United States, after Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans. It is estimated that, at current population growth rates, Dominicans will overtake Puerto Ricans as the largest Hispanic/Latino population of the city within the next ten years.”

What makes Cardi B so inspiring to Dominicans (or better yet, Dominican Americans) is her relatability. Cardi B is often quoted saying, “I’m just another degular shmegular girl from the Bronx,” and yes, Cardi B is precisely just that – a regular girl from the Bronx. However, she means so much more; she represents thousands just like her who may find it difficult to “assimilate” to achieve success in America. [. . .]

For full article, see https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-cardi-bs-success-means-so-much-for-dominicans-in-the-bronx_us_5a316463e4b01bdd76595b3a

See photo above and related article at http://time.com/5004551/cardi-b-interview/

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