A painful stitch in our fraying national fabric was mended this week, as an unexpected wave of comity swept over two bitter rivals. After a day of escalating tensions, the war between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B reached a sudden detente — and on Twitter, of all places.
It’s been a long eight weeks since Cardi sent a red platform heel soaring through the halls of the Plaza Hotel during New York Fashion Week. Her target, of course, was Minaj. “I’ll f—k you a— up,” Cardi shouted as guards held her back. Minaj seemed unfazed until she unloaded on an episode of her radio show. Cardi, the elder rapper charged, “has built her career off of sympathy and payola.”
Their feud had simmered for at least a year before boiling over in September. After a fraught autumn spent slinging arrows back and forth, Minaj responded to a Monday outburst from her rival by veering suddenly onto the high road. “You don’t understand why I’m so f—king successful,” Cardi said, among other things, in a lively series of ten Instagram stories. But the escalation was not long for this world.
Minaj swerved. “Ok you guys,” she tweeted, “let’s focus on positive things only from here on out. We’re all so blessed. I know this stuff is entertaining & funny to a lot of people but I won’t be discussing this nonsense anymore. Thank you for the support & encouragement year after year. Love you.”
Miraculously, Cardi concurred. Directing an Instagram post at Minaj, she wrote, “alright then! Let’s keep it positive and keep it pushing!” And with the touch of a button, it was over.
Of course, there’s no guarantee their abrupt accord will endure. Cardi’s physical lunge for Minaj mirrors her broader rise to success, threatening the reigning “QUEEN’s” post atop the rap world. She has a ways to go, to be sure, but there’s no question she’s making money moves.
Both sex and race were invoked at different moments in the feud: Minaj pointed at “men in our culture who simply refuse to let it go” last fall. “People constantly, always want to talk about how in our community—in the urban community—how we need to get along with each other. But these are the same people who want to see minority women against each other. They don’t do that sh-t in pop music. They don’t do that sh-t,” Cardi contended last October.
The rivalry amounted to a compelling joust between two of the music’s industry most charismatic personalities— and two of rap’s most successful women— driving sensational headlines for months. But while she dodged a heel not two months ago, Minaj found the strength to make nice. The gesture actually reinforced her stature, and elicited a promising response from her rival.
At last, America’s long-awaited reintroduction to the art of the truce. A momentary reprieve from the cycle of outrage trapping us in perpetual conflict. A reminder that it is not illegal to use Twitter for the forging of peace.
We’ve all thrown a few shoes lately. If these two can move on, the rest of us can try.