Cardi B: 'I have felt prejudice' over racial disparities in the fashion industry

Priya Elan
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Paul R Giunta/Invision/AP</span>
Photograph: Paul R Giunta/Invision/AP

Cardi B has hit out at the racial disparities in the fashion world in a new interview, saying that black artists are discriminated against despite being powerful influences in the industry.

Speaking to Interview magazine, the rapper has decried the way rap artists are treated in comparison to their white musical peers.

“When it comes to fashion, hip-hop is a big influence,” she said. “And yet, black artists have the hardest time getting pulls from designers and the hardest time getting seats at their fashion shows, and barely get endorsed by big fashion brands [when] we literally make the trend.”

Asked by the singer Mariah Carey, who she was in conversation with, whether she thought that the fashion or record industry was inherently racist, Cardi B said: “I don’t know if I would use the word ‘racism’ because everything is so technical right now.”

But she added: “I have felt prejudice. I have been involved in endorsement deals, and then I found out that certain white people got more money for their deals from the same company. I do my research. I know how much money I made that company. My fans buy my shit. So it’s like, when you’re not paying me what you’re paying these other people, it’s kind of insulting.”

The rapper, who has designed lines for Fashion Nova, featured in an advert for Balenciaga and recently collaborated with Reebok on a line of sneakers, has firmly established herself as a fashion mainstay and influencer.

She took the attention away from the catwalk in 2019 when she posed in a floral, full body outfit by designer Richard Quinn in front of the Eiffel Tower, with Vogue commenting that she had “won” Paris Fashion Week while she scored style points for wearing vintage Mugler on the red carpet of the 2019 Grammys.

Last year’s music video for WAP, her collaboration with fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion, caused a spike in searches for leopard, snake and tiger print clothes.

Earlier this month a new report revealed the fashion industry still has a bias towards white men who outnumber anyone else in executive roles. The findings from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) showed two in three black employees (63%) in the sector reported that they are regularly the “only” black person in the room.

The report – called the State of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – also revealed just 57% of black fashion industry employees believed their company was doing enough when it came to inclusivity, compared with 77% of their white colleagues.