As the year winds down, I think we need to discuss and pay homage to perhaps the most important song to come out in these last twelve months: “Bodak Yellow”. If y’all think I’m kidding, go ahead and have a seat.
I was at brunch a few months ago when that song played and the room erupted into dance (the brunch was pretty live). Someone at our table asked why women seemed to love that song so much. Being drunk and mid twerk, I found myself unprepared to give a comprehensive answer, but knew I needed to dissect it for myself.
The thing is, “Bodak Yellow” is obviously an anthem. It’s catchy, you can yell to it, and it makes you feel like you too can afford even one pair of Louboutins. It’s the definition of “Bad Bitch” in song form, well written and produced — did I mention it’s catchy?
These alone would have been enough to launch it to number one for several weeks, but I think it goes deeper than just being a “good song”. There’s a reason why “Bodak Yellow” shattered records and made history this year. It’s about a woman — of color, because it matters — unabashedly and unashamedly celebrating her Self and her Come Up. (For those of you struggling with the definition of a “Come Up”, think along the lines of Drake’s “Started from the Bottom Now We’re Here.” I realize I just clarified a slang term with more slang but alas, here we are. And you get it don’t you? You got it).
“Bodak Yellow” is what intersectional feminism looks like. It’s not pandering to outdated ideas and ideals of what feminism is. It’s not some Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton bullshit, it doesn’t exist as a function of Whiteness. In “Bodak Yellow” Cardi B, again, as a woman of color, reclaims her power, decides for herself what success is, and whom she will share it with (“If I see you and I don’t speak, that means I don’t fuck with you” #bloopbloop).
It’s about finally becoming self-determined, holding the keys if you will. And I think the great thing about it is Cardi B has done all this and stayed authentic throughout while also making the sentiment universally applicable. Maybe I didn’t get a bag and fix my teeth but I fucking defended my dissertation. Or finally kicked old boy to the curb. Or got that promotion and negotiated a crazy pay raise. Or realized some other internalized marker of growth. We can relate to that joy, and it’s not uppity or pretentious, it’s a genuine celebration of victory.
I feel like Cardi B and “Bodak Yellow” deserved every compliment, commendation, praise, honor, and accolade they received this year. It’s so much more than its radio playability and I for one am looking forward to much more #BlackGirlMagic coming out of Cardi in 2018. Cheers bitch!