Was Candace Owens right Cardi B's Grammy performance was 'celebrating perversity'?
- Candace Owens is a conservative commentator, formerly a spokeswoman for Turning Point USA, hosted The Candace Owens Show on PragerU, and in March 2021, launched her all new talk show “Candace” on The Daily Wire.
- Cardi B, the Bronx-born rapper, scored number one song on Billboard Hot 100 with her controversial song 'WAP' featuring Megan Thee Stallion. It sat at the top for four weeks and spent 16 total weeks on the chart.
- Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion performed their hit song at the 2021 Grammy’s. The explicit nature of the song drew controversial comments across the board. Some called their dance moves “FIRE” and “best performance of the night” while others criticized the performance unfit for children and “disgusting and ridiculous.”
- Owens and Cardi B engaged in a Twitter war over the performance after Owens called it “an attack on American values,” through which “we are celebrating perversity in America” on Fox News.
- Controversy has been a part of the Grammy’s for years, with recent racial tension, Elton John and Eminem’s duet performance, Jennifer Lopez’s plunging Versache dress, Chris Brown and Rihanna’s pre-award spat, and Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.
While some may have found Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's WAP performance at this year's Grammy Awards racy, it was far from a celebration of perversity, as Candace Owens had suggested on Fox News. CBS, which broadcasts the Grammys, is moderated by the Federal Communications Commission, which has the power to punish stations with fines or license suspension for violating public decency standards. Further, CBS is known to have a very middle-of-the-road audience. It's unlikely that the network would air something that many of their viewers may find offensive, especially since the Grammy's Nielsen ratings are at all-time lows anyway.
'Perversity' is a subjective matter; what some people find wildly offensive, others may find amusing or entertaining. If Candace Owens' found the Grammy performance of WAP offensive, she should have simply used her freedom of choice to change the channel. Every time we turn on the TV, we are faced with many options; some we'll like and some we won't. Luckily, we can just change the channel; there's simply no need to decry the performance with overblown claims that it will cause the 'end of an empire.'
While the performance may have been too much for Owens' sensibilities, we should not be censoring artists as a society. We should be encouraging them to explore delicate and taboo subjects as their work can lead us to reflect on challenging topics, often leading to rewarding breakthroughs. If we simply eliminate challenging subject matter every time it is presented, as those of Owens' type seem to prefer, we risk missing great opportunities for growth.
Conservative pundit Candace Owens boldly put artist Cardi B in her place in criticizing the singer's Grammy performance, through which America is 'celebrating perversity.' The performance was absolutely inappropriate for mainstream television, considering children had access to it, which Owens addressed. The dance involved Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion imitating sex acts on a large bed while wearing provocative outfits. Owens continued that the 'lesbian sex scene' is destructive to American values if our nation's youth looks up to it as a source of aspiration. Just consider what 'WAP' stands for, and it is clear why so many have taken offense.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation criticized the performance noting this type of display does nothing to empower women but aids in the 'exploit[ation] and oppress[ion]' of them. Others have expressed disgust that innocent icons such as Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head have been recently banned, yet this type of behavior is somehow acceptable.
The criticism was rightful considering what came next when Cardi B responded, saying that Owens' and Tucker Carlson's discussion of it on Fox News caused the video to go viral. She continued to mock Owens in saying that she was 'inspired by our former First Lady,' referring to a nude picture of Melania Trump from decades ago.
Owens' choice of words in calling it a 'celebration' was not an exaggerated claim. The praise Cardi receives and has proclaimed for herself and Megan Thee Stallion for their on-stage acts demonstrates we live in a dominant culture that celebrates that which others rightfully call 'pornographic.' Even if the performance was less sexual, the music itself is an embarrassment to the music industry and does not represent most Americans.