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Cardi B coronavirus comments: From new song remix to criticizing government response

Hip-hop artist Cardi B is using social media to call the government to action about coronavirus. In a post made to her Instagram just Tuesday, she said "Thank you" to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  – Photo by Wikimedia

“Coronavirus, coronavirus, s--- is getting real,” Cardi B ranted in an Instagram video posted March 10 and, honestly, if you haven’t heard this rant at least once, then you probably aren’t just quarantined from the world but also from your internet. Since that video was posted, not only has it gone viral, but it also has inspired a Billboard-topping remix.

The 46-second video shows Cardi B, wearing a beige, chain-link dress, criticizing both the government and the people who do not believe the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is real. Though the hip-hop icon, whose real name is Belcalis Almánzar, is usually known for her crazy, unfiltered conversations with fans, this one was particularly truthful. She began by saying, “Let me tell y’all something, I ain’t even gonna front,” and then continued on about how she was genuinely scared.

In this COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more evident than ever before that the one-percenters, including celebrities and influencers, are out of touch with the public. With the “Imagine” compilation video, featuring Gal Gadot and other celebrities, there was a public outcry because people would rather have these celebrities donate to causes than sing about quarantining in their large homes and private estates, as critics have pointed out. 

But Cardi B seems to be the most relatable artist currently out there. When she posted her Instagram response to the pandemic, she inspired a slew of interpretations. Brooklyn-born Brandon Davidson, who goes by the DJ name iMarkKeyz, released a remix of her rant, called “Coronavirus.”

When interviewed by Variety about his inspiration for the track, iMarkKeyz answered “The line where she said 'Coronavirus,' it was a hype type of feeling. In my mind, I wanted a crunk beat to it.” His track became an instant sensation. Upon release, “Coronavirus” topped the charts, ending up as No. 9 on Billboard’s Rap Digital Song Sales and No. 13 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales charts dated March 28, according to Billboard.

The inspiration didn’t stop there. DJ Snake, who once collaborated with Cardi B in the hit song “Taki Taki,” released a Youtube video of his process in creating his own remix. The video also spawned the #CoronavirusChallenge where dancers, wearing face masks, are featured showcasing their own routines to the beat of the “Coronavirus Remix.”

When a fan posted on Twitter asking DJ iMarkKeyz if he would consider donating the royalties from the track to food banks or shelters, he responded with, “That was my goal.” Cardi B, for her part, agreed with iMarkKeyz, and wrote back, “YES! THAT'S WHAT WE GOING TO DO!”

Cardi B returned to Instagram on March 24 with a video captioned “I said what I said,” where she criticized the U.S. government's failure in dealing with this crisis and celebrities for taking advantage of their privilege. She also questioned how the government could expect poor people to pay for expensive COVID-19 testing.

She picked up on the trend that celebrities have been getting tested even though the government has been warning people without symptoms to not take up unnecessary resources. “But if a celebrity is saying, 'Hey, listen, I don't have no symptoms, I'm feeling good, I feel healthy, I don't feel like nothing but I went and got tested and I'm positive for (COVID-19).' That causes confusion,” Cardi B said.

While wearing a mask that had “NINETYNINEPERCENTERS” written on it, Cardi B hit back at some of the COVID-19 policies that are legitimately on the minds of the working and impoverished classes.

One point she makes is about how hospitals are sending people home if they do not demonstrate severe symptoms. "What do they think they're sending people home to? Not everybody has the luxury to go in their f---ing bedroom and to go in a big-ass house and get away from people."

Granted, Cardi B is now afforded the luxuries and insulation that many of the people she stands up for in the video do not have. But, that does not mean that she does not relate to the public any less, showing her concerns especially by voicing her frustrations with the government’s response and celebrity privilege. Let’s not forget that she was recently part of the ninety-nine percent herself, working as a stripper before becoming famous.

Nevertheless, Cardi B has arguably used her platform the best in attempting to educate the public more and promote social distancing. Recently, artist Colton Valentine added a facemask to his mural of Cardi B on 802 San Pedro Ave., San Antonio. Valentine was inspired by Cardi B’s COVID-19 rant and calls for people to stop the spread by wearing masks.

"I was worried that I was going to ruin it and I was worried the city was going to get mad at me," he said. "But I just had this deep intuition that it was just something that I had to do."

It’s amazing how much power one celebrity can have in positively spreading awareness among people who need encouragement. As iMarkKeyz said, “My other goal was to show Cardi that she has people who love her to death just by being herself. With all this happening, it shows the impact that Cardi has on everyone all across the world.”

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