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Ciara and Cardi B's success proves that Black women can be successful without being tethered to toxic relationships and misogynoirist standards of womanhood.

By Clarkisha Kent Everybody likes a good Cinderella story. Well, at least that's what people want you to think. Mostly because to fit the role of the titular heroine, one must have suffered long, been painfully obedient, oh-so-modest, oh-so gracious, and exceedingly humble. Only then can one assume that this alleged Cinderella figure is the ultimate pious, virtuous, and virginal woman. And only then, would they truly deserve happiness. Except...issa lie. All of it. And Cardi B's rise to fame (read: the existence of hoes) and the public, romantic ascension of Ciara (a former, single mother) proves it. Ashy Cryeses and PickMe Tinas around the world have been thrown into a tizzy this year based on the prosperity and opulence Cardi B and Ciara have been experiencing. Usually, I’d write this all off as basic jealously and hotepery, but it's a bit more complex than that, starting with this: 1. Cardi B breaks the rules according to Judeo-Christian ideas of purity translating into reward. The myth of the "good", pious, sexually-pure woman being THE premier woman (re: Purity Culture) is a myth that predates most modern societies and finds a lot of roots in Judeo-Christian beliefs. In fact, I could dwell on how this is probably the chief instigator of the Madonna-Whore complex but that’s a story for another time. Still. Said myth has always been tied to the implication that a woman must be exceedingly "pure" and "good" for them to experience success. And whether you are a believer or not, one must acknowledge that white supremacy has no qualms with utilizing such principles to keep women and non-men in line and has done so since the beginning of time. And one must also acknowledge that this weaponization of purity has always been disproportionately applied against Black and Brown women, even in our own communities. Which is why Cardi B, the walking contradiction, makes Ashies and PickMes so fucking mad. Let's be honest: Cardi has had an amazing year. She signed with Sony/ATV. Her song "Bodak Yellow" peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She's been at every award show this year. She's been on magazine cover after cover. And she just got engaged to one-third of Migos

The memes we cackle at which ridicule these hoteps may be hilarious, but the high numbers of followers and subscribers they garner suggest that many of us are still struggling with our "strong Black male" problem.

I give Black men a lot of leeway. My mother taught me to. She viewed men as emotionally weaker in need of being coddled. I have made efforts in recent times to try to decolonize my dating habits. My conversations with down low men of color can be quite free-flowing. Still, I would never compel a Black man to be open about our relationship in the way I would demand of a white partner. I know too well the impact it would have on their life. The Black men I sleep with are best friends with the South London equivalents of Charlemagne tha God and DJ Envy. Their families would withdraw their love from them and the cloud of homophobia would blight their skies irrevocably. I find sex with them hilarious because pillow talk is peppered with conspiracy theories, slut shaming and advice I have no intention of following. I give a lot of ‘baby mama’ advice which more often than not just boils down to me telling them to listen more and give them more money. When I kiss them goodbye on my doorstep I feel my stomach wrenching because I know the world won’t see their intellect and their promise but will definitely see my harmless lovers as potentially criminal. I worry of them ending up dead or in prison.

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