During day two of Beautycon on Sunday, the crowd at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York was packed with mostly Gen Z-ers and millennials, heavy on the face and body glitter. Taking a break from the miles of beauty booths, the teens, tweens and moms (with strollers and swag bags spilling into the aisles) filled every chair in the monster-sized main stage by 3:10 p.m in hot anticipation of Cardi B’s arrival in 20 minutes for her talk, “Making Money Moves.”
Phone cameras were fired up and pointing, but 3:30 p.m. came and went. At 3:45 p.m. there was still no Cardi B. By 4 p.m. chants of “Cardi, Cardi!” started. An announcement came that Cardi B’s plane was late from Vegas, following a Saturday night performance at the opening of club Kaos at Palms Resort Casino. Then there was a request for a moment of silence for Nipsey Hussle. More waiting as the Marching Cobras of New York City rocked the house with their drumming and dancing.
At 5:20 p.m., Beautycon CEO Moj Mahdara took to the stage to apologize: ”I’m really sorry you guys have waited for a minute. You came here to thrive and that means having a conversation about financial equality,” she said, noting that the best person to talk about the taboo subject of money and women getting paid equally is someone who started from nothing.
On cue, Cardi B glided onto the stage in a super-sized Paco Rabanne vintage fur-trimmed coat with a custom wide-brimmed hat by Sarah Sokol Millinery and gold Casadei heels. “Sorry I’m a little late. You know a bitch flew from Vegas. That’s what happens when you try to do everything…You overbook yourself. Don’t think I’m a diva. I’m always chasing the bag,” she told the frenzied crowd.
(While many on social media loved her over-the-top look, there were also a slew of negative comments about the rap star wearing fur, in light of the growing movement of luxury brands to eschew fur in their designs; Cardi B’s stylist Kollin Carter has not yet responded back to The Hollywood Reporter as to whether the coat was trimmed with real or faux fur.)
The Grammy-winning artist spoke about working as a stripper, starting at age 18. “Don’t let people judge you,” she said. “A lot of people said, ‘You don’t have to strip. You have other choices.’ No the fuck I didn’t.” Asked by Mahdara if she would change anything, she responded with an emphatic, “The fuck no.”
Then Cardi B kicked off her pumps, paced the stage and got real. “If you’re in college, take a business class,” she said, qualifying the fact that she did not because of the math class prerequisite, which was not her game. “I have to hire a business manager and pay extra money. So I depend on someone else to run my business. Sometimes the career that you study for will not make you happy one day. And you want to become your own boss…What’s the point of working to be a slave to bills?”
And Cardi B’s all for women having a strong voice in business: “These men don’t hesitate to ask and that’s why they get what they want. Women be so scared to ask what we need and we’re too ashamed, but these men do, so?”
The singer credited her success to her single-minded focus as a teenager. “Everything that was on my mind was how I would make money and the dick that I was fucking,” she said as the crowd screamed. “There is so much distraction right now. The internet has so many ways to make money, but you don’t even notice that because you’re so focused on, ‘Who is Cardi B? Who is Kim Kardashian?’ I wish I knew how poppin’ Instagram was because I would be selling all those things, this and that. Watch the bloggers’ recipe because you can be doing the same shit. I watch how Kylie Jenner became a fucking billionaire!”
Her other advice included the merits of living with your mom to save money and not lending “broke ass dudes” money, as she did, especially to impress them. She credited the social media stars who have turned their YouTube tutorials into thriving makeup lines, saying, “They made it that far because they focused.”
Then she launched into an assault on high taxes, saying that if she makes $15 million, about $8 or $9 million of it goes to the government. “Then you’d be like, damn, I gave all that money to Uncle Sam and there’s still pot holes in my street!”
Cardi B’s 23-year-old sister, Hennessy Carolina, a social media personality who has talked about plans to start her own fashion line, joined her onstage to offer insight into their family. “My mom always gave me a curfew,” she said. “My other friends could hang out all night until six in the morning. I thought my mom was really strict because she wanted me to go to school and have a career before I have a baby.”
Asked about the legacy she hopes she to leave, Cardi B responded, “That we never gave a fuck!”
After her talk, the performer posted a video on her Instagram page, a form of crisis management by the Beautycon team to make up to its fans (who paid $44.99 up to $899.99 to attend) for the long wait. In the clip, Cardi B says: “Hey guys, I had such a good time at Beautycon. Sorry for me being late. I didn’t realize that I was overbooked. It was crazy, from getting to Vegas to over here. But we have a little surprise for you.”
The camera then pans to Beautycon founder and CEO Moj Mahdara, who says, “We love you guys and we know that you guys had so much fun today but you’re all feeling a little bit tense because it was a four-hour delay. Email email@example.com And we’re going to take care of you and get you a gift. We love you. We’re going to make it up to you because you know we’re here for the long haul.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.