Elaborate or even semi-elaborate pregnancy reveals (think: cringe-inducing photoshoots, terrible puns, the whole genre of shoe-themed baby announcements) are almost universally corny. That is, unless you’re Cardi B and have the vision to seamlessly yet extremely pointedly incorporate it into a performance on an award show stage.
This is another way of saying: Cardi B is having another baby!!!
The rapper revealed that she’s expecting a second child at Sunday night’s BET Awards, stepping on stage to perform with Migos in a bedazzled one-piece with a mesh inlay emphasizing her pregnant stomach.
Simultaneously, a post appeared on Cardi’s Instagram confirming the news and tagging Offset, with whom she had her first child, Kulture, in 2018.
The idea that a singer’s pregnancy news could be an event unto itself did not occur to me until the 2011 Video Music Awards, when Beyoncé revealed she was pregnant with Blue Ivy. If you remember, she first did this onstage by herself, unbuttoning a purple sequined blazer, and rubbing her stomach with a laugh. Later, she dropped the music video to “Countdown,” which played up the dramatic irony by featuring a coy, increasingly pregnant Beyoncé hinting at news we’d already learned. (And yes, the “Countdown” pregnancy reveal has become its own subgenre as a result.)
This sort of hype prepared us for when, in 2017, Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement on Instagram for her twins Rumi and Sir became the most-liked post on the platform that year.
It’s undoubtedly complex to see pregnancy made into a spectacle, but it is especially layered for Black women, who face racist stereotypes about motherhood and stigma around pregnancy. Seeing Black women artists like Cardi B create their own narratives about the experience—through art, through performance, through imagery—is endlessly fascinating to watch. And, might I add, the outfits are very good.