“WAP” at Grammys: Demeaning or empowering?

Megan Thee Stallion performs onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on March 14, 2021. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The 63rd annual Grammy Awards created shock waves after Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion performed their controversial hit, “WAP,” as the choreography was labelled as “raunchy.”

The performance consisted of Cardi B singing, wearing a metallic, two-piece, armour-like bodysuit as she pole-danced, twerked and intimately danced with Megan Thee Stallion on a bed.

Jessie-Lynn Cross, a third-year criminology and human rights student at St. Thomas University, said the performance was anything but offensive to women and believes young women loved the presentation.

“The people that are harassing [Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion], criticizing them and giving them backlash are the media, older generations and men,” said Cross. “I don’t see young women criticizing these women.”

She said a lot of the backlash is the result of the media disliking that the song focused on two women singing about sex.

Jessie-Lynn Cross, a third-year St. Thomas University criminology and human rights student, said the performance was anything but offensive to women. (Submitted: Jessie-Lynn Cross)

She added the music people listen to has double standards because men can sing about sex and have sexual acts, but women can’t.

“But Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, for women everywhere, have broken this glass ceiling and said no, we can do this too,” said Cross.

She said that the amount of scrutiny that the two female rappers have received goes beyond their gender and is also a result of their race.

Cross said what bothers her is because of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s skin tone, they’re receiving more backlash.

“I think that their intersectionality does put barriers in front of them that Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, have never experienced,” said Cross

Jerry-Faye Flatt shared Cross’ opinion. The STU graduate and local musician said she can appreciate the presentation from an artist’s perspective.

She said nobody forced Cardi B to do these acts, but it was her artistic choice.

“If that’s what makes her feel powerful and that’s how she wanted to express herself, this is an artistic career,” said Flatt. “People shouldn’t be judging people for the sort of choices that they’re making when you’re an artist.”

Jerry-Faye Flatt, seen on the right in this file photo, said she can appreciate the GRAMMY presentation from an artist’s perspective. (Young Joo Jun/AQ)

As a part of the New Brunswick music industry, Flatt said that she has always felt supported and that there has been an effort to get more women on the stage. While she can’t speak for the larger industry of the United States, she is optimistic that the music industry is becoming more accepting.

Flatt said she feels like change is being made. She said she sees a future where women, men, Black, Indigenous and people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community are all represented on a larger scale in the province.

“She can do whatever she wants to do and if you don’t like it, turn off the TV … The Grammys is rated PG. PG means parental guidance,” said Flatt. “If you’re letting your children watch that and you’re watching it too, you’re also making that conscious decision that it’s okay.”