It was a big, big week for Cardi B. Her first studio album, “Invasion of Privacy,” was released Friday and is bound to top the Billboard 200 chart. She debuted on “Saturday Night Live.” And, after months of rumors, she officially revealed her pregnancy.
In the middle of “Be Careful,” her second song during last week’s SNL, the camera panned out on Cardi in a tight-fitting white dress, showing an unmistakable baby bump.
“I started winning when the whole word was doubting on me!” she later tweeted. “Think imma lose with my little baby counting on me?”
Offset, of the group Migos, is the father. The two rappers announced their engagement in October.
“Thank you for all of your support,” Offset posted on Instagram of the pregnancy news. “We feel so blessed.”
The pregnancy speculation began in February when TMZ published an item that Cardi was a few months along and didn’t want to be in a “party atmosphere” after her performances during Super Bowl weekend. Cardi responded directly on Instagram, writing, “I’m just getting fat. Let me fat in peace.”
But the talk persisted. Page Six, citing an anonymous source, wrote in March that Cardi thought someone close to her team leaked the pregnancy. Websites eagerly chronicled her clothing choices, noting that she recently performed in a “billowy metallic dress” in Miami.
And on Friday, TV talk show host Wendy Williams said that “a little birdie flew in my ear and told me that tomorrow night on ‘Saturday Night Live’ is when Cardi B is going to announce to you that she is pregnant.” (That came a month after an audience member told Williams that she saw Cardi with a baby bump — an anecdote Cardi shot down early Sunday morning.)
So when Hot 97’s Ebro asked Cardi in an interview last week about the pregnancy rumors and her album title, “Invasion of Privacy,” she said: “I can’t address all the rumors and everything. I have been so open to people about myself. People cannot expect me to open up about everything.”
“Certain things to me have to be private, like you cannot invade my privacy,” she continued. “I’m not a damn animal at the zoo where you can just see everything.”
It’s always been hard for celebrities to divulge their secrets on their own time. When it comes to showing off their newborns, stars have increasingly become creative, from the traditional sell-the-pictures-to-a-tabloid tactic to a marketing partnership with, say, a laundry detergent.
Many have tried to reveal their pregnancies as not just mere announcements, but as bona fide pop-culture moments.
Take Beyoncé, who, like Cardi B after her, showed off her new bump on live TV, creating a giant celebration. At the end of her 2011 MTV Music Awards performance, the singer unbuttoned her jacket and rubbed her belly while grinning ear to ear. The camera panned to proud papa Jay-Z and his excited friend Kanye West rejoicing in the crowd.
She took a wildly different approach several years later when, in 2017, she posted a portrait of herself on Instagram and announced she was pregnant with twins.
“We would like to share our love and happiness,” she captioned the flower-filled, belly-revealing portrait. “We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes.” Beyoncé followed up with numerous images from an elaborate photo shoot, all posted on her website.
The reveals may have been similar, but Cardi B is not like Beyoncé, a pop star who gives off the impression that all her public moments are carefully curated. A big part of Cardi’s appeal is her I-don’t-give-a-you-know-what attitude and her unabashed social media posts. Cardi’s fans feel that when the rapper wins, they all win. And stars like her wield that kind of social media presence to bolster their fame.
But intentionally or not, that kind of direct access fuels the insatiable appetite among fans to be included in celebrities’ more intimate moments. A pregnancy announcement from someone like Cardi B, for many, feels like a close family friend announcing she’s expecting.
The flip side, though, is that everyone has an opinion — and sometimes it’s a negative one.
“This is why I did not wanted to say nothing,” Cardi wrote in a now-deleted Instagram Story post after her SNL performance. “People be so thirsty to scrutinize and try to destroy something that it suppose be a blessing.”
Just like Cardi B, gossip sites had for months written about Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy as though it had been confirmed. It was strange that a celebrity like Jenner, who constantly shows the public her private life, would keep something so big so hidden.
Her famous family dodged questions. And Jenner — whose fame was all because of reality TV — didn’t officially confirm the pregnancy until after she had given birth.
Three days after delivering, she posted a video titled “To our daughter,” which included footage from throughout her pregnancy, and even in the delivery room.
“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark through all the assumptions. I understand you’re used to me bringing you along on all my journeys,” Jenner tweeted. “My pregnancy was one I chose not to do in front of the world. I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how.”
Jenner wrote that she “couldn’t wait to share this blessing.” Likewise, Cardi expressed relief that her news was out.
Despite so many people publicly speculating about Cardi’s uterus, the TV reveal on Saturday was still a big moment. Video of her backstage after her performance captured a crowd of people cheering and Cardi throwing her hands in the air with a big smile.
“I’m finally free!” she exclaimed.