Between secretly getting married, having a baby), releasing her debut album, and making Billboard chart history, it’s been a year for Cardi B. But for all her success, Cardi still faced the same, tired criticism that nearly all working mothers encounter: That she can’t have a thriving career while also raising a child.
At the 2018 MTV VMAs, however, Cardi proved critics wrong by taking the stage less than six weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Kulture. First, Cardi tricked the audience into thinking she was simultaneously kicking off the show and breastfeeding (if that’s not doing it all, then WHAT IS), and later, she returned to the stage to accept the award for Best New Artist. Beating out Bazzi, Lil Pump, Lil Uzi Vert, Chloe x Halle, and Hayley Kiyoko, Cardi showed that becoming a mother has not slowed her career down (despite dropping out of her tour with Bruno Mars)—if anything, it’s given it a boost. And in true Cardi style, she made mention of that fact in her acceptance speech.
“A couple of months ago, a lot of people were saying, you know, you are gambling your career. You about to have a baby, what are you doing?” Cardi told the crowd. “You know, I had a baby, I carried a baby, and I am still winning awards!”
“I want to thank all of my fans, my family that supported me,” she continued. “All the love. All the love that my fans and my friends, that everybody shows me. It is genuine, it is beautiful. That is something that God gives me that you can’t buy. Thank you so much!”
It isn’t the first time, either, that Cardi has had to defend her career in the face of motherhood. Back in April, shortly after confirming her pregnancy, Cardi responded to critics saying her career would be over once she had a baby.
“Why can’t I have both?” she said at the time. “Why do I have to choose a baby or a career? A family or a career?…I’m 25 years old, and I’mma say this in the most humblest way: I’m a millionaire. I’m established. The industry is never promised, but I know that if I make the right money move, I’m gonna always have money.”