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Featured female rappers make way for motherhood

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

When rapper Sexyy Red realized she was pregnant with her second child this summer, just after her singles “Pound Town” and “SkeeYee” broke the charts and dominated TikTok, her enthusiasm was met with hesitation by some members of his team.

She said some people in her camp were supportive. Others advised her to abort, advice she rejected. “I will never let anyone tell me what to do with my body,” she said during a video call in December.

Sexyy, born Janae Wherry, publicly announced her pregnancy via a Instagram post on the heels of the release of “Rich Baby Daddy,” a hit collaboration with Drake and SZA. Now in her final trimester, she often performs in midriff-hugging bodysuits as she twerks and raps her hits, taking her 3-year-old son, Chuckyy, on the road with his mother’s help.

Women in music, and especially in the male-dominated battle zone of hip-hop, have recommended for a long time to terminate a pregnancy, or at least to stay away from the spotlight until their babies are born, telling them that emphasizing pregnancy and motherhood will make them appear weak, unattractive, or unfocused on their highly competitive careers. Male-led rap groups and record labels have traditionally put their might behind just one female MC at a time, creating pressure on women not to give up their time for anything, including start a family.

Da Brat, whose 1994 debut album “Funkdafied” was the first platinum record by a solo rap artist, said she was pressured to be sexually attractive to both women and men, “because all the everyone must have thought they had a chance with you.”


Cardi B revealed her pregnancy during a 2018 appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”Credit…Will Heath/NBCUniversal, via Getty Images

However, over the past decade, Sexyy Red and other chart-topping female rappers, including Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and City Girls’ Yung Miami, have been encouraged to embrace motherhood in highly visible and profitable ways.

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Cardi B, one of rap’s biggest stars, used TV performances — on “Saturday Night Live” in 2018 and at the BET Awards in 2021 – to reveal her pregnancies. Since then, she has signed endorsements that highlight her role as a mother. Last year, Walmart booked her for a month-long Mother’s Day promotion and she played a character in Nickelodeon’s “Baby Shark’s Big Movie” alongside rapper Offset and their children, Kulture and Wave .

For Yung Miami, born Caresha Brownlee, the decision to tour while pregnant came out of necessity. In 2018, the duo’s star was growing at the same time as his bandmate JT. sentenced to prison For two years after being convicted of credit card fraud. Like Sexyy Red, Yung Miami was visibly pregnant when she was on City Girls’ first tour and music videos and promoting their debut album “Girl Code,” which yielded the platinum single “Act Up.”

Nicki Minaj gave birth in 2020 amid a five-year break between albums and stayed out of the spotlight during her son’s early childhood. Although she has shared photos of her son, affectionately known as Papa Bear, on her social media accounts and during a recent Vogue cover photoshoot, she has kept many things private, including his real name. Before his return to music and the release of “Pink Friday 2,” which debuted at No. 1 in December, she told Vogue she anticipated feeling the feeling of missing out, no matter how much or little she worked. “Well, if I want to make Mom feel guilty anyway,” she said, “I might as well keep doing the only thing I know how to do, which is make the music.”

Da Brat said she was fortunate to have producer Jermaine Dupri as a mentor who never tried to change her tomboy image during the height of her career. Although rumors swirled about her sexuality, she was concerned about coming out as bisexual in 2020, when she began dating Jesseca Dupart, who is now his wife. The couple stars in the reality TV show “Brat Loves Judy,” which documents Da Brat’s pregnancy with their son, True Legend.

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“I feel for all those women who felt like they had to choose between having an abortion or doing music because someone said to them, ‘It’s this or your career,'” she said in an interview. “Women have the chance to raise families and pursue careers, as it always should have been. »

Famous women are generally more willing to discuss their personal lives, health and struggles on social media, and have thus attracted a large and loyal audience there. Minaj claims 229 million followers on Instagram and Cardi B has 169 million, compared to the combined 177.5 million followers of Drake, J. Cole and Future, making women in music a logical choice for brands looking for connections direct with consumers.

Because people are discovering more and more brands through TikTok videos, YouTube tutorials and Instagram Reels, female artists – with their large numbers of highly engaged followers – stand to benefit. “They’re more likely to drive sales with all products,” said Ebonie Ward, chief executive of the all-female management company 11th & Co, whose clients include rappers Flo Milli and Future. She added that beauty, makeup and skincare is a high-spending category where marketers tend to favor women.


Da Brat documented her pregnancy alongside her wife, Jesseca Dupart, on the couple’s reality show.Credit…Kaitlyn Morris/FilmMagic, via Getty Images

Monaleo, a Houston-based rapper whose son was born in May, said she received products from 4moms, a baby equipment maker, in exchange for a few social media posts. “I was already buying their products, like the automatic rocking chair and the crib, so the fact that they reached out was pretty cool,” she said in a phone interview before heading to a studio session.

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Monaleo said she was initially hesitant to publicly announce her pregnancy for fear of cruel reactions online. She took inspiration from Lauryn Hill’s 1998 song “To Zion”, which details Hill’s decision to have her first child, and cited Cardi B, Yung Miami and Sexyy Red as representative of a mother’s possibilities -interpreter. “There have been women before me who have done the exact same thing as me,” she said. “I wasn’t at the forefront of the conversation about pregnant women. So I think it’s easier.

Monaleo shared her personal news with her fans and the entire management team just before her performance at Coachella last April, and said that receiving accommodations as a performer during her third trimester had emboldened her to ask for the same consideration after giving birth.

“It gave me the courage to stand up for myself,” she says. “Even though I was not pregnant, the treatment I received during my pregnancy is what I should have been treated.”

Now, Monaleo accommodates her son’s schedule with the help of her partner, rapper Stunna 4 Vegas. In a performance for XXL ReviewIn last month’s number series, she referenced her new dynamic in her lyrics: “I just had my baby, now I’m back, it wasn’t stopping (expletive).”

Rico Nasty also credited the birth of his son, Cameron in 2015, with catalyzing his rap career. In a recent video interview, she explained that shortly after her birth, she worked a miserable job at the hospital and decided to pursue her creative calling. It wasn’t fair for her “happy baby” to come home haggard and moody.

She struggled to stay afloat until her single “Smack a Bitch” received national airplay in 2018. Since then, she said her musical success has made her family feel at home. comfortable.

Women have supplanted men as rap’s main draw, Rico said, a crocheted panda hat placed on her head, and their success has given them greater autonomy.

“Everyone does what they want,” she said with a smile. “Our time is not limited, because when you think your time is limited, you put everything on hold. But now, no one puts anything in brackets.