Last week Cardi B posted an image on Instagram she said symbolized peace—but not everybody interpreted as such. Debate and controversy ensued in the post’s comments and on Twitter, too, about the implications of a Dominican flag and a Haitian flag side-by-side, held by a group of Black and POC protestors marching in NYC.
Some saw the visual as representing Cardi’s desire to unite the Dominican Republic with Haiti; the latter has historically suffered from the former’s systemic racism and anti-Haitianism. To this day, a violent, painfully ugly chasm between the two remains on the island of Hispaniola they both share.
Criticism spiked this week, and the Bronx-born Dominican rapper was quick to go live on Instagram, explaining the situation and defending her intentions to about 44 million viewers.
“Everybody made their own version… like ‘Cardi wants to unite the two countries,’ and it’s like, when did I say that? Are you all crazy? Or are you stupid? I posted that photo because it’s a symbol of peace, because it’s no secret that Haitians and Dominicans do not get along well, and of course I know the history, I know my history. But it’s a symbol of peace.”
Cardi also highlighted how, in the U.S., Dominicans and Haitians of color are treated poorly.
“Here, a Dominican or a Haitian are treated the same, like shit. In this country you can be a white Dominican, because I have Dominican family that are white, and still in this country they’ll treat you badly. You could be the best doctor, and once you get to this country, or you’re the best engineer, because you don’t speak English, you’ve got to work at McDonald’s or drive an Uber.”
She also recognized that Haiti and the Dominican Republic will continue to be separate, another reminder that she wasn’t insinuating they should ever unite. “But there has to be peace,” she says. “We have to treat Haitians well, like people. Because you know who sees everything? God sees everything. And when the country starts to feel [entitled or better than] and oppresses other people, God sees that, and he punishes the whole country.”
Some resources on Dominican-Haitian relations here:
Note: Quotes from Cardi B’s live were translated from Spanish to English.