Cardi B’s chaotic week: Rapper makes court appearance amid breakup and major Grammy nominations

Donning Louboutin heels, a black fur coat and a bold new hairstyle, Cardi B arrived at the Queens Criminal Court in New York City to face assault and reckless endangerment charges over a strip club brawl she was allegedly involved in earlier this year.

The rapper, whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, smiled to a herd of paparazzi as she entered the court and left shortly after, at one point jokingly asking, “Am I famous?” She was released without bail during a brief hearing.

Cardi B initially missed an appearance scheduled five days earlier, receiving a stern warning from the judge, who said a warrant would be issued for her arrest if she did not respond to the summons against her. 

She faced one count of assault and two counts of reckless endangerment, though her attorneys have denied her involvement in the fight, saying she did not harm anyone.

The artist has made headlines a few times in recent weeks with a dispute involving recording artist Nicki Minaj and separation from rapper Offset, her estranged husband and the father of her daughter, Kulture. 

Minutes before arriving in court, it was announced Cardi B picked up five major nominations at the 2019 Grammy Awards, including nods for Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rap Album.

She was also expected to perform later Friday night at the Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden.

As for the alleged bar melee, two bartenders from the Angel’s Strip Club in New York have accused her of ordering members of her entourage to attack the employees with furniture and bottles. At least one person was injured, according to a police report. 

In a statement, her attorney Jeff Kern said he was “aware of no evidence” his client “caused anybody any harm”. 

The 25-year-old artist’s transparency surrounding personal issues in her life is part of her appeal, with millions of people tuning into Instagram videos in which she discussed her decision to split with Offset and to take on Nicki Minaj, one of the best-selling female hip-hop artists in history.  She threw a shoe at Minaj during a New York Fashion Week after party earlier this year. 

Cardi B addressed her separation from Offset in a since-deleted Instagram video uploaded Wednesday in which she told her fans the two “grew out of love,” saying, “We got a lot of love for each other but things just haven’t been working out between us for a long time.”

She added, “It might take time to get a divorce and I’m going to always have a lot of love for him because he is my daughter’s father.”

Born in the Bronx in 1992, Cardi B’s life went from stripping in local clubs to starring on VH1’s reality show Love & Hip-Hop: New York in 2015 and eventually releasing her No. 1 single “Bodak Yellow”. The song turned her into an overnight international superstar. Her debut album was released in April of this year. 

With each new development in her life — both public and personal — garnering headlines and scrutiny, Cardi B appears to be learning about the complexities of stardom and all that comes with fame on the go. 

Earlier this year she was forced to pull out of her world tour after giving birth to her first daughter, saying in an Instagram post, “I think I underestimated this whole mommy thing.” 

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“I hope you guys understand that this decision has been the hardest to make but I have to do what’s best for myself and my baby,” she added. 

However, despite court appearances, breakups and conflict, Cardi B’s star continues shining, becoming the first female rapper in history with three No. 1 singles and recently releasing a slate of new music, including her single “Money” and appearing on Lil Yachty’s “Who Want the Smoke” off the rapper’s new album, Nuthin’ 2 Prove

“I feel like I was a little bit happier two or three years ago when I had less money,” she said in an interview for CR Fashion Book earlier this year. “I had less people who had opinions about my life. I felt like my life was mine. Now I feel like I don’t even own my life. I feel like the world owns me.”

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