Name at birth: Belcalis Marlenis AlmanzarCardi B is the brash and outlandish former stripper who used her following on social media to establish herself as a reality TV star and rapper. Cardi B was born in the Bronx to immigrant parents; her mother was from Trinidad and a father from the Dominican Republic. As a teen she enrolled in the Renaissance High School for Musical Theater and Technology, where she began performing before being expelled for poor grades. She turned to stripping, and then launched an unfettered Instagram account that eventually earned tens of thousands of followers. Social media success let her leave exotic dancing behind, and in 2015 she landed a role on the New York edition of the VH1 "reality" series Love & Hip Hop. (The Muse admiringly called her "loud, strange, funny and self-aware" and said her voice sounded "like a chipmunk from the Bronx.") Declaring herself to be all about the "shmoney," she was a fast hit and remained a star of the show for two seasons. Cardi B turned her TV success into a musical career, releasing the hit singles "Bodak Yellow" and "I Like It," both of which were featured on her 2018 debut album Invasion of Privacy. That year Time magazine named her to its Time 100 of influential people, with actor Taraji P. Henson calling her "the biggest thing in music." In 2018 she was also named Top Rap Female Artist at the Billboard Music Awards and Hustler of the Year at the BET Hip Hop Awards. And in February of 2019, she won the Grammy for best rap album, making her the first solo female rapper ever to win in that category.
Cardi B married the rapper Offset (real name: Kiari Kendrell Cephus) in September of 2017. Their daughter, Kulture Kiari Cephus, was born in July of 2018… Cardi B’s sister, Hennessy Carolina Almanzar, is also a social media celebrity… She was the first solo female winner of the Grammy for best rap album, but not the first female winner: Lauryn Hill won in 1997 as part of the group the Fugees.
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