by John Downey '23 on February 10, 2022
Arts & Entertainment
Claudia Fennell ’24
Grammy award-winning rapper Cardi B has made headlines recently for something other than her famous songs such as “WAP,” “I Like It,” and “Up.” The twenty-nine-year-old music phenomenon has won a libel lawsuit against celebrity gossip YouTuber Latasha Kebe, commonly known as Tasha K.
In 2018, Tasha K began posting videos to YouTube claiming that Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, was a former prostitute and cocaine user with herpes. Tasha even went as far as creating false gossip that Cardi B was going to pass herpes on to her baby, who Tasha K claimed was going to be born with intellectual disabilities.
Cardi B’s legal team, comprised of lawyers Lisa Fortune Moore and Sarah Matz, worked diligently to prove that all claims made about the rapper were false. In November 2021, they entered into the court the results of Cardi B’s STD test taken at a hospital in California, which were reviewed by the judge. After reviewing the results, the judge revealed in a minute order that they were “not helpful to the defendant.”
Cardi B reported that she suffered a severe decline in her mental health following the posts that were made about her online by Tasha K. She took the witness stand in her trial, explaining this to the jury. More specifically, she explained that she suffered from debilitating anxiety and depression as a result of the videos Tasha K posted about her character. Additionally, as reported in Rolling Stone, Cardi B told the jury that “severe stress caused her weight to fluctuate and led to issues in her personal relationships.” She even explained to the jury that she felt “utterly hopeless” while this defamation was occurring and further testified that she “felt extremely suicidal” during this time, according to Billboard.
The case was filed as a libel lawsuit—meaning that it concerns intentional defamation of another’s character—in 2019 after the defendant began posting a plethora of videos about the plaintiff. The case appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, which is where the defendant lives. The jury presiding over the case found Tasha K guilty of slander and awarded Cardi B a grand total of over $4 million. This award included $25,000 for medical expenses and $1.3 million for legal expenses.
After the jury’s decision was read in court, Cardi B was triumphant. Eyewitnesses in the courtroom reported that she hugged her lawyers out of joy. Once the results of her trial were finalized, Cardi B made a public statement regarding her victory. She reported that Tasha K’s slander against her had been going on for over four years, so she felt victorious and extremely happy that the mess it caused would be coming to an end. Cardi B then went on to say that the public is now aware of the darkest times in her life, the times when she felt completely hopeless. She explained that the only difference between the cyberbullying in her own case and that of someone like a student in high school is that she has the resources to fight for justice in court. As reported in Rolling Stone, Cardi B exclaimed, “I had to seek justice. And not just justice for me…We collectively have to say enough is enough.” Given that the court sided with Cardi B, they evidently agreed that enough was indeed enough when it comes to damaging slander such as that of Tasha K.