Cardi B was made it onto TIME Magazine’s annual list of 100 most influential people in the world. Taraji had the pleasure of doing the writeup for her.

When I first came up, people said, “She’s too edgy.” But I can do Shakespeare in the Park! You can’t judge me based on where I come from or the colloquialisms that I speak with, because that’s who I am. And when you are cool with who you are, no one can use it against you.

I identify with Cardi B, because she knows that too. The first time I went on her Instagram page, she was so raw, coming at you, like, whoa! She used words like “shmoney” and “shmoves,” and she talked openly about being a former stripper. And she was proud of it—like, So what, I was on the pole, look what I parlayed that into? When she showed her soul like that, I hit the Follow button. I felt like she had the voice of the people, you know what I mean?

When her mixtape came out, I thought, That’s it. She found it! She’s clear on her talent, and she’s not trying to get in anybody else’s lane. She recorded “Bodak Yellow” because it’s what she loved. Now she’s the biggest thing in music. And even with all those eyeballs watching, she’s still unapologetically herself.

Cardi B’s here to stay, baby, and I’m happy to be a witness.

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