Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

When Offset Crashed Cardi B’s Concert to Apologize

Have you ever, in all your natural-born life, seen anything so extra?

by Emma Specter
|
Dec 18 2018, 1:53pm

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

The grand gesture has long been a staple of romance: from Lloyd Dobler hoisting a radio over his head in Say Anything to Noah building Allie that house in The Notebook to Diddy proposing to J.Lo with the help of 100 white doves, all the way down to your sweaty teenage cousin’s elaborate promposal, history has shown us that simply saying “I love you” isn‘t half as effective as showing it via a public act of devotion (the more stagy and convoluted, the better).

All this was true until last weekend, when Migos rapper Offset forever ruined the concept of the “grand gesture” by crashing his estranged wife Cardi B’s set at the Rolling Loud Festival in LA to apologize for cheating on her. Offset walked onstage carrying a bouquet of white flowers, and begged forgiveness from a bemused Cardi against a backdrop of cakes spelling out the sticky-sweet message, "TAKE ME BACK CARDI."

As The Root's Jay Connor noted, Cardi was the first woman ever to headline the Rolling Loud Festival, a moment that Offset quickly overshadowed when he stepped onstage to try to win her back. Total disregard for what might actually be going on with the woman you’re attempting to woo is an all-too-common theme of the grand gesture (remember when The Graduate’s ruined his beloved Elaine’s wedding without a second thought?). Still, that doesn’t excuse Offset’s actions, which fit the textbook definition of “extra” as a pejorative (as opposed to the good kind of “extra,” like Diddy buying Kerry James Marshall’s painting for $21.1 million or the Guggenheim offering Trump a golden toilet). Offset’s brand of “extra” is more akin to Jackson Maine crushing an Oxy with his cowboy boot; bold, to be sure, but ultimately upsetting.

You might be wondering how Cardi felt about Offset’s apology. She answered via Instagram Live: “I don't want people talking crazy about him, because at the end of the day, that is my child’s father,” she calmly chided her fans. She went on to praise Offset for being there for her before admitting, “This is what happens, I guess, when shit turns sour in relationships.”

Cardi proclaimed herself “tired of the bullshit” and, indeed, despite the glitter of her eyelids and the vivid scarlet of her gown, she looked worn down in her Instagram video. Whether that was due to the vicissitudes of fame, the challenges of motherhood, or the toll of Offset's onstage extra-ness, it’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure: Cardi certainly didn’t sound like a woman wooed. Offset’s extra-ness gets at a larger question about the real role that women play in men’s public performances of love; are they the actual focal points of that love or are they just accessories to men’s torrid, passionate affairs with themselves?

When the bland guy from Love Actually showed up on Keira Knightley’s doorstep with a sign saying “To me, you are perfect,” the operative word was “me”; when Ross from Friends went to the airport to stop Rachel from moving to Paris, he didn’t seem to care that he was fucking up her new job opportunity at Louis Vuitton. (The only good man in the romance canon is Casablanca's Rick Blaine, who gave up his lover for the good of the Resistance.) To quote Marshall McLuhan, sometimes the medium is the message, and when a man chooses to pull a stunt as unrepentantly extra as interrupting your concert to beg forgiveness for cheating on you, cake and roses in tow, the message is pretty clear: he's focused on the audience, not on you.