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You know what’s mature?

Realizing you’re not really a fan of someone without feeling the need to tell the world about it, or to treat them poorly. Not every person you meet is your type of person, and that’s ok. Doesn’t mean they’re bad people. Doesn’t mean they necessarily did anything in particular to you. You just don’t mesh. It happens.

You don’t have to slander them because of that. But when their name comes up, you also don’t have to pretend like you’re friendly, either. You just need to act like an adult when you’re around them.

That was a big issue growing up, obviously because we were kids. When someone didn’t like you in school, or vice versa, it was made known. Someone, a so-called friend, would tell you this person said they weren’t a fan. When you would ask why, they would name some random thing you were being accused of doing or saying, or worse, would just say they didn’t like your personality (can’t change that, right?). That individual, in essence, was talking sh-t about you, and the expectation from there was that you would inevitably deal with them. Maybe you would fight them. Perhaps you would just continue to whisper about one another and throw each other ugly glances. Whatever the end result, you would walk away with fresh “beef.”

But at some point in life, you have to grow up. You do less talking and more observing. You start paying attention to energies, to first impressions, to body language, and you find that you take notice when someone is giving off a vibe you’re not comfortable with. So you choose to keep your distance. You opt to not pretend like they’re a friend, and you don’t tell people “We’re cool I guess” when it’s not true. But just because you do that doesn’t mean you have “beef” this time around.

That’s what has annoyed me so much about all the conversation surrounding Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. While previous discussions about women in rap and how they interact have been based in the fact that there has been a clear disdain shown at times (diss tracks, threats, direct shots), I never understood why people tried to force something between these two women. One minute people were forcing this narrative of a beef. The next minute, people said there never was beef, and it was all a sexist plot to put women rappers against each other. The consistent need for Cardi to say in interviews that there was no beef almost made it feel like something was indeed going on. And Nicki, herself, ended up feeding into it.

And then last night happened. The Met Gala. After months of alleged issues, the rap queen and Cardi finally crossed paths. They had a conversation no one but designer Jeremy Scott heard, and soon after, the Internet was saying all was well again for women in rap — or at least these two. There was no beef after all, and they were cool. Right?

But who said they have to be cool?

Truth be told, I always got a feeling from Cardi that she never wanted to bump heads or have issues with Nicki. However, I also got the feeling that she wasn’t necessarily comfortable with or fond of her either. Nicki wasn’t a friend. She wasn’t an enemy. She was someone who walked in similar circles and had forged an undeniably successful path for rappers like Cardi. Therefore, there was respect there, but that was about it. Hence the reason Cardi would shut down rumors of static, all while saying, “She ain’t never f–k my man!” But because she never praised her, or showed “genuine love” as Minaj put it, she was criticized. She had to choose — did she love the girl or loathe her?

But who says you have to choose? As Cardi put it in her own recent Beats 1 interview, can’t one just be focused on what they’re doing without having to constantly be asked about or having to deal with someone they don’t want to?

“I don’t really have the time for [beef], if you ain’t f–king my man or taking my money from me, I don’t really give a f–k about you,” she said. “What is it you expect me to do or say? I already said she’s an amazing artist, I already paid my respects to her, I did videos before jamming to her songs. What do you expect?”

And it’s a reasonable question. Not everyone is everyone’s cup of tea. And when they’re not, that doesn’t mean it has to devolve into something ugly. We can all live our lives peacefully, co-existing as everyone has to do, without being phony. And that’s a whole part of growing up. You have choices. You have things to lose. With that being said, you can’t fight everybody. You can’t fuss with everyone. And you can’t expect to be best friends with every person you come into contact with.
You can only focus on yourself: The energy you give off. The way you treat people. The work you do. If people like it, great. If they don’t, it comes with the territory (of life that is). At a certain point, it’s no longer important, nor necessary, to be everyone’s favorite, have all the acceptance and mix and mingle with people you truly don’t want or need to. Trust me, there is a healthy and reasonable space between getting along with someone and being at odds with them. I can respect you, I can want good for you, and I can be nonconfrontational with you, but at the same time, not f–k with you. That’s not “beef.” That’s you do doing you, and allowing someone else to do them.
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