Why Is YouTube Censoring Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's Lyrics?
Cardi B’s new single with Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP,” shot to number one on the U.S. iTunes chart overnight, and became the top trending music video on YouTube. But for all the explicit lyrics, twerking butt sculptures, and heavy-handed symbolism of gushing water throughout the music video mansion, things were supposed to be a lot raunchier, and Cardi B is lamenting YouTube’s censorship of what "WAP" stands for following the release.
While the original lyrics for “WAP” read “wet ass pussy,” YouTube’s restrictions required the artist to tame them for her music video, instead singing “wet and gushy.” Sure, you still get the gist (arguably to a more significant sensory degree), but censoring a recurring lyric changes the entire song.
“I was so mad cause it takes away from the song but I get it,” the artist tweeted. “MAKE SURE YA LISTEN TO THE REAL VERSION ON ALL STREAMING PLATFORMS !!!!!!”
In response, fans are asking for an uncensored video to be posted on a platform like Apple Music, but it’s frustrating for artists like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion to have to navigate a fractured release like this in the first place. For one, the official audio version of the single on YouTube isn’t censored, so it’s puzzling that the music video would be held to different restrictions. Does “wet ass pussy” suddenly mean something more explicit when we can see Cardi B singing it? (YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Where YouTube draws the line on objectionable content has always been a mystery. A study published earlier this year highlighted the ways YouTube’s mysterious algorithm directed people towards videos that featured white supremacy and other alt-right ideologies—something YouTube promised to crack down on back in 2018. That same year, the platform allowed videos made for children that appeared to be innocuous but actually contained overtly violent and disturbing material. YouTube took steps towards correcting that failure back in January.
Many people would agree that white supremacy and violent videos targeting children are much worse than Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion speaking frankly about female sexual arousal. That’s what the song is about. If you’re going to allow sculptures of naked women with water shooting out of their nipples in the video, but shield me from the actual lyrics, I don’t know what you’re achieving