This is part of a weekly series called “Pop Opinions” where The Lantern offers its take on the week’s pop culture news.
Azealia Banks, you’re part of the problem.
Who is Azealia Banks, you ask? Nobody, as far as I’m concerned. But to her fans, she’s a highly talented rapper with presumably impressive lyrics and an abrasive charm that I’ve never understood.
Oh, and she’s got a really big mouth.
Banks has been particularly outspoken with her support toward the recent Ferguson issues, as well as similar issues related to racial equality in this country — and that’s great. But then she ruined it. She ruined it by calling out fellow female rapper Iggy Azalea, excuse me, “Igloo Australia,” as Banks referred to her via Twitter. Banks slammed Iggy for adopting the glamorous side of black culture — rap music and “black d—” — while ignoring the problematic dark sides of prejudice and racism.
Let’s get a few things straight. Tweeting about your feelings does not spark change. Further, garnering hate toward a fellow artist does not spark change. And last but not least, verbally attacking your peers does not spark change.
This is a touchy subject, so I’ll attempt to tread lightly. I’ll start by saying that supporting equality of every kind has become the “cool” thing to do — and I find that to be absolutely wonderful. But voicing opinions about discrimination via social media has also become the “cool” thing to do — and that’s quickly turned into a very slippery slope.
It’s become a battleground, really. “Who can most eloquently call out nameless offenders and obtain the most likes?” Say one wrong word, make one inaccurate claim, miss one minor detail, and your attempt at voicing support becomes fodder for the flames. We have become so racially sensitive that our noble attempts at equality have turned into a defensive game of name-calling and retaliation.
People like Azealia Banks are not doing anyone a favor. To see it for yourself, simply scroll through her Twitter feed. The word “faggot” appears more than a few times. She voices support for black Americans by picking and tearing at white Americans. She slut-shames Iggy Azalea, implying that she is only involved in black culture so that she can have sex with black men.
For Azealia Banks to make such accusations of Iggy Azalea is racist. To restrict her from “black culture” is unfair. Further, Banks claims to support equality but then makes claims that counter feminism, she makes claims that generalize and insult gay men, and she makes claims that are altogether quite rude.
Iggy’s multi-tweet response to all of this? Perfectly eloquent, perfectly thoughtful, and perfectly sassy. Here are just a few highlights:
“Theres more to sparking a change than trolling on social media. World issues shouldnt be used as a poor excuse to promote fan battles.”
“The world is too hung up on what is or isnt said on twitter. theres an actual world out there and multiple ways you can promote change.”
“CLEARLY your CONCERN is finding any reason to promote shade, trolling, fan fights and memes. I know you guys by now, you don’t fool me.”
Rock on, Iggy!
As a scrawny white man hiding behind the safety and anonymity of a keyboard, maybe I’m biased. Are there sides to this argument that I don’t see? Absolutely. I won’t mock the plight of black Americans by pretending to understand it.
There are problems that I don’t see. There is hate that I’ve never experienced.
But Azealia Banks is attempting to mark all white people as the sole villains in this battle, which isn’t fair. She’s lashing out. We have a problem in this country, and that should be clear to all. But rather than point fingers (which has never solved anything), we must unite. Equality means working together, and fighting fire with fire has never done anything but cause more fire.
Phew, now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to lighter news!
Iggy Azalea recently took time from her defense against the Azealia Banks attacks to announce that she will be bringing along Nick Jonas as the opening act for her The New Classic tour.
Yes, that’s right. I said Nick Jonas.
I’m not complaining — I think the two will make for an excellent show. But do their musical styles complement one another? No, not really.
It’s also strange that Nick Jonas is serving as an opening act. Given his recently revived popularity, you’d think he’d be more interested in headlining. Nevertheless, Iggy Azalea is huge right now, so serving as her opener will do nothing but good things for Twitter’s favorite teen-heartthrob-turned-crotch-grabber.