Why am I once again finding myself siding with Iggy Azalea? I don’t want to. Since my last post about her, she hasn’t done anything to change my opinion of her as an maker of soulless, boring music with little to no personality who is only interested in making the cash money. Which is all well and good–make yo’ money– but that’s not someone who I’m interested in listening to the music of or paying attention to in the slightest, and I was doing a great job at forgetting that Ms. Iggy existed for the longest time. But the internet won’t let me. Once again, she’s found herself in–what I find to be undeserved–hot water, most of it centered around her being a white woman in the rap game. I’m going to preface this defense of her by saying that I myself am a black woman, and the fact that I have to use my skin tone to justify having an alternative opinion is part of the issue (it’s also sadly something that Iggy Azalea can’t do, which is why she’s the source of so much vitriol in the first place).
Now, I’m sorry if some of the this is inaccurate. Believe it or not, I have a life outside of doing in-depth research on internet feuds between celebrities I don’t care about. So maybe the timeline of what happened before what is off, but I’m using a few select articles, that I’ll be addressing, so I don’t think the timeline matters much. Iggy Azalea is the “cool” person to go after right now. That’s all you need to know.
For the first article, that shows what, maybe, sorta started it all:
Rapper Azealia Banks never shies away from saying how she really feels, no matter who’s on the other end of her often blistering criticism.
Her latest victim is Iggy Azalea (her kinda name twin), who she says wants to reap the rewards of black culture without sharing the burden.
Specifically, she thinks Iggy ought to have something to say about Ferguson and the New York City Police Department, both big topics in the news because of the deaths of two unarmed black men.
I’m just going to trust that this article accurately depicts Ms. Bank’s character, because I don’t know who she is. Rap is one of my favorite genres, and the name “Azealia Banks” only registers to me as the name of someone whose music I listened to in high school some and found underwhelming so I never looked her up again. So I’m just going to trust that this “fierce, opinionated woman” thing is accurate. She seems kind of bitchy to me, looking over her Twitter, but I I’m a firm believer that Twitter turns you into a sociopath, so maybe she’s nicer in person.
its funny to see people Like Igloo Australia silent when these things happen… Black Culture is cool, but black issues sure aren’t huh?
If you’re down to ride with us bitch you gotta RIDE ALL THE WAY
“EVERYBODY WANNA BE BLACK, BUT DON’T NOBODY WANNA BE BLACK” – PAUL MOONEY
Okay. 1.) “Igloo Australia” is fucking racist, and not even the funny kind of racist, just the lame pun kind. If you’re going to complain about racism, it’d probably be good to not indulge in it yourself. 2.) Calling someone a bitch is a good way to make is seem like you just personally don’t like someone, as opposed to the having the “clever social commentary on Iggy’s actions” that people praise you for. Something tells me that she’s sick of her name only coming up in search engines because people misspell Iggy’s name. 3.) I would’ve gone with the “find we a white boy who can sing like a black one, and I’ll make you a billionaire” quote, but alright.
Here are Iggy’s responses:
Theres more to sparking a change than trolling on social media. World issues shouldnt be used as a poor excuse to promote fan battles.
Make sure you do something to let YOUR government know how you feel when something is unjust., not JUST your followers on twitter…
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.
I’m going to be honest. I found these responses surprisingly good and well-articulated for the woman who got in a hilariously surreal Twitter fight with Snoop Dog that involved white-face and bad movie references, for reasons I still don’t understand. She makes some actually good points, which I did not expect at all going into this article. So props to her, I guess. This does seem like Banks just trying to remind people that she exists by starting a feud with an acceptable target and setting herself up as the “good guy,” and internet activism is very annoying. Nothing Iggy said really sticks out to me as being egregious bad or ignorant.
Iggy Azalea isn’t required to weigh in on anything. I feel like that is a very crucial point that everyone is forgetting. Everyone talks about how *gasp* Iggy Azalea doesn’t want to talk about black issues like that’s a pre-requisite that she’s refusing to fulfill, like she’s supposed to do that but she’s just not doing it. But . . . no. She in no way has to talk about it. Like at all. Having Banks point a finger at her in no way makes her any more obligated than she was before. And frankly, I’ve got to admire the metaphorical balls it takes to pretty much spit in the face of this aspect of celebrity culture.
You know what I’m talking about: The idea that we just have to know what celebrities think about everything, especially the topical things? The idea that celebrities have to align themselves with a side in order to be seen as “good.” The idea that celebrities have to weigh in on stuff that happens. Even when they don’t, we just disproportionately care about putting a big face on a list of “People Who Agree With/Don’t Agree With Me on X Topic.” It’s like how it was a huge deal for celebrities to come out and say how they felt about gay marriage . . . up until it wasn’t a huge deal at all because the debate wasn’t topical anymore.
And no, Iggy being a rapper doesn’t mean she’s any more obligated to talk about it either. Her being a white rapper doesn’t mean she’s obligated to talk about it. She’s a musician. A shitty one, in my opinion, but that’s her job. Talking about current events is not her job. There are plenty of celebrities who have gone out and taken a stand on this issue, and good for them. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have an opinion and make that opinion known. I’m saying that they shouldn’t be implicitly required to by force of the public demanding they do it, like entitled children who feel like the people who entertain them should bow to their whims and do what they want them to do, when they want them to do it. Believe it or not, some celebrities really do just want to make their respective artworks and their respective paychecks, and they do not care about weighing in on things, even the important things. And they shouldn’t have to. That would be like forcing your local police chief to tell the whole town what he thinks about black struggles because police are involved in this, and we need to know the opinion of every vaguely influential, tangentially related person to the incident.
This is the cultural appropriation argument. “Oh you like our stuff, but you don’t like us.” First, rap does not belong to black people. People who looked like you being the originators of something does not mean you own it. Should white people go over to Japan and complain about all the Japanese death metal bands because metal is “their” music? Iggy should not be required to be the face of white people in Black People Land. She clearly just wants to make money and music, so why make her something that she isn’t and has no desire to be and then shoot her down when she isn’t good enough at it.
She doesn’t want to talk about this. I’m actually kind of pissed off at how dick-ish this is. Maybe if it was actually her job to talk about this, I’d be okay with it. But God. “Fuck what you want to do, Iggy Azalea, we want you to talk about this, so you’re going to, or else we’ll start talking about how you’re part of ‘the problem’ again.” Why is being this dismissive of what someone wants what a “good guy” would do? She doesn’t want to, guys. She just doesn’t. She’s one, semi-relevant celebrity whose opinion only matters to the people who insist that her opinion matters to someone else. Harping on making one person talk about something that they don’t want to talk about does not make you look like a paragon of social justice, it makes you look like an ass who doesn’t bow out gracefully but keeps going at it even when it doesn’t make any difference.
To the next article, from Jezebel, so you know it’s good:
“Q-Tip Schools Iggy Azalea on Hip Hop History And We’re All Better For It”
We’ll see about that, overly hyperbolic clickbait title. We’ll see.
The past week has been rough for Iggy Azalea. Not only has she been duking it out with Azealia Banks, but this weekend, she was the target of hackers threatening to supply proof of an alleged sex tape to punish her for “misappropriating black culture” and disrespecting #ICantBreathe protesters (they have since dropped their beef with Iggy and gone after MTV).
Once again, all of this happening at once just goes to show that this has less to do with her or the social issues at hand and more to do with “Oooooo, there’s a cool person to hate on now, better jump on the bandwagon and start drinkin’ the Hater-Ade before it’s too late!”
But amidst all this, one really amazing thing has happened. Q-Tip took to Twitter to patiently, gently and compassionately teach Iggy (and whoever else needs a refresher) on the historical and political forces that created and continue to drive hip hop music. Over the course of nearly 40 tweets, he explained:
I at least know who Q-Tip is. I actually kind of agree with Iggy’s later response to this when she calls it patronizing. Not Q-Tips tweets specifically, but just go and read that paragraph again. The writer of this article is at least being patronizing as fuck, if you don’t think Q is. “Patiently and gently and compassionately teaching her” like she’s some problem five-year-old with undiagnosed dyslexia who just needs a little extra help to “get it.” I’ll get more into the “historical and political forces that created and continue to drive hip hop music” thing in a bit. I like history. I especially like pop culture history, and I like rap. So this is an interesting history recap at the very least.
“HipHop is a artistic and socio-political movement/culture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early 70’s Coming off the heels of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and approaching the end of the Vietnam war it was a crossroads 4 America specially for blacks in the US our neighborhoods were PROLIFERATED w/a rush of HEROINE.”
I wouldn’t dispute any of that.
“Our school systems here in NY dungeon traps with light for learning… blk men some of whom didn’t return from tours of duty n the ones who did came w/war baggage (agent orange, addiction, ect..)… these men had families but due to these events and throw into the mix the public emasculation… they proved to be handicapped parents. The surrogate parents? The STREETS… the streets of gangs, crimes, and the hustlers coddled us and swept us up.”
I feel like that’s an oversimplification, and a problem that most ‘Nam vets had to deal with (we were not nice to ‘Nam vets, in any capacity). Also, this rings of some weird fatalism that “black people will always be doomed to be thugs in the streets for reasons!”, but alright. Hip hop came from the streets. Go on.
“But! Being a spirited, rhythmic & expressive people music art dance outlined our existence… it proved a way for us to exhault to scream to dance to laugh and find OUR VOICE… we weren’t at the time skilled musicians as kids. We had records, turntables, ideas and INGENUITY being natural chemist we took from whatever was availed to us and we created something mighty and special.”
This seems a little ego-stroky, but alright. Black people are good with music. No one is denying that. Music helps you do a lot of things. No one is denying that either. Though he fails to mention that this (the 60s/70s) is also the time where things like music and performance were valued not only because they helped you deal with tough times but also because this was around the point where rampant anti-intellectualism became a thing in black communities, so it wasn’t like being an academic was going to get you smiles and claps the same way playing the trumpet would. Music was a way of being black and things like books and school were being white, so they wouldn’t have that. So it wasn’t all creativity rainbows and blossoms of artistic ingenuity. There was a bad side to it as well.
“We cut breakbeats back n forth we took a hybrid of Jamaican toasting along w/ radio jock rap( hank Spann, Gary Byrd, ect.) and we put our rap down.. it was a neighborhood thing really. Black and Latino Kids were carving out their space and it became infectious… eventually Keith Cowboy coined the phrase hiphop . Yrs later the first rap record was recorded and now we r moving.”
Okay, seems accurate.
“But during these strides this country still had the monster of racism and racial insensitivity breathing and ruling… believe it or not young black n Latino lives specifically weren’t acknowledged in mainstream American culture unless Of course.. the convo was abt gangs , being criminals or uneducated. And hey! Like I stated early our families were rushed our schools sucked and we were left to put devices to survive… but HIPHOP showed that we had DEPTH, fire, and BRILLANCE… the music was undeniable! It moved from NY N became national and even GLOBAL.”
Actually, black-centric schools were pretty good up until the mid and late 60s. They were full of black teachers who went to college and came back to their communities with high expectations for all the kids there. Black communities were isolated and had crime like any other isolated place, but they weren’t burnt out, no education hell holes like he’s depicting them as. It, ironically, wasn’t until their legitimate grievances about racism were given voice to in the 60s that things started really going downhill. I’m not saying the Civil Rights movement was bad, but that was an unfortunate consequence of it. This is also really oddly leaving out some really important pre-hiphop musical revolutions (Harlem Renaissance and be-bob anyone? Or even non-black centric ones like the rise of rock), but I’ll assume that it’s just for space’s sake that he’s sticking to hip hop. Hiphop was one of the ways that African Americans found a definitive voice in mainstream culture as a group, though.
Hiphop now was FOR EVERYBODY!! All of those who cld relate to the roots, the spirit, the history, the energy.. It reached YOU… it touched your spirit n took u up. We magnetized you! That’s what BRILLANCE does… now u are fulfilling your dreams … BUT! you have to take into account the HISTORY as you move underneath the banner of hiphop. As I said before… hiphop is fun it’s vile it’s dance it’s traditional it’s light hearted but 1 thing it can never detach itself from is being a SOCIO-Political movement.”
This is where I’m going to have to disagree with him. Music is for everybody, yes. It’s for everyone to hear, and it’s for everyone to make. But hiphop is not “brilliant.” A hip hop song can be brilliant. And entire album can be brilliant, but hiphop is not. And it’s not just this genre. This goes for literally every single music genre ever. As it turns out, most of the older genres started out as catalysts for socio-political movements. That’s what they started out as, and it’s a beautiful history full of beautiful music of all kinds. But it’s history. The music can still be that. But that doesn’t mean that that is what it still is as an entire genre, hence hiphop is not brilliant. Look at country. Country started out as the counter-cultural voice of the downtrodden and poor much the same way hiphop did. It was a humanizing voice for the voiceless, providing social commentary, and criticizing society and the government till the cows came home. Rock also started as a counter cultural, anti-establishment genre that provided a voice for people and ideas that weren’t acknowledged. Some of the most famous anti-war songs are country and rock songs, because the 60s just seems like when everything came to a head in the music world.
But you can detach rock and country from being soci-political movements the same way you can detach hip hop from it for one reason: Things change. And though all three of those genres can and still are used to make social statements plenty of times, that has no bearing on the fact that that’s not what the genre does anymore. So A Tribe Called Quest existed once, okay. Two Chainz and Wiz Kalifa and Soldier Boy exist now, and I would bet all the money that I have in my bank account that none of them know about this history that Iggy Azalea apparently so desperately needs to know about either.
“Lolipop” is not a socio-political song. “Thong Song” is not making a statement about the black existence. Hell, “Ridin’ Dirty” seems like it’s trying to be a socio-political song, but it actually turns out being a song about an actual criminal getting pissed because cops peg him as an actual criminal. That’s not to say that rap still doesn’t make political statements, and that’s not to say that some rappers are still connected to the political commentary background of the genre, but popular, mainstream rap is hardly “smart” most of the time, just like every other genre. There was Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar a while ago that was a song with a smart social message, but that wasn’t even a “black” song, it was about alcoholism, a fairly universal issue. And it’s odd to say that rap has to be connected to that past irrevocably, no matter what. It severely limits what rap could talk about, because it implies that rap could only ever be about the “black experience” or could only ever have some kind of “message” because that’s how it was in the past. I think Q-Tip says this because he’s one of the rappers that has social commentary in his songs, but, a show of hands, how many of my readers know who Q-Tip is? “Social commentary” is not the face of rap and hiphop anymore, so it doesn’t make sense to tie the two together and say that must go hand in hand. The same goes for rock and country–“Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” isn’t making any anti-war statements, and the pop rock song “Tonight” doesn’t have much to say about the faults of society.
“U may ask why … Well once you are born black your existence I believe is joined with socio-political epitaph and philos based on the tangled and treacherous history SLAVERY alone this is the case it never leaves our conversation… Ever. WeAther in our universities our dinner tables our studios or jail cells… the effects still resononates with us. It hurts… We get emotional and angry and melancholy… did u know president Clinton was the ONLY PRESIDENT to apologize for it? did u know that remnants of slavery exist today thru white privilege? When certain “niceties” r extended your way because of how u look? Isn’t that crazy?”
Well, I don’t see why any current president would have to apologize for slavery. If that was a thing, literally every world leader everywhere should be apologizing, because humanity has had a shit ton of slaves everywhere all the time. Also, I think this is once again just a matter of opinion. He’s not wrong for thinking this way–that’s just how he, and I’m sure plenty of other people, think. And there’s nothing wrong with thinking that. It is, though, an opinion. He sees being black as being irrevocably tied to slavery and socio-political battles. I see being black as having a skin tone that I happen to share with people who got screwed over in the past. There is a treacherous history behind blacks in America, of course, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a history that isn’t treacherous for anyone. History isn’t kind, and the world can really only get better. The effects resonate with me sometimes, but they’re not some significant part of my life. It’s just who I am. I get emotional and angry and melancholy, but over lots of things. I’m sure everyone does.
I don’t need an apology. I don’t think whites have something to apologize for or give me reparations for. There are no stereotypical slavers in America, and I’m not going to say that white people should own that as their image and apologize. If we are forced to shoulder the sins of those who came before us, to own not only our pasts but the pasts of everyone vaguely like us, we must own all of it, the good and the bad. White people don’t just have slavery. They have plenty of good things too. Black people don’t just have being enslaved, they also had being the slavers. I’m privileged in ways others are not, and they’re privileged in that ways I am not. And it all depends on where and when. It’s fair in how unfair it is.
This is my opinion. It is the opinion of plenty of black people I know. You cannot paint one definitive “black experience” anymore than you can paint one universal “white experience.” Q cannot say that “this is what we feel about this, and this is what we do” as if all black people feel that way. We are not a monolith, you know?
“I say this 2 say u are a hiphop artist who has the right 2 express herself however she wishes… this is not a chastisement this is not admonishment at ALL this is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight into the field you r in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue… I’ve been on twitter a long time and this will probably be my last series of tweets pretty much but I’m Kool with it as long as I got to share this w u. Zzzzzzz’s up! Peace!”
I hate the word “dialogue,” but I like Q-Tip, in the end of the day. This was less of a history recap and more of an extremely biased in favor of X and incredibly idealized recap of the history of X. Which is fine, I don’t expect him to be a historian, and this just shows that he really likes the genre he’s in. But yeah, not really a history lesson. I think it’s odd that he assumes that Iggy just doesn’t “get it” and doesn’t know the history of it all, as I’m sure she does, but he’s way better than the writer of this article, who goes on to say . . .
Of course it’s frustrating that one of the greatest lyricists has to take the time to teach a rapper about the genre of music she and some producers decided fit her best (like a piece of clothing she can take off), that this conversation had to happen in the first place. But while one can only hope that Iggy Azalea takes this to heart or even takes notice at all (doesn’t seem like it so far), we can all learn from Q-Tip’s history lesson.
Iggy came to America wanting to go into hiphop, you dick. She didn’t just show up a blank slate ready to “try on what looked best.” I think you should take a page from one of the greatest lyricists of all time and learn a little humbleness.
And to the third one, wherein Iggy responds:
Tip, who seemed concerned by the discussion swirling around Iggy’s obliviousness to the concept of cultural appropriation in hip-hop and pop, provided her (and all of us, frankly) with a brief, but multi-faceted socioeconomic and geopolitical map of hip-hop. Her response took two days, and isn’t even much of a response, but in all its glory, its embedded below.
Once again, not agreeing with you does not make someone “oblivious” or uneducated. I am black, and I was insulted by the notion that Iggy Azalea committed cultural appropriation (because black culture is apparently idiocy and poor grammar, and you ain’t takin’ that from us white gurl). Also, the “and all of us” part gives me the notion that you have no connection the genre that you’re so fervently fighting to preserve the purity of. “I don’t know about this, but I know that Iggy is bad, for sure!” I for one really do not understand claims of appropriation (wrote a whole post on the topic), especially in music, as art is for everyone to create and indulge in, no matter who they are or what the art is. As long as the art is good and/or they like making it. And even then, appropriation isn’t the problem, it’s the artist being a bad artist.
Considering the neutrality in the tone of Tip’s lesson, her tweets read more as an underhanded swing than anything of substance. Q-Tip was providing context, not chastisement, but as we’ve seen before with Iggy and her Twitter, her retorts remain self-coddling and off target.
Well, that’s what I expected before and was presently surprised to see otherwise, so let’s see how she responded to this.
Thanks lupe and will iam what you guys said was really nice and i appreciate it.
Well, this is just her being nice and thanking two of the only black people left who haven’t ripped her head off, so this doesn’t seem like an issue.
most people learn every and anything they can about the subjects they are passionate about, I’m no different.
i find it patronizing to assume i have no knowledge of something I’m influenced by, but I’ve also grown up with strangers assuming that.
so its completely fine and I’m used to it by now. i don’t lose any sleep over it.
I don’t know. This seems like a response to me. The writer of the article said she didn’t respond at all, but I’m fairly sure saying “I already knew that, and assuming that I didn’t was mean” seems like a pretty decent response. And I’m sure she has grown up with strangers assuming she’s just some white girl who “doesn’t get it,” so I don’t think she’s lying.
im also not going to sit on twitter & play hip hop squares with strangers to somehow prove i deserve to be a fan of or influenced by hiphop.
i would have to be an idiot or incredibly bored to think that would change anyones already cemented opinion of me. I’m neither.
I do think this is a little needlessly defensive (Q-Tip was one of the nicer ones, after all), but I get that. Iggy’s had a rough week, as you’ve said. That first tweet seems more like a response to everyone, not just him, her trying to justify her existence to everyone telling her that she shouldn’t do what she’s doing or that she isn’t good enough to be in the genre for reasons totally divorced from the music she makes within that genre. Once again, it goes back to people harping on the fact that she’s a white girl. I saw an article with a title along the lines of “We’re Not Saying That Iggy Should Quit Rapping Because She’s White, We Just Want Her to Acknowledge A, B, C Social Issues” when it’s clear that the only reason they want her to acknowledge A, B, C is because she’s white. No one is chomping at the bit to attack Two Chainz and Walka Flaka Flame over their lack of an opinion on America’s race issues. This is, once again, people attacking Iggy Azalea for doing nothing out of the ordinary for no other reason than that she looks out of the ordinary. People see her as a “white rapper” and nothing else, and when she refuses to talk about the “white” half because she’d rather focus on the “rapper” half, people get pissed off, even though it should be none of their fucking concern what she thinks or what she wants to discuss. So yeah, I get her being a bit defensive at this point.
how you feel about me blending musical genres together doesn’t bother me, no one is making you support or buy pop rap albums.
Okay, Iggy, I just defended you. Don’t start talking about how you “blend genres” like someone who makes good music. Although it’s true that no one makes you buy pop rap albums if that’s not the kind of rap you want to hear.
its entirely up to you what you support and are interested in, thanks if you are interested in me and enjoy my music. i love to hear that!
now, if you guys don’t mind… I’m on my christmas break enjoying it with people i actually KNOW…. in REAL life. you should do the same.
Once again, after the Snoop Dog incident, this is surprisingly okay on Ms. Iggy’s part. Defensive, yes. But I’d be defensive too if I spent the week getting bombarded on all sides by people calling me a terrible bitch. Now, how did Ms. Bank’s react, just to bring it full circle?
Qtip gave you some insight into the culture you’re influenced by and you really sat there and told him he’s hip-hop squares.
That tweet means nothing.
Azaelia Banks is a racist, guys. Just putting that out there.
I don’t want to defend Iggy Azalea anymore. It’s like the musical equivalent of defending the Transformers movies. I don’t want to do it. But people hate this woman for no reason. They assume the worst of her for no reason. They have needlessly demanding expectations of her for no reason. Well, they have a reason. It’s because she’s white. But that’s not a good reason. You don’t see people hounding Nicki Minaj for her opinion on the matter. Being a white rapper who doesn’t want to talk about being a white rapper does not make her a cultural stealing bitch, and being an entertainer who only wants to be an entertainer and not a social commentator does not make her “a part of the problem.” Iggy Azalea shouldn’t be forced into the position of being the voice of “the white girl among black people,” and people shouldn’t treat the situation like her opinion is so much more important to hear than anyone else’s just because we feel like she specifically should have something to say about how her race sucks.
The only reason people aren’t doing this to Marshall Mathers is because they know he’d be far more articulate in the crucifying of their needlessly race-centric arguments than she is. I don’t like Iggy’s music at all, but that, to me, is even more of a reason to not give a damn about what she has to say about whatever controversy is topical at the time.