IRE STARTER: The Paradox of Azealia Banks

Ok. Here we go.

I’m not going to even pretend that I had Azealia Banks on my radar before this latest dust-up occurred. I knew she existed and remember listening to one of her songs on Soundcloud a few years ago, but it’s not like I had made any decisions about her artistry yet or her character. There were some other notes of flame throwing at some cats over... something, that I vaguely recall, but that was such small potatoes that I didn’t even bother looking that up for this article. Not really relevant now, anyway.

However, WOW did she ever jump into our collective consciousness after a series of ill-advised attacks on Zayn and Skai Jackson. It was messy as hell, trust, and I’m not about to jump in after Zayn smartly went ‘meh’ and that 14-year old slayer of words already ethered the hell out of AB. Whatever. Twitter fingers don’t really move me after Drake highlighted the absurdity of getting too amped about mere insults. What did occur is that I started listening to Azealia’s music, and I was pleasantly surprised. Scratch that; I was DUMBFOUNDED.

Whoa is that track hot lava. As a connoisseur of all things Hip Hop, I was amazed at the ferociousness of this song. Bold, confident, melodic as hell and just plain good. How is this the same person that was displaying such obvious insecurity over social media? My mind couldn’t resolve the humongous leap between her music and her gripes. Not to say that her points about how black women are handled aren’t valid, mind you, and that line of understanding made me think about something altogether different. Namely, why can’t AB be she?

This isn’t to say that her BS shouldn’t be called out, but isn’t something strange going on here? On a much larger scale, racism, insecurity and personal attacks are being touted as great presidential characteristics. Trump can say whatever he wants, regardless of who it offends, and it gains him a mountain of supporters, where it’s killing Banks’ career before it really gets a chance to begin. Look, I’m no dummy. I realize that a Venn diagram of insane Trump supporters and Hip Hop fans probably don’t overlap much, if at all. However, there’s a lot to be said when a white man in this country is practically unstoppable, no matter what he says or is, and a black woman can’t even get personal with a handful of people without being marginalized into oblivion by observers. Many people want to bury Banks over her bigoted comments, whereas millions of people want to exalt Trump over his promises of actual institutional racism.

I really hope that doesn’t end up being the case for Banks. Her obvious skill shouldn’t go away over something that only hurts her (and perhaps disappoints her fans). Sometimes passionate individuals cannot turn that switch off when they’re not in the recording studio. Personally, I’ll take that occasional brush fire for fiya tracks like this:

Crazy? Perhaps. Crazy talented? Absolutely.

Did you find yourself grooving on Azealia Banks’ music after this controversy?
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