opinion

COLUMN: Banking on Azealia Banks to say more slurs



I’ve officially started a zero tolerance policy when it comes to musicians who are problematic.

The removal of toxic artists in my life unfortunately begins with Azealia Banks.

Banks, a black, female rapper from Harlem notorious for her outspoken nature, was involved in an altercation with a Delta Airlines flight attendant on a plane that landed early Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

A passenger filmed the altercation, and it was later released by TMZ to the gossip channels, causing Banks to start trending on Twitter on Tuesday.

In the video, Banks is facing the camera, arguing with a male flight attendant.

After imploring the flight attendant to “let go of (her) fucking bag,” — which prompted a visit from a copilot — Banks called him a “fucking faggot.”

The moment the slur left her lips, gasps were heard throughout the cabin.

Banks left the plane with a huff via the jet way, and the flight attendant stood motionless, stunned in 
silence.

I’m not calling TMZ a watchdog by any means, and I honestly despise the paparazzi culture our generation loves to consume, but it’s times like these when viral videos of 
celebs in real life are 
necessary.

While her name was trending Tuesday, Banks sent out a tweet that read, “I am bisexual. My brother is trans. My employees are all gay men. Nothing else to say.”

No apology, only 
excuses.

So I’ve decided to give Banks the boot from my iTunes account, my Twitter feed, my tumblr and any other subsequent form of media where I may find her.

I wanted to like Azealia Banks, I truly did.

But the woman made it impossible.

Being a bisexual woman, a sister to someone who is transexual and an employer of gay men makes this situation all the more unacceptable. Banks knows better. She knew she was wrong, and she decided her actions weren’t heinous enough to warrant an apology.

This viral video isn’t the first time Banks used a slur, and it’s far from her first 
offense of being ignorant.

In 2013, she tweeted, “They said I look like the tranny from orange is the new black,” followed by a frowny face with multiple mouths.

The tweet referred to trans actress Laverne Cox, a woman who’s dedicated a large portion of her life to speaking against racism, transphobia and social 
injustices.

For those who are unfamiliar with trans rhetoric and vocabulary, “tranny” is an offensive term that shouldn’t be uttered.

Maybe having a trans relative gave Banks the wrong impression about what types of names she can use, but it’s a huge oversight for someone who claims to be a speaker of truths about prejudice.

In the past, Banks spoke about the problems black female artists face and how she struggles as a bisexual in a predominately straight industry.

I even quoted her in one of my most recent columns about the Madame Tussauds wax figure of Nicki Minaj.

Her tweets gave insight into how black female musicians are portrayed as sexual deviants whose accomplishments don’t measure up to those of their white counterparts.

But all the progress went to waste the moment Banks decided to take her anger out on someone else.

We’ve set the bar high for our artists, and I refuse to make exceptions to this rule because Banks occasionally has valid points on prejudice against black women.

Her banishment from my iTunes is the same 
reason I stopped listening to artists like R. Kelley, Iggy Azalea — why I started, I’ll never know — and Chris Brown.

There are plenty of people who would argue with my decision, saying what an artist does outside of their work shouldn’t matter to their fans.

I’m sorry, but I have too much integrity to pay money for someone’s work when their words and actions work against 
everything I believe.

If I supported things I didn’t believe in, I might as well shell out cash to places that want to deny gay couples service because they have great products.

Honestly, I’m not making an unreasonable 
demand here.

I’m not saying Banks should become a model, well-behaved citizen — her badassery was one of the things I liked about her.

I’m not even asking for artists to share the same values as me.

All I want is for the people I purchased music from to treat other people like human beings.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Opinion



Comments powered by Disqus