Sunday, August 14, 2022

I Hear and See YOU Azealia Banks.

January 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( In order for our words to be heard and accepted it’s not just a matter of what we say, but how we live. I for one must admit that I am rather tired of seeing young black women defend a position while betraying their own cause. It is not okay to focus on one aspect of “struggle” while behaving in an overall manner that discredits ones argument.

Case Study: Ms. Azealia Banks

Ms. Banks caught my attention as one that was bold enough to speak openly, via interviews and twitter, regarding cultural appropriation. She spoke against the likes of rapper Iggy Azealea for basically using “black culture” via hip hop to make a name for herself; however the causes of the black community didn’t seem to be an area of concern. Ms. Banks also attacked veteran rap artist Clifford ‘T.I.” Harris for supporting this white woman’s misuse of hip-hop. I must admit she’s bold. Yes, bold and embarrassing. One ought to be careful when indicting someone for misuse of a culture they don’t seem to fully respect. Though I appreciate some of her artistic approach I cannot excuse: her over sexualization, constant use of the word b*tch and c*nt to refer to herself and other women, and her open admittance to risky sexual practices. AzealiaBanks-2015

Furthermore, she seems to be very confused regarding white men. In one instance, via interview, she expresses an infatuation with white men: “I date lots of white guys. It’s still seen as slightly taboo in African American culture, but I thought, ‘Let me put this in your face and tell it how it is.” She acknowledges, via Twitter, that the death of black males at the hands of the police anger her to the point she feels I might have to kill one of these cr*ckers in their sleep!!”

The problem is not interracial dating it what seems to be her confusion within herself. How can we speak against cultural appropriation, racial injustice, and try to “drop knowledge” when that same mouth is venom to the movement.  Ranting on twitter in a manner that portrays black women as angry, uncouth, without self-respect, and childish makes it very hard to hear, or defend, the cultural appropriation argument…or accept anything she has to say regarding black community.

I very excited and enthusiastic about all these other BLACK things i keep learning about and all i want to do is share.” –Azealia Banks

She seems to have found some affection for the greats such as Nina Simone. Maybe an elder could reach out to her to say: Young Sister I see, and hear you. I can tell from your tweets you are reading and searching. With that being said how can you speak to the power of black people and your very presentation is the embodiment of the case against black women? IT is not necessary to attack everyone that has a different perspective to bring to this very discussion, especially when they are a part of our community. As a black woman dedicated to the attaining of knowledge, belief in the power of our people, and a graceful display of the beauty of black women I strongly suggest you reconsider your approach.

We cannot be taken seriously when we make a mockery of ourselves. Part of the issue with hip-hop is activism versus destructive behavior. Azealia Banks is just one artist of many that has an idea of what’s happening around her and wants to know more, but like many she is still slave to the mental oppression she rants about.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

May connect with this sister over at Facebook; and also Twitter;


21 Responses to “I Hear and See YOU Azealia Banks.”
  1. FreeTheLand says:


  2. Cynthia says:

    How about you all read her tweets and watch some of her interviews. Sorry, but this man is completely correct. She brings up some amazing things that need to be discussed, only to completely ruin her cause with her ignorant statements. She could have actually made a difference, but she’s to confused and angry to even agree with herself. Her opinions and ideology completely change yearly or bi-yearly. She’ll make some great points, and then follow them with the most ignorant hit I’ve ever heard. Well definitely need an outspoken voice, hell as many outspoken voices as possible, but like stated above in the article, you can’t take her seriously with all the insane shit she says, which is too bad. And I’m not speaking about her sexuality or lyrics, I’m talking about her beliefs and ever changing opinions that cross out any important points that she makes. I really wanted her to do well and speak up, only to be hugely disappointed when her voice spoke out with words of hate, anger, ignorance, etc. Maybe one day she’ll realize how angry and ignorant she is being. If she put half the amount of energy and time she spends on twitter into music and social causes, without the hate that loses the serious listeners, she could do great things. For her fans, instead of blindly defending her, why don’t you does up like you would to a family member or friend that is self destructive, stop ignoring her blatantly ignorant comments that are holding her back, and let her know you don’t stand for her hate. And if you do, I’m sorry. We need change, real change, not twitter activists

  3. Leontyne says:

    I am so sick of the Azealia Banks Vs Iggy Azealea Vs Everyone Else Who Is Doing Better Than Her Tour.

    A year ago during one of Banks’ Twitter meltdowns she said: “Black people had no culture and black culture is appropriated white culture.” None of her new found fans remember this or is it since T.I. is promoting the Australian rapper, everything she has said is ignored.

    When she first came out she had the support of the white, gay fashion and art community and she was practically ignored by black people because of it. I agree with the writer of this piece because I don’t take her seriously either.

    She is vulgar, disrespectful and uncouthed, and she can express herself all she wants to because she has that right.

    No one is denouncing her beauty like so many have said in order to project their own insecurities onto others. She’s just not good and the recording executives knew it too which is why her so called music was held back.

    Deny and debate all you want to, but I only deal in the truth. One blogger that I know of tried to “pull her aside” and she tried to humiliate her:

    All of these black female artists who are attacking Iggy come off looking jealous, insecure and petty since this woman has somehow “stolen their shine” that’s it downright funny and also painful to watch at the same time.

    Banks can thank her big mouth for destroying what little music career she had and it’s not white cultural appropriation. Iggy thanks all of you for the free publicity you have given her because of your sheer dislike, prejudice and mis-guided support in order to show your real agenda which is to direct your misandry toward T.I.for supporting the Australian woman aka The White Woman. I’m no fan of the current roster of hip hop/pop artists, but I love the retort she slings back at her haters. They have given her plenty of content to write some awesome rap lyrics to record.

    Learn to play the game…you just might win.

  4. Reese says:

    Black people might be in a better place if black men like you spent more time addressing issues in our communities instead of attacking black women because you think the way they defend you is embarrassing. While you are on here complaining non black men are building up and providing for their communities. Her only crime is misplaced loyalty.

  5. Reese says:

    When will black women learn. Stop defending these ungrateful black men. Stop speaking on their injustices and let them defend themselves. No other group of women defend their men and every other men defend their women. I also bet this hypocritical writer wouldn’t say anything about Kayne West speaking on race and is confusion and/or obsession with white women. You are attacked while defending black men as embarrassing really. Let them fight their own battles just like we fight ours. She need to have a sit down with Eve or Janet and find out how to land you an Alpha man.

  6. Light_Bender says:

    This is why I don’t encourage black women to fight in battles that are of the black man’s. Hip Hop was created by black men and Ms. Banks is trying to keep it from being “colonized” so to say. Ms. Banks has spoken on an issue that was long over do and I salute her in her efforts to try and keep hip hop authentic, but I will say to her the exact same thing I would say to any other black woman, STOP!!!! marching, fighting, and protesting for men who don’t give a damn about the black women and their well being. You rarely see black men in an uproar over the injustice of black women, you never see black men backing us up when our backs are up against the walls so why should we do the same for them. There have been countless of black women who have been slaughtered by the police and you rarely hear a peep out of our so-called brothers while at the same time the same black women who these black men call loud, angry, ghetto, and rachet are the same women who are ALWAYS front and center and ready to march and rally for the injustice of the so-called black man and quite frankly I’m sick of it. I’ll be DAMNED if i show more loyalty to a bunch of men who slander the black woman’s name in public. One sided loyalty is for suckers so I highly suggest that black women get a clue and realize when your assistance is wanted But NOT appreciated

  7. Harlemite says:

    @Christian Starr

    I appreciate your intent wasn’t to attack Azealia. But it’s kind of difficult to believe that.
    At least where I come from no one would believe you.

    Your banging on your keyboard implying because she is vocal about her sexual trists in her music, that is some way diminishes her voice reguarding being black in AMERICA

    Or her “PROBLEM” is the “CONFUSION” within HERSELF! OH OK LOL.

    You got all the answerssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

    I’m shocked you’re old-young, young-old. You being under the age of 35 is disgusting. You’ve been on this planet for a cute second, and your on the internet acting like you’re Miss Jane Pitman. Judging Azealia from your rocking chair.

    Sadly, the blurb you wrote about her falls in line with the mockery you speak of.

  8. FreeThe Land says:


    Cultural “Appropriation” has no place in this country because it is a form a taking without giving back and systematically ignoring or “smudging out ” the efforts of those who came before that provided you with a platform and a pathway.

    Azealia Banks pointed out there is a lack of Cultural “Appreciation” which is acknowledging the achievements and contributions of Blacks in this country. When you appreciate you give credit to and honor the contributions and efforts of all who came before you to help pave the way.

    By definition Black Americans CANNOT be racist. They can be PREJUDICED but not racist. Look up the definition and do your research.

    Azealia Banks did not sign on to be the spokesperson of Black America. The media GAVE her a platform and she kept it 100. Ms. Banks appeals to who she needs to appeal to. If you disagree “tune out” just like everyone else that does not agree with her. Trust me, she doesn’t mind.

  9. Tonim says:

    “How can we speak against cultural appropriation”

    What’s exactly wrong with cultural appropriation? I thought America was a melting pot where it was healthy for different ethnicities with different cultural backgrounds to work off each other and share and celebrate what makes each of their identities unique. It’s not black face to like a hair style, an artistic style, or even a different culture’s food. The other type of culture promotes segregation. Do we now support segregation?

    “ranting on twitter in a manner that portrays black women as angry”

    Racists will think this. If a white guy said or did something reprehensible over the twitter then you would get people like Banks equating it to white people in general. She’s a racist.

    Maybe we should lean her towards the film Malcolm X where a young man’s anger at the injustices, REAL INJUSTICES, of his society are used to manipulate him into promoting the same hatred he was meant to fight against, a perspective that by the end he denounces.

    “Azealia Banks is just one artist of many that has an idea of what’s happening around her and wants to know more”

    She doesn’t. She’s jumping on an outrage bandwagon and is, as Earl Sweatshirt put it, punching in the dark. She’s not even aware of how her own opinions are layered in rhetoric that baselessly assumes that black people still live in the 60’s, generalizes others because of how they look, and basically mocks what the Civil Rights defenders fought and died for just so blacks could be INTEGRATED into society. She probably also thinks blacks marrying whites is a form of cultural appropriation.

    What this article fails to see is that it’s not the way she’s speaking, but what she’s saying that makes her a mockery. If you give her the platform, which many have, to speak for them then you seem to be easily swayed by the loudest voice, as opposed to the wisest.

  10. FreeThe Land says:

    @Christinia Peake

    Your initial article came across as extremely judgmental and condescending. If that was not your intention maybe you should have spent more time thinking about what you wanted to write before you actually posted your thoughts online for all to see.

    The reason you received such blow back was because it appeared your intent was to tear down Azealia Banks, the person. And in doing so, you failed to spend any time building her back up by also acknowledging that Ms. Banks has provided a significant amount of cultural knowledge, book references and other resources about Black history to thousands of young people during these Twitter “rants” as you call them. You approached your article with a certain degree of tunnel-vision and your commentary lacked balance. Yes, Ms. Banks is young and still learning but she is also taking the time educate many others young and old alike. She will at times express herself in a raw, unfiltered style that may not sit well with some. She is okay with that. What matters most to her is that she remains true to herself as reflection of the environment she was raised in. She doesn’t craft speeches to appeal to the masses nor has she proclaimed to speak for all Black people in America. The richness in her unapologetic delivery is rare and quite frankly, a breath of fresh air.

    Side Note: For the folks commenting on what race of men Azealia Banks chooses to have sex with in reference to her inability to remain committed to a Black cause, get real. There have been a number of outspoken Blacks involved in pro-black movements in this country that have had very intimate relationships with either white men or white women. Azealia Banks doesn’t have to be a Black Purist to be qualified to express her opinion on Black issues in America. All she has to do to qualify is be BLACK in AMERICA.

    Continuing with @Christinia Peake:

    Regarding your other points. Pay attention to your surroundings. You say you are a fan of hip-hop, when is the last time “conscious” rap (i.e. Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Nas, Tribe Called Quest, Common, etc.) received some serious air time on mainstream radio? Think about it. The rap and hip-hop you hear on the radio today is all about the streets, the hood, gang violence, having sex, hustling, surviving, going to the club, drinking, living fast, dying young and all things that encompass that lifestyle. And the media recycles these images of young Blacks in America over and over again for the world to see.

    Now, imagine a Martin Luther King, Jr. figure existing in 2015. How would he be able to deliver his message of non-violent, peaceful protest against racial discrimination in today’s fragmented Black communities? How would he be able to mobilize Blacks and convince them to set aside their socioeconomic status, their academic elitism, their cultural classism, their light skin vs. dark skin ideologies and their “kinky” hair vs. “good” hair ideologies? How would Dr. King’s message of non-violence appeal to today’s street gangs, generations of families on welfare, generations of Blacks who have been recycled through the criminal justice system, single mothers and fathers struggling trying to raise families? How would Martin Luther King, Jr. in the year 2015 convince masses of Black people to rally together for a greater cause? What would be his platform, his strategy? What organizations would rally behind him? What Blacks would risk their lives and the lives or their families to help extend his message? What Blacks would bury their heads in the sand because they don’t want to get “involved”?

    My point is this. Black “elders” as you call them continue to speak to young people using the ideologies of Martin Luther King, Jr. The “turn the other cheek”, “we shall overcome”, passive, non-offensive, non-violent strategies of the 60’s WILL NOT WORK in the Black communities of today. That approach is falling on deaf ears. What young Black people are seeing is oppression and lack of opportunity all around them continuing to exist under the banner of civil rights and affirmative action. What they see is the flaming hypocrisy in a racist system that only benefits those who have managed to slip through the cracks and find a way out. What they are experiencing in their communities is a killed or be killed code of survival, a way of life that contributes to the hopelessness and helplessness that plague many young Black people inner city communities. So if the if the voice of young Black people in America has become raw, unfiltered, uncensored and unforgiving, what you are listening to and hearing is the sound of vehement anger and frustration. These young people have been LIED to. They have been told over and over again that their grandparents and great grandparents sacrificed their lives so they could live in a society free from oppression and racial discrimination. Really? Where?!!

    Where are these so-called changes, where is this so-called freedom? Why are only a select few Blacks benefiting from this concept called “freedom” while the masses are still suffering? Where are these social and economic polices that were supposed to level the playing field for Blacks in this country? WHAT HAVE OUR BLACK ELDERS/LEADERS BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST 40-50 years in their high profile positions? Twiddling their thumbs? Shaking hands and shuffling and signing papers called “laws” and “policies” that actually hand MORE tools of oppression over to the white oppressor? When young Blacks in this country ask these questions the silence is deafening. And when answers are provided they sound more like excuses.

    It was not suggested that you as individual are scared of young people nor was an inference made that you fall into the category of an elder. You raised a point about Azealia Banks reaching out to elders as mentors and the opinion was that most (not all) of the elders that continue to champion the achievements of civil rights era have either spent the last ten or twenty years shaking their fingers at and chastising young Black people of today or they spend their time hob-nobbing in their influential circles, charging to be guest speakers at conferences, writing books and memoirs about their lives as civil rights activists and surrounding themselves with people who like to remind them of how important they were “back in the day”. Young Blacks see this as another way for these so-called elders to AVOID what is right in front of their faces. Burying their heads in the sand, not wanting to the get their hands dirty the in the trenches where the real oppression resides, in the major urban cities in this country.

    After the civil rights movement Black people as a whole lost their critical thinking skills. They stopped paying attention to what was really going on around them and complacency became the norm. Complacency replaced social and political competency. Blacks traded their cultural pride, love of self and love of “Blackness” for the privilege of being bamboozled by a false sense of equality ushered in on the coat tails of integration. Black Americans were “integrated” into a burning house that continues to burn to this day. When the so-called Black elders and leaders can finally admit they made a HUGE mistake by leading Black America into that burning house, maybe some honest dialogue can begin.

    An elder/mentor for Azealia Banks?…..Assata Shakur hands down.

  11. Auntie3times says:

    I did respond but it was not recorded

  12. Anthony says:

    Sorry but you can’t be a Garveyite and a negro bed wench at the same time. Sitting here talking about how you love to have sex with old white men then talking about reparations is a good reason why NOBODY will take this woman seriously. She’s a hypocrite you can’t be about Black empowerment sleeping with the enemy and I assure you. NONE OF THE MEN SHE’S WITH will support the movement.

  13. Christian Starr says:

    Let me begin by saying thank you for reading my article, and I respect the commentary presented. Furthermore, I must clarify that I am a Black Woman under 35 that does listen to Hip-Hop, is involved in activism and mentoring. This article was not written to “dog” Azealia Banks, but to bring discussion as to why the argument she is making may not be taken as seriously as it should.
    Yes, I realize she is young and coming into herself. We all have the human right to grow, however when we decide to do so in the public eye we open ourselves up to public critique and/or opinion. She herself stated she is learning…okay let her learn; all knowledge does not feel great but is needed. I do feel she is talented, but factually speaking her rants seem to gain more attention than her art.

    Activism does wear many faces. The activist of the previous generations did not have social media so there is a lot about them we are still learning. Furthermore, one might want to be careful calling that generation scary. I say that only because they did fight for the POLICY CHANGES that affect what rights we do have now. Yes the times are different and there are many new ways to approach activism, but the principle that is we MUST affect policy ( hence the leadership must be taken seriously) has not changed. I believe in this new day movement, yet we need to be taken serious and that starts with us. We will need more than multi-faceted protest to make change, and history is a reference to find the principles. Many of the leaders we do celebrate started as young people in movement…we have that in common, and there were many different schools of thought. My article is not about old verses young. It was to cause us to begin to consider how we want to be viewed by us. I don’t believe in making changes so that “white America” will accept us; I believe in becoming a better people for ourselves only. If we can not look at our own (regardless of age) and say brother/sister maybe you should reconsider here we are in trouble as a people. In direct response to double standards…yes they exist. Too often in this day it seems we want to live in the mind of what should be while discounting the reality of what is. Yes, Azealia Banks should be able to be an artist without having to be the face nor reflection of the stereotypes of black women. No she doesn’t represent me either…in my world. However, I am very aware of the argument by which she does. No, white women do not have to live with this no more then white men have to live with being viewed by the police in the way that black men are viewed.

    I can’t look at her and say the sister is none of my concern. If that is the case every activist, protestor, teacher, ect should just go home because our people are not our concern. I harbor no ill will towards Ms. Banks; she is very talented. However, I stand by my position that, if she is without one, as a young black woman in America she might need a mentor. I pulled that suggestion from her posting a picture of Nina Simone. If she were to have a discussion with that Elder, who seemed to have caught her attention, I’m pretty sure she would hear much more then what I am merely addressing. The marketing game will only go so far before it causes obvious damage. Maybe, marketing is an area Hip-Hop needs to re-access as I did state: “Part of the issue with hip-hop is activism versus destructive behavior.”

    I am not afraid of young people at all…I mentor them. I celebrate the creativity and beauty within them. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with conversing with those younger than us about grace, dignity, the longevity of image and the truth of the world we live in. If we can’t have this dialog much won’t matter because self destruction will continue. Our young women have allowed themselves to be told its okay to be called a bitch, and before long if not careful the behavior follows. How is it this argument has been made regarding the well being of young black men…but can’t be spoken of regarding young black women? It is not being a: whitewashed sister/brother, sambo, uncle tom, or any other often mis-used term to address what is going on among our people. I’ll defend her to others, but I won’t remain silent in the house. It seems we no longer differentiate between concerned commentary and bashing.

    If one is a fan of Azealia Banks cool, but this is about more than music. Its about fostering a community discussion whereby we can grow in a positive manner.

    SN: Yes I TOTALLY agree that Azealia Banks can say whatever she wants on her twitter page. Yet, she has a larger platform…HER MUSIC, and the issues have not yet shown up fluidly there. I acknowledge, again, she is still growing.

  14. Diane says:

    My issue with this article is your claim that her actions on twitter portray black women as “angry, uncouth, without self-respect, and childish”. Why must it be that way? In no way shape or form, does she represent ALL black women and she should not be held to that responsibility. No one should be held to the responsibility of representing a whole race of people with different thoughts, feelings, opinions and attitudes. You never hear people saying that Lindsay Lohan makes all white women look bad. It’s a double standard. Why can’t she just be a young women expressing her thoughts and opinions as she sees fit? Because of the world we live in I suppose. And in regards to her “risky” sexual practices, I don’t know where you even got that from or why that is any of your concern.

  15. Auntie3times says:

    Don’t be afraid to “Turn the page” Dr. Watkins. Her ideologies may not be as meticulous as you prefer, but she’s mindful, talented and she reads. When you allow yourself to turn the page, your mind opens to all sorts of possibilities. That is what youth/Azealia/Broke With Expensive Taste is. Truly unlike anything the world has EVER heard in the rap game. She’s just getting started…I’m her Auntie3times 4 real.

  16. FreeTheLand says:

    @Christinia Peake

    It sounds like you need to grow some kahunas and get over it. Ms. Banks can use her social media however she wants, its a free country. She is not under contract so she is FREE (there’s that word again) to say whatever she wants to whomever she wants. If people chose to engage with her in her so-called “beefs” then they are just as responsible for carrying the drama forward. Ms. Banks is not begging people to follow her Twitter nor is she begging the media to bring her content onto their websites. You can make the decision to “tune in” or “tune out” of Azealia Banks whenever you like. Since you are choosing to “tune in” it appears she has managed to hook you in as well. So Ms. Banks now has YOUR attention and you are giving her energy. Some people call them “beefs” we like to call it “brilliant marketing”. I think we know whose winning right now.

  17. Christinia Peake says:

    Like I have said so many times Banks needs to focus on her career instead of playing these dumb social media games. Who is she or anyone else to say that shes is using the black culture for fame. A lot of this comes from her not being were she wants to be in her career. If she was doing something I don’t think she would be going on like this. I’m all for people standing up for what they belive. I think this is just plain bullying and just mean. I agree with this article.

  18. Samantha says:

    As a proud black woman all I will say is NO ONE “represents” me, I represent myself. So does Azealia Banks. Her public platform should not keep or change her from being exactly who she is. Who are you or anyone to tell her how she should behave or speak? She is a grown woman. Is more real than half the industry pretending to be everything but themselves. She has more respect for the art itself than half the industry which puts profit before art. She is uncompromisingly genuine, without fear of vulnerability ( a rarity for black woman in such a genre with the exception of Lauryn Hill ) and an extreme amount of talent I’ve rarely witnessed in a single person. Male or female. She has a sincere passion for knowledge and identity while retaining who she is. She makes me proud in a variety of ways and I accept her wholly for who she is. Frankly, she is very much needed.

  19. FreeTheLand says:

    The only thing that is EMBARRASSING is “black Sambo” journalists attempting to chastise Azealia Banks in the media. Ms. Banks appeals to EXACTLY who she needs to appeal to. She’s 23 years old and navigating her way through world like everyone else. You don’t SEE her, and you can’t SEE her. She’s vibing on a level much higher than yours. When she talks about Whites she places them in different categories. Some are obviously cool with her and others are not. She gives kudos to some and others she doesn’t mince words about and calls them like she sees them. That’s funny, whites do the same thing do they not? To them, the majority of Blacks are uneducated, on welfare, thugs, drug addicts, thieves, baby mommas, ratchets, etc., etc. BUT if you are one of the Blacks that whites deem non militant and non threatening then you are placed in the “you are not like all the other Blacks” category. The passive mentality that governed the civil rights movements of the 60’s is DEAD. And all that is left is a bunch of Black elders who buried their proverbial heads in the sand during a time when young Black needed them the most. They were too busy being “scared of the young people of today”. Well, the young people are not only NOT scared of you they don’t RESPECT you or what you have to say. On that note, you OLD people should really limit yourself to writing about topics you can actually comprehend. The head space of Azealia Banks is clearly NOT one of them.

  20. WestCoastJefe says:

    The idea that Azealia Banks needs to conform to an old black mans idea of resistance is itself troubling and paternalistic. You simply cannot fault Banks for addressing an issue that concerns her immediate life and livelihood and enforce rigid rules of what is appropriate and whats not ?!!
    If you truly represent black culture and the struggle, you should know by now that resistance comes in many forms and its your own limitations that you seem to project onto Banks.
    Get over yourself and support a Sister.

  21. Harlemite says:

    LOL Old People should refrain from writing about Azealia Banks.
    There is a generation gap. Stop trying to make her a “better person” so you can be on her side and agree with the “good stuff” she talks about.
    She is young and will grow at her own pace.
    Let her be right in her wrongs.

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