Organizers of the upcoming Pittsburgh Pridefest are facing backlash for booking the "Pretty Girls" rapper to headline next month. Protesters say the Aussie is a homophobic, racist, cultural appropriator of rap music whom the Delta Foundation picked to headline because she's white.
A Facebook page called “Pride is Political: Shut It Down (No Icky at Pride 2015)” was started in wake of the Azalea announcement. “Icky [Iggy] is a known homophobic, racist, culturally appropriating ‘rapper’ (term used loosely),” reads a message on the account. “Delta has the reputation of advocating for the LGBTQ community in Pittsburgh, but there is little to no evidence of Delta advocating for anybody but affluent cis gay white men. Let's shut this down.”
Azalea is the “last straw” in the Delta Foundation’s political game to turn Pridefest into “white gay man’s event,” so says those against the overall direction of the celebration. “It goes back to the root of pride and how pride was started — by two trans women of color who were retaliating against police violence," said Michael David Battle of the Garden of Peace Project, an organization aimed at helping the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community. "That type of rebellion of trans women of color is something that has to be celebrated and honored”
Joy KMT founded the Facebook page and added, “We are in a time ... where there are uprisings all over America. Black trans women are being killed all over the nation. For it to be whitewashed is a destruction of legacy.”
Delta denied the lack of diversity in a statement maintaining that the organization advocates for “every member” of the LGBTQ community and called the “pushback” part of a larger discussion on race and gender in America. The statement notes that Delta has “featured many African-American female artists at Pittsburgh Pride, including Kimberley Locke, Jennifer Holiday, Patti LaBelle and Chaka Khan," among other actions to increase diversity.
“If we believed that Iggy Azalea was racist or homophobic, we certainly would not have selected her to headline Pittsburgh Pride," the statement adds. "We also don't believe she would have agreed to come if she was racist or homophobic. Iggy is a highly regarded artist and female entertainer and we have received a tremendous amount of positive messages from members of the community and our allies both locally and nationally that are excited that she will be performing at Pittsburgh Pride.”
(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)