Much like the drunk relative at family reunions, it’s a never ending ride of unpredictability with Azealia Banks. Here we are, yet again, talking about her (not about her music, mind you) and using the word "f****t."
Foul play this time around (surprisingly) didn’t come in the form of social media Tourette syndrome. But, as it tends to happen with Banks, it did appear out of nowhere. Banks was on a flight to Los Angeles. While trying to get off the plane, things got physical with a French man who Banks claims hit her in the face. The kicker was her calling a flight attendant a "f****t."
It’s a word she has defended using time and time again since she used it against blogger Perez Hilton in January 2013. Sure, Perez could be considered a deplorable celebrity, but the use of "f****t" confused many fans (gay and straight) who considered her an LGBTQ ally.
Fast forward to 2015: "One day your hemmroids [sic] are going to burst and you’ll bleed to death b***h," Banks said to an Instagram user after they asked her to "imagine the pain young gay fans feel when they hear the vile things you say." Also, just this past weekend, she compared the LGBTQ community to the KKK. It goes without saying that she is on a rampage.
Banks has easily joined the ranks of artists that leave fans scratching their heads and pondering, Am I a fan of the artist or just the music?
Banks's fans are either exhausted by now or simply refusing to entertain the question any longer. You either fervently defend her or ignore what she has to say (at times easily managed by not following any of her social media channels).
It feels like it’s been forever, but the merry-go-round of Banks and her word vomit (a lá Linda Blair) hasn’t gone on for that long. For starters, Banks herself hasn't even been in the public eye for five years, as it's only been four years since "212" went viral. At times, though, it feels like forever.
The funny thing is, from the get-go, Banks’s fan base was predominately gay. Due to her own publicly acknowledged bisexuality, she is technically part of the LGBTQ community. In a sense, it made her walking both the world of pop-glitz and hip hop very plausible. It made catering to her gay fan base very natural for her.
During the summer of 2012, she headlined the Mermaid Ball, a concert she curated where she shared the stage with artists Maluca and House of LaDosha. These were artists that, for all intents and purposes, appeal to the downtown NYC gay aesthetic of thumping beats, old-school voguing and drag. Earlier that same day, she played Hot 97’s Summer Jam for the first time.
Somehow Banks was getting away with this kind of stuff. During early press interviews, she would acknowledge rapping but, on the sly, denounce hip hop by stating she wanted more out of music than one genre. Ironically, she’s been quoted saying, "Rap is my way of [saying] all the things I want to say to people without actually offending them." Yet, some hip hop heads claimed her on mic skills alone.
But there was a glitch in the matrix and before we knew it, her album Broke With Expensive Taste encountered quintessential delays. It was then clear that some of the lyrical content in "212" wasn’t so much directed at her competition, but moreso at herself:
"I heard you ridin' with the same tall, tall tale / Tellin' em you made some / Sayin' you grindin' but you ain't goin' nowhere / Why procrastinate girl? / You got a lot, but you just waste all yours and / They'll forget your name soon / And won't nobody be to blame but yourself, yeah..."
The hiccup wasn’t due to her label politics or her album delay or her calling Perez Hilton a "silly f****t" or using the epithet against Twitter users or a flight attendant. The glitch was and still is her own caustic attitude towards the world fervently rooting for her. Think about it. There aren’t many new artists who have had the world served to them in the way Banks did from the onset of her notoriety.
Azealia’s humanity and contradictory behavior were out to bare during her interview with Ebro back in December 2014. She cried about Black erasure and called T.I. "a shoe-shining coon," but still managed to eloquently (with help from Ebro and Paul Rosenberg) describe her issue with Iggy Azalea being considered a hip hop artist.
This is a girl who’s aware of oppression and the power it has over the people on the receiving end. Azealia Banks isn't a dummy, yet will call someone a "f****t" again and continue to use hate-speech to display her frustration and anger. It’s what people do when they haven’t figured out how to get their way.
Some will continue to forgive, others will hold her accountable, but in the end, her spotlight will depend solely upon the music she does (or doesn’t) put out.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
(Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for NYLON)