Chances are, if you’ve been on the internet over the past few days, you would have seen some sort of headline about Azealia Banks and yet another Twitter beef. However, this time around, instead of being with a fellow artist, it seems she has taken on the entire country of Australia.
Pretty much this is how it went down. Radio presenter tweets Banks an inflammatory tweet, Banks responds in an similarly inflammatory way. Everyone piles on, Banks hits back again, pile on some more, back and forth, back and forth.
Now, forgive me if I’m wrong here but to me this is not just Banks randomly targeting someone. This is Banks responding to a sarcastic tweet making fun of an act that was indeed “violent” AND “belligerent”. She had bottles pelted at her TWICE in 2013, and consequently ended both performances immediately. It wasn’t funny then, and it still isn’t funny now. Instead of the general public piling on the dickheads that threw the bottles in the first place, we began to brandish her as a petulant brat. However, I think we can forgive her for a) walking off stage then and b) not taking too kindly to people making fun of that situation.
Admittedly, Azealia could choose her words a little better and she could steer clear of sweeping generalisations (#notallAustraliansthrowbottles) but in all honesty, I think this latest “outburst” comes from someone who is just plain fed up. She is fed up with having to defend herself, and then defend herself because she defended herself. She has become more famous for her tweets than her music for reasons I cannot understand. What do we expect her to do? Sit there and take this bullshit and smile and look pretty? No! If she did, she wouldn’t be Azealia Banks. Azealia has always been 100% herself, and that is something I have admired her for since she uttered those fateful words, “I guess that cunt gettin’ eatin’.” It has gotten to the point where people, like this radio presenter did on Monday, deliberately humiliate and offend her, but then jump up and down that she reacted, and proceed to make fun of that reaction. Did you expect her to just not respond? Do you go around saying inflammatory things to people’s faces and expect them to remain silent?
Yes, she could have chosen her words better, but when have any of us been thinking rationally when we are fucking pissed off? Who can honestly say they wouldn’t be as mad about that if they were in her shoes? I understand the argument that she is an artist, and has a responsibility when it comes to her fans. But where is our responsibility as fans, or even just as people? Why is it okay to be just so plain mean to someone, and think it’s okay just because she’s famous? And when did it become expected for people to censor their thoughts? Isn’t that the whole point of Twitter in the first place? “Oh no, Azealia, don’t voice your well-deserved anger on your social media account so people can hear your disdain. Don’t do that! People will see that you’re a human!”
It really is a shame that Banks has become infamous for her Twitter account, and not famous because of her music – but the blame does not lie with her. The blame lies with us, the media and the people who antagonise her daily, trying to find an excuse to tear her down to our level. She released one of the best albums of the year last year, but all people can remember is that fight that she had with Iggy Azalea. Even the artist blurb for her recent appearance Splendour In The Grass discussed her Twitter account instead of her success as an artist, yet people are “shocked” she was offended by that? Where would we be without artists voice their opinions, and creating discussion? Why is it okay for an artist like Talib Kweli to voice similar personal insights online, but because he is a little more refined, we don’t mind? Since when did artists have to be refined anyway?
As someone who has constantly been brought down due to being loud and outspoken, and absolutely refusing to take shit from people, I relate so much to this. We need to stop trying to silence voices because they make us uncomfortable. I want to reiterate that I do agree that perhaps, just perhaps, Banks could choose her words a little better – but the core of her message rings true. Stop giving her shit. Treat her like a person, and treat her with respect. She deserves that much, and she gets so little. There is a culture in mainstream society that those on the pedestals are “lucky” to be there, and we are so quick to knock them off, especially if they’re a woman. At the end of the day Azealia Banks has worked hard to be where she is, and is one talented lady. She is a human, and deserves to be treated as such – with some fucking respect.