Azealia Banks. Iggy Azalea. Both well-known names in the music industry today. And both embroiled in a very public, very heated feud.
Because they’re both named after the same kind of flower, the idealist in me happily expected them to form some kind of BFF bond and maybe even do some sort of collaboration, although sadly, the situation has been quite the opposite, and has been this way for about two years now.
The feud first entered public light when Iggy was featured on the cover of XXL Freshman along with rappers like Danny Brown, French Montana, Macklemore, Machine Gun Kelly, Kid Ink, and Hopsin.
Azealia was very adamantly against this, tweeting about how XXL was endorsing Iggy, who had referred to herself in a track called D.R.U.G.S as a “runaway slave-master” (side note: Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino also covered the same beat, in the songs “Look Out for Detox” and “You Know Me”, respectively).
Rapper TI then became involved in the feud, defending Iggy and telling Azealia to mind her own business, This caused a sub-feud between TI and Azealia in late 2012.
This is not the only public feud Azealia has had. In fact, she is well known for speaking her mind about anyone or anything she has been insulted by, instigating various feuds between her and performers such as Kreayshawn, Lil Kim, Baaeur, Diplo, Rita Ora, Asap Rocky, and Pharell.
While Azaelia was busy having feuds with everyone else, things between her and Iggy cooled for a while, until early this month when Azealia, referencing many of the events surrounding police killings in Ferguson and New York, tweeted: "its funny to see people Like Igloo Australia silent when these things happen…Black Culture is cool, but black issues sure aren’t huh?“, and went on to make further jabs at Iggy and even one to T.I. Banks then went on to give an emotional interview with radio station Hot 97, in which she accused Iggy of "smudging black culture”, saying:
“That Macklemore album wasn’t better than the Drake record. That Iggy Azalea shit isn’t better than any fucking black girl that’s rapping today…The Grammys are supposed to be accolades of artistic excellence. Iggy Azalea is not excellent…When they give these Grammys out, all it says to white kids is: oh yeah you’re great, you’re amazing, you can do whatever you put your mind to. And it says to black kids: you don’t have shit. You don’t own shit, not even the shit you created for yourself, and it makes me upset”.
Iggy, usually unresponsive towards Azealia’s beef with her, apparently found this to be the last straw, as she then proceeded to blast Azealia over twitter, calling her “poisonous”, “miserable”, a “bigot” and a “bully” and finally saying: “There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven’t is because of your piss poor attitude”.
Other artists have gotten involved in this feud as well. Will.i.am defended Iggy, thanking her for “contributing and spreading our culture positively” and saying that it upset him that “people are making a big deal about race in hiphop and not ethics”, finally telling Iggy to “do what you love” and “stay #fancy”.
However, on the flip side, rapper Q-Tip seemed to take offence to one of Iggy’s tweets. In direct response to Azealia, Iggy said “Now! rant, Make it racial! make it political! Make it whatever but I guarantee it won’t make you likable & THATS why ur crying on the radio”. Q-Tip disagreed with Iggy, citing the fact that hip-hop/rap is what it is today due to racial and socio-political issues. (You can see all of Q-Tip’s tweetsherehttp://www.buzzfeed.com/claudiakoerner/q-tip-teaches-iggy-azalea-some-hip-hop-history#.khr2ZvlE9, as well as the entire chronology of the Azealia vs Azalea feud here:http://www.buzzfeed.com/tanyachen/azealia-azalea#.ytk0VZwA5)
In a feud that is as drawn-out as this one, there are no winners, losers, or right answers.
To Azealia Banks: You are right to be passionate about how you view your race and culture, but you need to change the way you express yourself. This past year has proven that you are no stranger to feuding with people and speaking your mind, and while you should be commended for your courage to stand up to others as well as your passion to keep integrity in the rap/hip-hop community, you should be doing so in a more positive light. For one thing, using the police killings in Ferguson and New York is, understandably, something you are passionate about, but if you really care about this issue, then you should not use it as leverage in a fight against another rapper. Instead, you should be honouring these men’s lives and respecting their memories as well as their families and what they are dealing with at this moment. Secondly, you are a talented artist and obviously have a lot to say, so why not use your music to advocate for your beliefs? This is surely a more positive way to go about it , and will also have a more effective impact on people who listen to your music, as well as how people perceive you on the whole.
To Iggy Azalea: Recognize that as a white female, you are a minority in the rap/hip-hop industry, and that your presence, along with others, has helped to ensure a more integrated community. However, rapping about how you’re a “runaway slave master” works in the exact opposite way, as it separates you from your community and those in it. And I think it goes without saying that ANY type of oppression should not be glorified (yes there are many other examples of glorified oppression in music but I will not be getting into those right now). Also, as I said before, your presence in the industry is indicative of progress, but progress cannot be achieved without first understanding where you have come from. Failing to recognize the social, political, and cultural roots of the community you have identified yourself with is not appropriate behaviour and merits not belonging to that community at all. You cannot pick and choose certain parts of a community as you see fit. You must better educate yourself in this situation.
To other artists getting involved in this feud: This is not your fight to fight, and should not be anyone’s fight at all. Picking and choosing sides further creates division in what is supposed to be a community, and it is your job as artists to try and uphold this community in a positive way.
With that said, here’s to hoping that these two artists are able to work out their differences.
I am chubby. Always have been, probably always will be. I was born chubby, I grew up chubby. I am chubby. I’ve never lived life skinny, or knowing what it’s like to be skinny. My stomach has never been completely flat, my thighs have never sported a gap between them, my cheeks have never been hollow. Knowing this, I have always asked myself whether I am in fact, capable of being, quote unquote, skinny.
Let’s start with why I would want to slim down. Convenience is a factor. If I lost my larger upper body/hips to waist ratio I could probably find a wider range of shirts that actually fit me properly, as opposed to being way too tight around my chest and 2 sizes too big on the bottom. And health is another reason. Losing weight would lower my risk of diseases such as diabetes, and would probably make me feel a little healthier overall. I could look good and feel good as well. And most of the media is telling me I should lose weight. I face weight loss prompts everywhere I go, from movies to advertisements to every cover on the magazine rack. It’s a pretty socially accepted norm to want to lose weight, I wouldn’t be doing anything out of the ordinary or downright shocking, and as long as I don’t take it to extremes it probably won’t hurt.
With all these things working in favour towards me having a better body, I’ve tried to zero in on the reasons why I don’t, which have been narrowed down to three different ones: food tastes good, exercise is a lot of effort, and that I’m trying to be body positive.
That last reason is one that has been extensively communicated in the media in recent years. The body positive movement is a recent wave of support and encouragement for girls to embrace their more full-figured bodies. Body positive role models are women such as Christina Hendricks, Jennifer Lawrence, Mindy Kaling, Beyonce and Adele.
Modern body positive advocates also look to Old Hollywood for further fuel to add to the body positive movement. Marilyn Monroe is a favourite actress of reference, hailed for being a size 8-10 throughout her career.
While the body positive movement has done a great deal to empower women who may not be classically “skinny”, is it possible that this movement has gone too far?
This past year, Meghan Trainor released her song “All About That Bass”. While it has been commended for promoting a body positive message, it has also come under scrutiny for “skinny-shaming”. Some of the lyrics read:
“Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
All the right junk in all the right places”
“I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches"
While the body positive movement should be applauded for making girls who aren’t necessarily "skinny” feel good about their body, in these kinds of cases, it has almost gone a step further, and turned the tables. Instead of “fat-shaming”, we are now experiencing a wave of “skinny-shaming”. And when was the last time that fighting fire with fire when dealing with these sorts of issues was a good idea?
The body positive movement is a movement that should be accessible to every body. When actresses like Kate Winslet (in an interview with Vogue) make comments like “Honestly, among my acquaintances there is no woman wearing XS. No, sorry, there is one: my daughter. The point is that Mia is 11 years old”, she is empowering one group of people at the expense of another. This is not the point and should not be the point of the body positive movement. There will always be some women whose bodies are naturally inclined to be thinner, just as there will be women (like me) whose bodies will hold on to more weight. There is nothing wrong with either of these body types, and there is no reason for one to be promoted and the other to be put down. The only things that should be promoted in the body positive movement are: eating right, exercising, and at the end of the day, embracing your body for what it is. The only thing you can really control about your body (by natural means) is taking care of it and appreciating it. Everything else is really up to your genetics, which is outside of your control.
There is no use trying to fix something that you have no control over, and furthermore, does not need to be fixed. The body positive movement does not need more shaming and exclusion for people to feel better about their bodies. You will feel better about your body once you take care of it. And by taking care of and loving your body, you can, in turn, promote respect for every body.
With that said, I will now stuff my face with naan and the leftovers of some sort of fried vegetable concoction that I had for dinner last night. And I will enjoy every bite of it.
In case you are just seeing this now, last night I wrote a blog post called “What Study Drugs Tell Us About Society”. The response was nothing like what I imagined.
There were many strong reactions both for and against my opinions expressed in the post, including two extremely eloquent, well-articulated responses countering much of what I expressed in my post (http://get–lit.tumblr.com/post/104545845400/but-your-gpa-matters and http://get–lit.tumblr.com/post/104545933215/on-study-drugs … please give them a read! if you found anything I had to say intriguing/fascinating/agreeable/infuriating/offensive or all of the above, then I am sure you will enjoy reading these two responses. Both bring up excellent points). The authors of these posts and I have discussed and reached understandings as to the contents of all these three posts, and because of this I feel I owe readers a bit of an explanation:
I appreciate that there is effort being made to generate multiple viewpoints surrounding the topic of study drugs. Obviously yes, some of my points are quite idealistic and not practical for the real world at this point in time- this post was more of a way of expressing my own personal opinions surrounding the topic. Impractical? Probably-but it is still a medium of expression and had I not posted it, it could not have elicited other people’s consideration, which was necessary for providing a counterargument to my views. I, like many other students, am concerned about my GPA and the effects that it will have in the long term, and I agree with many counterarguments that people have brought to my attention, as they have all been presented in an extremely logical, mature. and clear fashion.
This was simply a piece of personal opinion- I have friends that have used and will continue to use study drugs and that is not to say that I think what they are doing is wrong for them. It is more along the lines of why, at this point in time, I choose not to use them and what I think something as simple as this study aid tells us about academic competition as a whole. Obviously having never used them I am not an expert on the topic and it was not my intention to come off that way. Having said that I just wanted to say that I openly thank those who oppose my opinion for expressing themselves and giving people a chance to look at the other side of the issue.
My purpose of writing last night’s post, and by extension, all past/future posts, is not to convince people that there is a right or wrong answer to these kinds of contentious issues. If you agree with parts and/or all of what I have to say, then that’s great, but it is equally as important, if not more, that people disagree with what I have to say and explain why. This allows them, as well as everyone who comes across these discussions in the future, to think critically about this issue from multiple perspectives. Obviously there is no clear right or wrong answer to this topic, which is why it is imperative that a discussion should take place. Too often, people choose sides of a debate without fully forming an opinion on the topic at hand so it is great that people have been responding from all different points of view, and thereby allowing other readers to have access to all sides of the story. Again, my purpose for writing this post was not to convince people that study drugs are bad and everyone should stop taking them this instant. My purpose was to get people to think critically about the issue and the fact that the responses have been so well-thought and multifaceted leads me to believe I have succeeded in this purpose.
On a final note, if you do plan on reading any posts I happen to write in the near future, know this: I am not the type of girl who will write weekly blog posts about healthy eating, DIYs, or the life of my cat (mostly because I don’t have one). There is nothing wrong with these types of blogs, and they exist for a reason. However that is not my reason for writing about these types of topics. I will at times (as demonstrated) openly invite controversy, as I believe that it allows everyone involved to grow.
I still stand by what I wrote, but I have also had the privilege of being treated to multiple points of view that I had not considered prior to writing the post. I value everyone’s opinion as much as my own, and the nice thing about opinions is that they can always change. And on that note, I openly invite anyone who has anything to say about this topic as well as future topics to try and change mine.