In the past year, Iggy Azalea has been taken to the shed with allegations of being a caricature, denying white privilege being integral in her success, and not caring about the culture that is Hip-Hop. What really is validating these claims is not who is saying them, but how Azalea responds to them.
Responding to Azealia Banks’ interview on Hot 97 this past December after Iggy was nominated for a Grammy. Banks said, “…That Iggy Azalea shit isn't better than any fucking black girl that's rapping today. When they give those awards out...Because the Grammy awards are supposed to accolades for artistic excellence. Iggy Azalea is not excellent."
Azalea took offense, as she seems to do with every critique about her, and replied on twitter:
“Special msg for banks: There are many black artists succeeding in all genres. The reason you haven't is because of your piss poor attitude.”
“Your inability to be responsible for your own mistakes, bullying others, the inability to be humble or have self control. It's YOU!”
Azalea’s tweets echo out the Republican party platform towards minorities. The general, “Look around! There are many blacks doing well…(throws in look at Barack Obama.) Stop blaming the system and pick up your boot straps and work hard!” Which is noble as everyone should work hard that is not a debate. What gets glossed over is how that same system benefits a certain type of person. As a blonde, white woman Iggy benefits from that system and she either is oblivious to it (I doubt that) or does not give a damn, which is why she is always under attack.
Iggy is not the first white rapper to profit off black culture. Eminem is the most successful and more recently Macklemore has benefited as well. What they both have done however is admit that they sell more because they are white. No one is telling them to say they are not talented and cannot rap but admit that yes they are more successful because they are white. What makes Iggy a egregious offender is not just how stubbornly she denies what she benefits from, but the package of her image.
When she does an interview, Azalea speaks in her natural Australian voice. However once you hear her on track, you would think that this girl just came out the south side of Atlanta. I personally would not be as offended by that if Azalea had not interviewed with Complex Magazine. Where she was asked, “Have you ever rapped with your Australian accent?” She replied, “Never, it feels weird to me…” (Sips Tea)
I named this article what I did in reference to the movie, Malibu’s Most Wanted. In that movie Jamie Kennedy plays B-Rad who is a wealthy, Jewish, white male living in Malibu. B-Rad however loves rap music and dresses, walks and talks how the stereotypical rapper does. This drives his father who is running for governor crazy as he hires two actors to take B-rad to the hood and “scare the white back into him.” What happens at the end is nothing, as the person B-Rad is looked at by others is really who he is at heart.
I really tried to think that maybe this is all one real version of that movie. But it isn’t. I was actually hoping it would be because then I could just laugh a lot of what I see off but I can’t. Iggy Azalea continues to play the victim and to the people that buy her records they are going to believe she is the victim because they look just like Iggy…in the face at least. What Iggy represents is not hip hop, it is pop that is vainly disguised. What it represents is the continuing taking from one culture to profit. What I do not want anyone to take from this is that I hate on Iggy Azalea. When Nicki Minaj is being over sexualized and uses Malcom X pictures for promo use…we hold her accountable. When Rick Ross portrays a drug dealer and never raps about the pitfalls of that life, promotes drug infused rape and it surfaces he was a correctional officer…we hold him accountable.
Iggy Azalea, the backlash you are receiving is not the hip hop community hating on you, we are holding you accountable. If you want to be a rapper that is great, be the best you can be. But all we ask of you is some self-awareness. We know you have the neo-coon Clifford Harris backing up your image and possibly your lyrics. That does not excuse or validate the problem you are contributing to. When Eve and Jill Scott say be Iggy Azalea they are not talking about rapping about Kangaroos, crocodiles and Foster beer. It is a call to be conscious of your persona and material, not your money or your record sales.
-Written by Jarvis G (@JarvisG_)