Iggy Azalea’s racist remarks

Iggy Azalea performs at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 1, 2014. (DePaulia File)
Iggy Azalea performs at Lollapalooza in Grant Park Aug. 1, 2014. (DePaulia File)

For the upcoming 2015 Grammy Awards, hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea has been nominated four times. However, Azalea is far from worthy of joining the ranks of Beyoncé and Adele.

Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly in New South Wales, Azalea has recently soared to success on the wings of hits such as “Fancy” and “Problem”— if you ever listen to the radio, you’ve probably found them unavoidable. Yet, she’s clearly utilized more than her less-than-amazing talents to make her claim to fame.

Amy Zimmerman of The Daily Beast argued that Azalea’s whiteness has heightened her success to absurd extremes. Calling her “rap’s best drag queen,” Zimmerman commented that unlike other white rappers, such as Eminem or Macklemore, who use their own sound in their music, Azalea is “mimicking the vocal patterns and phrases of a black girl,” using her white skin to appeal to a larger audience.

Keeping in mind that Elvis Presley — known for imitating and building off black sound — became a musical legend, Azalea might be on to something.

Unlike Presley, however, the Aussie doesn’t even seem to be imitating black sound well. Both Time magazine and Rolling Stone gave her less-than-stellar reviews on her most recent album, “A New Classic.” Time commented that Azalea’s album “didn’t live up to her own hype”; Rolling Stone said, “If this is the future, it’s one strange place.”

Her concerts haven’t been worthy of their ticket prices, either. Philip Cosores of Consequence of Sound mentioned her dancers fell into some “painful stereotypes” such as “dancing with shopping bags” and “stripper poles.”

Piet Levy of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed a concert performed for students at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and said, “nothing about her expressionless, pep-rally choreography… implied any real fierceness or passion.” And even with such a lackluster performance, the concert lasted for 52 minutes.

Not only does Azalea mimic black music and poorly, she appears to be ignoring and mocking the black community altogether.

Azalea never bothered to comment on the pressing issues in Ferguson. Rapper Azealia Banks commented on the radio that Iggy had never mentioned these issues, and Azalea responded on Twitter: “Make it racial! Make it political! Make it whatever but I guarantee it won’t make you likable.” 

For someone taking advantage of black culture and sound and making millions of dollars for it, she doesn’t seem to care much about them.

Worse yet, she’s put several racist stories and observations on twitter, and in one of her songs, “D.R.U.G.S.,” she blatantly refers to herself as a “runaway slave master.”

The question shouldn’t be whether Azalea is racist, whether she’s taking advantage of black culture, how many Grammys she’s going to win or if she deserves them. The real question is: Why on earth is she famous at all?

Some time, in the last few decades, we’ve invited the likes of Azalea — with inadequate talent, disappointing performances and horrifying morals — into our popular music scene, the face of this time period for generations to come.

It’s crucial that we look beyond the catchy tunes and brightly colored album covers, so we can see these artists and what they stand for more deeply. We need to reconsider who deserves fame.