IS AZEALIA BANKS THE NEXT ROSA PARKS?

Is Azealia Banks the next Rosa Parks?
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IS AZEALIA BANKS THE NEXT ROSA PARKS?



Written by Dan Haze
19 Thursday 19th October 2017

Azealia Banks is not without her flaws. She has committed career suicide several times now, whether it's supporting Trump or using racial slurs against Zayn Malik, the outspoken rapper is exactly that, outspoken. But what is seen as her biggest downfall by the public and probably by her label is also her strongest asset.

Of course I’m in no way excusing Banks’ comments but why is the focus always on her spats with people?

Last October Banks spoke out against Russell Crowe after he (I’m foregoing the usual use of reportedly or allegedly here) racially abused her and spat in her face in a hotel room. There were no repercussions for Crowe. Allegedly there were no CCTV cameras in a hotel hallway outside an expensive suite. Curious that this is more believable than a white, alcoholic ego maniac having a racially charged outburst against a woman…

There was a minor scandal and then back to work, for Crowe that is, as obviously Banks’ career has been stained. Even more than male rappers, as a woman in a male dominated genre Banks’ has a strong, independent image to uphold. Coming forward as a victim is the antithesis of this image, note how Rihanna has never really addressed domestic violence. She has no reason to lie, so why don’t people believe her?

 

Fast forward to now and RZA has admitted on a recent appearance on New York hip-hop radio station Power 105’s popular morning show The Breakfast Club, that Crowe did indeed spit in Banks’ face. Why do Banks’ statements need to be substantiated by a man for them to be believed?

Black women are more likely than other racial/gender groups to go unnoticed or unheard.  Because of this, the media fears black women speaking out and making themselves visible, whenever they do, they are portrayed as the aggressorsBanks has always been at the forefront of social commentary for her entire career. She rightfully called out Igloo Australia (Iggy Azalea) for cultural appropriation before it became a buzzword, she’s commented on sexism in the gay community and has also been vocal on her position as a female rapper.

 

The toxic “angry black woman” rhetoric that makes people doubt women of colour has bled into every corner of society, with another example being found in women's football.  Mark Sampson, the former manager of the England women’s football team, made racially discriminatory comments to players Eni Aluko and Drew Spence.

65 years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, and in doing so, provided the spark that set off the Civil Rights movement. In a world of Weinsteins, Crowes and Sampsons we should be championing all women who speak out and nurture a culture of acceptance rather than blame. Although some of the waves that Banks’ creates can be choppy we can’t move forward without them.


Note: when researching photos for this article, we found that Banks is often depicted looking angry/unflattering compared to red carpet shots of Crowe.

 

 

Further reading: Sesko, A. K., & Biernat, M. (2010). Prototypes of race and gender: The invisibility of Black women. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 356-360.

 

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