Azealia Banks is a Very Important Weird Black Girl

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Excuse me for the delayed post, but with finals and the holidays overlapping I needed a minute to lay on my floor and pretend to be dead.

Now that I’ve rested, I need to briefly explain why Azealia Banks is so important.
  1. She’s a female MC that writes her own raps.
  2. She put out Broke With Expensive Taste by her damn self.
  3. She’s a very weird black girl.

I could make more points, but they can all be summed up within these three.

If you haven’t checked her music out yet, which I forgive you for – you’re welcome, here’s a few places to start:

Then just throw yourself into Broke With Expensive Taste. Listen to the album in order, in its entirety – ya heathen.

Come back here when you’ve finished.

You good?

Aite.

Back to my list.

1. She’s a female MC that writes her own raps.

And sings her own verses. In spanish.

I know she’s not the first MC to rhapsodize in Spanish, but while most of your favs were rhyming “nada” with “enchilada”, Azealia gave a full manifesto in “Gimme A Chance”.

Why does this matter?

Well, beyond the fact that music, despite its commodification, is an art form that seeks and respects originality, authenticity, and agency, it’s also pretty damn impressive to listen to a 23 year old clap as loud as peers a decade(s) older.

Neoliberalism has given just about anyone with a smartphone and a laptop the chance to be a part of music commodity and celebrity, so it’s more than refreshing to see a Millennial using technology to contribute to music, represent a culture, and be recognized and accredited for her own creations.

In other words, this is pretty damn important.

2. She put out Broke With Expensive Taste by her damn self.

Azealia has been struggling with Interscope for a long minute now. You can’t really blame them. There isn’t a mainstream current for someone like her. Instead of caving into the more marketable, universally appealing box I’m sure they begged her to go into, Azealia got out of the contract and gave the album the-go herself.

It looks like she’s done with major labels for now, a decision that I furiously cosign. What do a bunch of old white men know about weird black girls?

Why does this matter?

It’s more than just her own personal freedom. This decision could significantly help other young marginalized artists in the industry who refuse to contort themselves to fit prescribed models of representation.

I hear people complain about the current state of music and how they fear for its future, more Millennial bashing, etc etc. If what Azealia has done is the current state of music, then I have all the hope in the world for the future of music.

In other words, this is pretty damn important.

3. She’s a very Weird Black Girl.

Weird black girls aren’t just black girls who happen to be weird. No, WBG’s are black girls who rock all the odd aesthetics and tastes they like while always seeking identification and solidarity with other black women. Basically, they’re very weird and just as black.

Much like the music industry has a hard time fitting Azealia into the few boxes available for black woman representation, society has a hard time fitting weird black girls into their default boxes for black womanhood. Weird black girls are black, woman, black woman, and still defy the stereotypical behavior and look prescribed to black female bodies.

They’re strong and still sensitive. They laugh and still cry. They support and still struggle. They’re outgoing and still introverted. They are contradictory beings.

I read contradictory as multidimensional. Weird black girls are as natural as honey itself.

Why does this matter?

There aren’t many WBG in the mainstream (out rightly), which is why most gather together on Tumblr under specific tags. Azealia might be swimming against the current, but mainstream consumers are being introduced to her nonetheless.

Azealia, Harlem-raised, musical theatre student at LaGuardia High School, rapper, singer, 54″ yaki, septum piercing, seapunk, queer, black, serious, satirical, loud, reflective, lover, fighter, is a very weird black girl.

And she’s openly speaking up about black genocide by police enforcement, when, sadly, so many of our faves are completely silent.

And she’s openly speaking up about black appropriation by white female artists, when, sadly, so many of our faves are supporting it – and I read silence as acceptance.

In other words, this is pretty damn important.

My only hope is that Azealia can achieve the notoriety and monetary means she deserves without sacrificing herself or her music.

This is,

MAB

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