I'm Pam Newman.
I am awesome every day & you are too.
Follow my butt on Twitter!
I'm a writer of aricles, poems & songs. Here's some cool stuff I wrote.
(GIF by dreamingbiggerdarling)
“Somebody That I Used to Love”
Azealia Banks is not your savior. This is not a defense of Azealia or a critique of her skills. Rather, it is an admission of frustration, fallibility, and weakness. Azealia is not your savior just as she is not my savior, not really, not anymore. In the past, I felt as though defending Azealia was defending myself. What I saw in her was something that I often felt denied: the ability to speak my mind, as openly and freely as possible.
Azealia represented (in many ways, still represents) something deep that speaks to me as a black woman. I immediately distrusted anyone that disliked her because of her innate drive to defend herself. I had been there: shut down and shut up. I never was and never will be as outspoken and brash as she is. But I’ve felt what it feels like to have your back against the wall, to feel like it is you against the world, and it is a feeling that inspires fight or flight. Azealia always chooses the former.
When Azealia is right, she is so right. She gets sexism or racism or colorism (or even the intersectional of all three) in way that can only come from first-hand experience. Her boldness came at the right time. As a former passionate fan, her ability to tell her story became an inspiration in my apathy toward misogynistic work environments or exclusionary feminist circles. “Liquorice” still feels like the perfect anecdote to a society that only wants its women (and especially its black women) to look and act a certain way. And because she is nearly five years younger than me, I found her messages to be even more critical and necessary in the public sphere.
But when she is wrong, she is wrong in a way that abandons even her most ardent fans. Her homophobia (despite identifying herself as bisexual), her reckless and pointless beefs … all this does is distract us from what she should be doing: releasing new and interesting music. I don’t agree with her actions, but a part of me recognizes some of them.
Last year when writing about Azealia, I wrote: “There is a heaviness born out of youth. The desire to prove oneself is tremendous, overwhelming even. I’ve got a lot to say! Don’t deny me this moment!” And Azealia has demonstrated this behavior throughout her time in the public eye. I began reading through past journals from high school and college and realized that I had so much to say, almost too much. The thoughts and ideas and frustrations ran through my mind constantly. I did not feel at ease until they were out somewhere, if only in my brown leather diary. But Azealia is a public figure and being in the public requires different things. For one, an understanding that people are actually listening.
The pressure is practically insurmountable. Most artists hope to build their careers. Azealia debuted with “212,” an instant-classic. Her antics at times seem like a way to hide her fears and insecurities. Her need to constantly defend herself, even when she is not being attacked or is clearly being baited by a “lesser” human (such as Perez Hilton), alienates media and audiences, instead turning her into a sort figure for cultural commentary rather than music criticism. But the pressure is not enough of an excuse. Not now, not anymore. At some point, one must take ownership of their words. And although she owns what she says, she has rarely apologized or understood why they are wrong. At this point, I don’t know if there’s any going back to the love she had from so many from before. Eventually, we move on as music fans. This is a fickle community. There is always someone fresher and brighter.
Azealia released her latest single, “Yung Rapunxel,” on Monday, but it was quickly overshadowed by both the new Justin Timberlake album stream and her confusing feud with Rita Ora. I would rather be writing about that song than writing about this, but is there to say? At this point, the music no longer overshadows everything else and it is the everything else that has ruined her appeal for so many.
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