Iggy Azalea, And Why We Need To Stop "Stupid-Shaming" Dumb People

Nick Young and Iggy Azalea (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Nick Young and Iggy Azalea (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

A wise man once told me "You can teach stupid. But dumb is a talent." Ok, I lied. It wasn't actually a wise man. It was a guy selling DJ Clue mixtapes and lighter fluid outside of my old barbershop in 2002. And he didn't actually say that. At least not to me. It was just "If you buy three, I can throw in some ketchup packets. Heinz ketchup too. Not that off-brand Hunt's shit." But still, I can't help but think of that advice as I witness what happening to Iggy Azalea in Pittsburgh right now.


In summary, the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, a prominent LGBTQ organization, invited her to perform at their annual Pittsburgh Pride event this coming weekend. As you can imagine, the news of this went over about as well as an elephant fart in a cubicle farm. Especially since the Delta Foundation apparently doesn't have the most inclusive relationship with LGBTQ people of color. And, when it got out that Delta was going to pay her $300,000 (Yes. That's three hundred thousand American dollars. Not three hundred thousand Cheetos or hugs from Sidney Crosby or ounces of turkey gravy.) shit hit the fan. And continued hitting the fan until yesterday, when Azalea dropped out — news that came a couple weeks after the news that she was canceling her multi-city tour.

Now, Azalea makes historically shitty music, says consistently shitty things, seems to be a genuinely shitty person, and acts like a caricature of a caricature of a caricature of a shitty Southern rapper, so you're not going to find much sympathy for her summer of fail. On a scale of 0 to 100, her public approval rating at this point must be "reheated lettuce." But let's step back for a moment and consider something.

Most agree that Azalea is either…

1. Doing a very convincing job of convincing us she's not very bright


2. A legitimately dumb motherfucker.

For the sake of conversation, let's just agree that she's legitimately dumb. Not mentally impaired, but just not the brightest bulb in the room. Maybe even the dim refrigerator bulb you haven't replaced since the first season of Veep.

Now, we live in a time where it's no longer socially acceptable to make fun of people's looks or bodies (because that's bullying or body shaming) or refer to someone's sexual activity in a negative manner (because that's slut shaming). And these are positive developments! We shouldn't make fun of people for things they can't control! And we shouldn't talk shit about people for their decisions about who they wish to sleep with!

But what about the dummies? What about the people who just will never be smart, and will never be able to wrap their minds around complex concepts like "cultural appropriation" and "RSVP before June 12th?" Who stands and marches for them? If it's true that most of our brain capacity is innate, it's also true that much of our intelligence is completely out of our control. But it's still somehow socially acceptable to stupid-shame dumb motherfuckers. And we have no problem doing it; calling Iggy Azalea or Kim Kardashian or J.R. Smith or Young Thug or Rob Gronkowski or (gasp) Beyonce "vapid" or "airheaded" or "dumb as the fuck" or "always looking like an angel is tickling his eyelids."


But making fun of unsmart people for doing or saying unsmart shit — basically, for being themselves — is just not right.

It's just not right.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Courtney Wheeler

This weekend I had to calmly explain to my white friend why Iggy Azalea is a pop-star and NOT a rapper. Her point was who cares if she doesn't write her own rhymes she's still a rapper. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Except the time I took my weave out by myself.