Two years ago Azealia Banks had a point about gay media and its portrayal of her as homophobic in light of her use of the word “f—got.” Though I did not agree with her, she was right in noting that some celebrities—i.e., the white ones who either are a part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community or consider themselves allies—were given de facto passes to use it, while she was categorized as hateful. Although I defended her then from those charges, at this point there is no denying what the Harlem-bred emcee has made all too clear: She very much has a problem with gay men.
In a recent tweet she claimed, “Gay media has to stop using homophobia as a means to try and victimize itself and scar the names of its opponents.” And in an exchange with Vice writer Mitchell Sunderland (which she initiated, by the way), Banks not only berated Sunderland for being far less well off than she but further insulted him because she had an “extra hole” and he did not.
Banks went on to argue that gay men have no claims to their culture because it’s all derived from femininity and women. I’ve heard this argument before; it sounds stupider each time. Yes, a very long time ago, men who went on to become drag queens and those who started ball culture might have pulled initial inspiration from the women who clearly influenced them; however, these were marginalized folks who pulled from the dominant culture and subsequently created and developed their own thing.
When Banks samples Dorian Corey’s commentary in the iconic documentary Paris Is Burning on her mixtapes, among other influences from gay black culture in other aspects of her art, she should be very much clear that she didn’t build that. After all, if gay black culture is a direct bite from black women, why not go to them instead of the queens?
This is like saying that black colloquialisms are not black because they stem from the English. Actually, before Banks started crying about black culture being appropriated by white people for greater fortune on Hot 97, she made this point in a since-deleted tweet last year: “Like black American culture is ESSENTIALLY some adapted version of British culture, Because American culture is bastardized English culture.”
I think it’s cute that someone has since lent her the syllabus for an intro-level African-American-history course, which is why her tweets have become noticeably more black since then, but she is not as thoughtful as she thinks she is or as some have pegged her to be.
To wit, a recent Instagram post in which she defends her use of “f—got” and asks, “Why is it okay….. For a gay man to colloquially use the word ‘Bitch’ to refer to women, but is it not okay for me to colloquially use the word ‘[f—got]’ to refer to myself or an opponent? Do gay men get a special pass to say misogynistic things simply because they Like [d—k]? The argument is that countless gay kids hear the word ‘[f—got]’ before they are beat to death… But do you know how many women hear the word ‘Bitch’ before their husbands beat them to death? Before they are murdered/raped…. ?”
Like some women who share a similar viewpoint, Banks refers to herself as a bitch, although not with the gendered, sexist connotation typically associated with the word. It is on a par with the use of “n—ga” as opposed to “n—ger.” One may not agree with such attempts to “reclaim” a slur, but there is no denying that for those who do, the context is different. That has yet to happen with “f—got.” And if we’re talking about misogyny, Banks has routinely insulted men—gay and straight alike—by calling them f—gots and using femininity as a pejorative.
That ain’t exactly a “U.N.I.T.Y.” moment.
If Banks were so pro woman and all things feminine, she would not say things like, “A f—got is any male who acts like a female” (in a now-deleted tweet), because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a woman. Now that she seems to have a Kindle and a Goodreads page, perhaps someone will toss her a few suggestions on gender politics after she finishes the Freddie Brooks stage of her life.
Banks can complain about white gay media all she wants, but I am very much black and I am someone who has monetarily supported her. And based on what she says about gay men, I’m with them. She makes constant homophobic comments, and she cannot hide behind cries of sexism in defense. Yes, some gay men are very much misogynistic, and that is a problem. Even so, when you compare men to women in order to insult them, what does that say about you?
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.