Azealia Banks is no stranger to Twitter fights, but her recent online spat with fellow up-and-comer Angel Haze (which comes complete with diss tracks and the use of the term "charcoal-skinned bitch) got especially rough when Perez Hilton was added to the mix. After Hilton publicly joined #TeamAngelHaze, Banks unleashed a tirade dripping with homophobic and misogynistic slurs, followed by some attempts at damage control.
Here's Banks's initial shot at Hilton:
@perezhilton lol what a messy faggot you are.— YUNG RAPUNXEL (@AZEALIABANKS) January 5, 2013
Which she quickly qualified with these explanations:
A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There's a BIG difference.— YUNG RAPUNXEL (@AZEALIABANKS) January 5, 2013
If u listen to my music and are not offended by the word nigga.... We're not gonna go here with this faggot shit... We're just not. Lol— YUNG RAPUNXEL (@AZEALIABANKS) January 5, 2013
So, Banks is arguing that she's attempting to expropriate the word of its hateful weight, but does she have the "right" to claim "faggot" as her own? (After all, her earlier beef with Angel Haze centered on Banks' fury at non-New Yorkers who "claim NY.") As a self-identified bisexual, Banks is arguably a member of the group the word targets (people who have sex with people of the same gender), though it is pretty firmly linked to gay men.
Then there was this:
When I said acts like I female I should've said acts like a cunt.— YUNG RAPUNXEL (@AZEALIABANKS) January 5, 2013
C-word alert! A September Rolling Stone interview, excerpted below, offers some context to the "acts like a female bit." (Isn't everything you learned in that queer theory class in college just flooding back right now?)
I went to art school; I grew up with the cunts. And that term doesn't come from me! People think I invented it, but I didn't. To be cunty is to be feminine and to be, like, aware of yourself. Nobody's fucking with that inner strength and delicateness. The cunts, the gay men, adore that. [...] You need your cunts: they fix your hair for you and do your makeup. They give you confidence and give you life.
As Rich Juzwiak writes on Gawker, we probably shouldn't read any more into Banks' word choice than that. "Let's also take into consideration that in a post-Tyler the Creator world, where you can say 'faggot' and not alienate too too many people as long as it comes with a 'no homophobe' caveat, stirring shit like this behooves the young artist."
And if nothing else, she's sorry. Well, mostly:
My most sincere apologies to anyone who was indirectly offended by my foul language. Not sorry for Perez tho. Lol— YUNG RAPUNXEL (@AZEALIABANKS) January 5, 2013