Wednesday, January 7, 2015

understanding rap

Recently, the rapper Azealia Banks was interviewed on Hot 97, a radio station in New York City, and a video of the interview has been posted on youtube and has almost 2 million views. Which, comrades, is a lot of views. It's a great interview, and in it Azealia talks emotionally about the cultural appropriation of rap and of black culture in general. Listening to that interview led me then to a series of tweets from the rapper Q-Tip, sent to Iggy Azalea (a female Australian rapper), whom Azealia Banks heavily criticizes in the aforementioned interview. Iggy Azalea has, unfortunately, shown herself to be quite racist. If the history of rap is a mystery to you, I recommend reading the series of tweets, which is basically a brief explanation of what rap music is, and I recommend listening to the interview.

But not just if you're curious about rap do I recommend the interview. Actually, the interview has very little to do with rap. It has to do with what it means to be a white person, and what it means to be a black person, in the United States. In the last third of the interview, Azealia talks about why she doesn't like the movie "Twelve Years a Slave." And I felt like finally someone articulated something that's been nagging at me for a while now, with movies about black people and African Americans in the United States.

It's a damn good interview. Watch it. Listen to it. And then tell me what you think. (P.S. The interview has a lot of so-called dirty language. If that sort of thing triggers you or bothers you, don't watch the interview.)

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