“Role” models, the issues with today’s music icons

Written by Jacqueline B. Sweezy, Staff Writer

Iggy Azalea has made a name for herself in the music world by topping the charts with her catchy song “Fancy.” She has gained notoriety by being a white, female rapper in a music industry dominated by African-American men. Hip-hop is a music culture that was created by young African Americans and has roots in African oral tradition. Its purpose was to give voice to a group that was largely misrepresented in the media. Iggy is a white rapper capitalizing off of a Black art form while unaware of her racist comments.

Iggy Azalea has a massive following on Twitter with 2.4 million followers alone, becoming a major public figure. In fact, her catchy tunes are being played on the radio extensively. This large fan base, or even just tuned-in listeners, allow her messages to spread. While the public may not necessarily hold Iggy’s same values, they are listening and subconsciously taking in the prejudice that spews from the young artist’s mouth. This leads to the perpetuation of stereotypes and almost allows the continuation of prejudice in the media.

Iggy Azalea is not a stranger to controversy. Her music, tweets, and music videos have sparked anger and debate over how insensitive to culture she actually is. Critics, including the widely played Nicki Minaj, have called Iggy out on her inappropriate comments and statements. These same critics highlight and speak of the damage that Iggy is causing. For example, Iggy Azalea’s music video, “Bounce,” is placed in India. She completely disregards Indian culture and traditions. Instead she emphasizes the party scene and uses cheap gimmicks that are sacrilegious.

Although the video is horrible, there is also the problem of her unapologetic, racist and homophobic comments on twitter. Comments, include:

“Owwww studio. Me chief. You Indian. I speak… You listen.” -@IGGYAZALEA

“This Asian lady on the plane tried to act like she didn’t understand me I told her ass…u gone know English today cause that’s my seat!” -@IGGYAZALEA

The problem with Iggy Azalea isn’t the fact that she is a white woman. The problem is that she can be explicitly racist. She doesn’t see her own white privilege. White privilege can be defined as a societal advantages based on skin color. Iggy Azalea has gotten to where she is, gained notoriety, and has become successful because she is blonde and white in an otherwise African American, male-dominated genre. She is a novelty, causing distress in the same community that allows her music to prosper.

As a society, we need to think critically about what we are listening to and whom we are following. We also need to question what these media icons represent. We need to be aware of the impact our icons can cause. Furthermore, we need to think about what prejudices are being perpetuated by the artists we adore


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