It truly is ironic that the MOST VOCAL opponent of Skin-Bleaching on earth (Kola Boof), author of the literal bible against bleaching “THE SEXY PART OF THE BIBLE”…. has a skin-bleaching daughter (Azealia Banks). I AGREE.
AND YES FOLKS….in the 5 years that I’ve been friends with Azealia Banks, I did tell her repeatedly not to bleach her skin. But Azealia is grown. I have two wonderful sons, but I always wanted a daughter. At age 47, I’ve muscled my
way into Azealia’s life and appointed myself her Play Mother. She lovingly lets me do it. We really do get a kick out of each other. But for me it’s more. I dreamt of Azealia many, many years ago before she even came on the scene.
I was fantasizing in 2002…what if I had a daughter…and I pictured almost to a “T” Azealia Banks. So now knowing Azealia I feel as if I really have the cool, beautiful, ultra-talented African daughter I always wanted. She’s even fiery like me!
Only thing is…she bleaches her skin!
So let’s pretend for a moment that Azealia is my “real” daughter. What could I do in this situation? Disown her? No. I feel like she’s my daughter. I have to stand by her…even though she’s doing something completely OPPOSITE of
what I would do, she is family to me.
I love Azealia Banks because I know who she is as a person. If you guys actually knew the real Azealia and not the controversial media-constructed public “sound bite” image….you would adore her, too! She’s a very complicated person who needs lots of attention. She is friendly, hilarious and empathetic. Her mean side only surfaces when she feels unaccepted or slighted. Most of you don’t have the courage to lash out when you feel unaccepted or slighted, so you resent her for having the balls to react with such vitriolic honesty. I, however, greatly admire it. It doesn’t surprise me that literally hundreds of people (many of them Azealia’s fans) send me emails complaining that I don’t stop her from bleaching. I’m NOT happy she bleaches. I just told her so on the telephone a few days ago. But if I tried to forbid Azealia from bleaching she would cuss me out. She is just like me. Identical to me when she’s passionate and determined about something. We’re not the type of women who take advice.
I’m a convicted murderer. I’ve been mistress to two of the most feared men that ever walked this earth…Osama Bin Laden and his mentor Hasan al-Turabi. Never once has Azealia said, “Kola, I can’t be your friend. You’re a murderess who fucks terrorists!”
Azealia is wildly adventurous just like I was in my 20’s. She wants to be loved and celebrated and noticed. SHE IS TRULY A GENIUS who deserves it. Yet she has been totally dehumanized, underrated (and even oppressed) by the music industry she deserves to rule. Nikki Minaj, Beyonce, Rihanna…every music critic who matters agrees that they’re not AS talented as Azealia Banks regardless what the status quo radio-machine says. Azealia’s talent is monumental and her intellect is wide. Azealia is a product of this nation’s authentic urban underbelly. She is real. More than that….Azealia’s HEART is deep and perilous with the kind of longing lovelorn ache that comes from being invisible, from being deprived and traumatized mentally and emotionally as well as physically. She just wants to be accepted but her pride won’t let her beg. Whatever she has to do to kick the doors in….she will do it.
It’s not that Azealia thinks she’s unattractive. No. She knows that she is beautiful. But Azealia’s beauty is the smart type of beauty…it’s the Barbara Stanwyck kind of beauty. Azealia wants to be the Bombshell. She wants to get that bombshell reaction and all the perks that come with being a bombshell type beauty. To her mind, it’s not about disliking or rejecting dark skin. It’s about marketing and imaging; it’s about using technology to be a virtual barbie doll just because she can. And when the deck is stacked against you, why not pull out all the stops? The way Azealia probably sees it…she’s alone anyway. The Black community and the Black press has always shunned her for being ‘eclectic’ instead of ghetto; outspoken instead of chickenheaded. Azealia made a way out of no way virtually by herself. She didn’t have powerful men backing her the way that I did. What Azealia had were legions of non-creative people running an industry that depends on creativity and telling her that because they didn’t understand her…she didn’t exist. Azealia had to make it past those fools and charlatans to stake her own claim. Critically acclaimed albums like “Broke With Expensive Taste,” “Fantasea Mix Tape” and her newest classic, “SLAY-Z” have cemented her as a grass roots Icon, the undisputed Queen of Rap
for purists and legit G’s who actually know the rap and hip hop canon. No other female in the game has enough ass to get on stage with Azealia Banks. That’s real. But in the new age Looksism-driven corporate music business…dark skinned Black women have not been allowed to dominate the way they used to no matter how much talent, genius and charisma they have. The bar is stuck on color in ways it hasn’t been since the 1950’s. Bessie Smith sang about this every fifth track in the 1920’s and now it’s back again.
But these modern Black girls were raised on blond-headed black women and Mixed America’s beauty ideals. What I call “imitation black women” (Beyonce, Mariah, Kardashian, Rihanna) are presented as actual black women while the authentic girls (Fantasia, Ledisi, Brandy) are deliberately kept on the bottom of the barrel by both the record industry suits and the colorist tastes of the black community. It’s gotten so bad that many young Black girls just don’t believe the barrier can be cracked. The black community is becoming mixed race and literally every female chosen to excel (*allowed* to excel) is biracial. You look at Zendaya being given magazine covers simply for putting a braid in her hair. Then look at the dark authentic black women who started BLACK LIVES MATTER and get almost no praise or attention from the black press. None of this is lost on the young lionesses like Azealia who are trying to break through and leave their mark on the world. So it’s hard for her to think it matters when I say that she’s already beautiful and that she can make it without changing her body and looks to compete. It just doesn’t sound possible. It doesn’t sound hip. It doesn’t sound like the future. No one wants a Black African looking baby. And that is what a dark black woman’s image represents, it represents “Blackness Absolute”…the hindered past; the humiliation of the dark skinned people’s history as those western youth with new non-racialized dreams see it. Black people can TALK something different. But their actions, over and over again place
the Lightest above and beyond the brownest. Black is not even allowed unless you’re male.
This new generation of Black girls don’t understand what we’re trying to hold on to as AFRICANS, as Black people…as dark people. They think those of us from the Malcolm X days are “hating” …or worse, obsolete….
These girls want to be LOVED. They want to be accepted….celebrated….and noticed. Even if it means surrendering to the White Gaze and the White Victory.
AZEALIA….as intelligent, worldly and cosmopolitan as she is…is still at her core a little girl. She doesn’t know that she’s surrendering to everything that killed her ancestors YET. She doesn’t see what the big deal is. She doesn’t know why we’re all being so dramatic. She doesn’t see her blackness being lightened as herself being consumed and neutralized and silenced. She’s really just young, wild and a free spirit. And a part of me wants her to BE THAT…because if there was no color-based hierarchy in this world…it would mean freedom. And who doesn’t want the people they love to be completely free?
As an artist, I believe in Azealia. I nicknamed her “Z-GOD”, because I feel the industry has not given her the PROPS she deserves. Very few people in Hip Hop can do what Azealia Banks does as a WRITER/Producer, as a SINGER…as a RAPPER. And that’s just on the surface. The girl is deep! She’s really a powerhouse. But just like me, she is opinionated and she loves a good fight. She thrives on disturbing and provoking people to action and thought….just like Kola Boof. It has caused her to be blacklisted just as I have been blacklisted. It has caused her to be regarded as a Pariah and an Outcast in her own community just as I’ve been rendered the same. We are the type of women who create a real change in societies because of our fearless convictions and our desire to liberate. We are the type of women that people…even other women…want to silence because they can’t comprehend what all the fire and passion is about. In fact, our behavior is seen as aggressive and masculine by those who don’t look too closely. And that’s literally everybody.
I pray that Azealia and I don’t become a living remake of “MILDRED PIERCE”….because I really see something special and GOOD inside Azealia. I don’t want anything FROM Azealia. My greatest desire is to see Azealia get the recognition and success she deserves. She has made her mistakes. She has apologized for her mistakes. She has owned up to her mistakes. She is not a coward in any way. She is extremely genuine and self-sufficient. She is powerful.
I am PROUD of Azealia and I love her. Even though she’s a skin-bleacher. Never in a million years did I think I would be making such a shocking statement. As people have pointed out, I am the woman who attacked Dencia, the maker of Whitenlicious and I am the one who wrote “THE SEXY PART OF THE BIBLE”, a novel that strongly analyzes, dramatizes and condemns the practice of skin-bleaching. I never expected that my ‘chosen child’ would be someone who bleaches their skin. But then again, I never thought I would end up married to a White man either.
You plan your future…and life steps in.
I will never support skin bleaching. I don’t want that for Africa or for Black children period. But I also feel that Azealia Banks is my family and she NEEDS ME to be in her corner, to love her unconditionally….and that I have to stand by her no matter what. I really feel like she’s my rebellious daughter. I feel like everything’s going to be alright. It’s like…I’m over it.