“Sigh…so what happened this time?” you might be wondering, weary from news about Azalea’s career in general. Here’s the quick rundown.
Azalea was scheduled to perform during Pittsburgh’s LGBT Pride event, happening this Saturday (June 13). But some tweets Azalea made between 2010 to 2012 have haunted her throughout her career, and this upcoming event was no exception.
Many people were against Azalea’s upcoming performance for this reason, and Azalea was even criticized by Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus, Pittsburgh’s first openly gay elected city official.
There’s some background that needs to be laid out, because if anything, Azalea is being treated as a physical representation of already-existing problems in the Pittsburgh LGBT Pride organization. As 90.5 WESA reports, several groups left the fold of Pittsburgh LGBT Pride after it was announced last month that Azalea had signed on to perform. These groups came together to form an alternate event to LGBT Pride that aimed to be more inclusive to all people on the sexual and gender spectrum as well as LGBTIQ people of color, Roots Pride Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the Delta Foundation has fielded tons of complaints from groups who didn’t take kindly to Azalea, someone with known non-inclusive tweets, being hired to perform for an LGBTIQ audience. Another problem the Delta Foundation has been wrestling with is accusations of only catering to “affluent, white gay men.”
This isn’t a problem only inherent to the Delta Foundation; the Human Rights Campaign was recently found to be an organization that goes against its very principles of inclusiveness, thanks to a report commissioned by the organization last fall. It was described by staff members as a “white men’s club,” which doesn’t sound far off from accusations against the Delta Foundation. (For the record, HRC released a statement about changes they plan to make to increase diversity. Make of it what you will.)
Roots Pride Pittsburgh put pressure on LGBT Pride to cancel Azalea’s performance, and after sustained momentum, Azalea did cancel her scheduled performance. She tweeted this message:
A message to Pittsburgh pic.twitter.com/Jm6ZyX0Xyc
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) June 9, 2015
Meanwhile, Roots Pride Pittsburgh put out this statement, which reads in part:
“Iggy Azalea did not pull out because she had an epiphany that rendered her capable of empathy in a culture where the exploitation and devaluation of black lives, labor and culture is the norm and where queer and trans people are the punchline of our culture’s jokes. Iggy canceled because of a sustained outcry by Roots Pride Pittsburgh and our allies. This is the power of people who refuse to be silenced. This is the power of people with the courage to tell the emperor that he has no clothes.”
The statement, which can be read in full on GetEqual.org, also states that Roots Pride Pittsburgh hopes that this cancellation “may be the beginning of some self-examination on Ms. Azalea’s behalf[.]”
So, while Azalea (or the Delta Foundation) don’t come out of this winning, someone still ends up with the better end of the deal: Nick Jonas. Jonas, who has been in the midst of a successful re-jiggering of his career and image into that of a gay icon, gave a statement detailing how he wanted to give Pittsburgh the concert they wanted after Azalea’s was canceled. To quote him (via E! News):
When I heard about the difficult position Pittsburgh Pride was in just days before their event, I knew I had to find a way to help. I’m very excited to do what I can to support the LGBT community in Pittsburgh, and I look forward to seeing you this Saturday as we celebrate together.
Interestingly enough, Jonas and Tinashe also bowed out of Azalea’s now-canceled The Great Escape Tour. Now, Jonas is replacing her in the pride parade. Jonas’ intentions could be very pure, but him replacing her, coupled with him leaving the tour, smells suspiciously (or deliciously, if you’re like that) of shade.
As you might have read in my last piece about Azalea, Azalea’s brand of “rap” is the most ingratiating form of the genre, since it’s created by a white woman who pulls on and takes off her “blaccent” like its’ a piece of clothing. In short, she appropriates to an insane degree, yet never realizes that what she’s doing isn’t “honoring” the culture. Also, with a canceled tour under her belt and any burnt bridges, it would seem that Azalea’s career was much more of a flash in the pan than people realized.