Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | 1,051 day ago

That Azealia Banks Vs Iggy Azalea Spat Is About So Much More Than Twitter

The Debrief: One of the few positives of this story is that it's got more people aware of the death of Eric Garner...

When it comes to the recent Twitter spat between Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks, we’re not going to put it down to a simple One vs The Other fight. There’s a hell of a lot going on in the feud but here’s a brief rundown of what happened, and the positives we can take from it.

1. Eric Garner, a black man, was killed by a police officer in New York in July. He’d just broken up a fight, and when the police were called to it, they suspected him of selling untaxed goods and decided to arrest him. He verbally resisted and was then restrained and pushed to the floor.

2. A video was recorded of the incident by Eric’s friend, Ramsey Orta, and despite this evidence existing, and the choke hold seemingly employed (something which the NYPD has banned since 1993), a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo. You can watch the video below but be warned, it’s totally harrowing.

3. If you can’t bear to watch the video, these are Eric Garner’s last words: ‘Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today…I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me along. Please. Please, don’t touh me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’

4. Who was indicted after Eric Garner’s death, which was ruled a homicide in August? Ramsey Orta, the guy who filmed the whole thing. The news that the officer here won't be arrested comes just a week after another grand jury in Missouri decided that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot dead unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson earlier this year, would not be indicted.

5. Anyway, you might be wondering what all this has got to do with a couple of rappers? Well, Azealia Banks quite rightfully got angry about the grand jury’s refusal to indict Pantaleo. And she decided to get angry about it on Twitter, explaining how America is thoroughly fucked up for the effective state sanctioning of the killing of unarmed black civilians:

OKAY, what do i do to help this, to stop this???

— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) December 3, 2014

The Media reminds me EVERYDAY that i am black, and the media reminds everyday that things happen BECAUSE i am black.

— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) December 3, 2014

6. She also recommended a book called The Mis-Education Of The Negro to her followers, and explained a brief overview of how it’s important that people of colour interact with one another to understand their entwined history.

7. How does Iggy Azalea come into all of this? Well, Azealia Banks seems to accuse Iggy of borrowing from black culture but never wanting to be there for black people’s struggle.

its funny to see people Like Igloo Australia silent when these things happen... Black Culture is cool, but black issues sure aren't huh?

— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) December 4, 2014

If you're down to ride with us bitch you gotta RIDE ALL THE WAY

— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) December 4, 2014

Don't just be down to ride Black Dick..... If you with us you WITH US!!!!

— AZEALIA ⚓️ BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) December 4, 2014

8. As you can see, Azealia went literally below the belt. We get that there are problems with white people being positioned further ahead in rap than their black counterparts, but there really is room in our heart for Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks. Plus, we figure pop stars are more a symptom of a shit culture rather than the cause of it, and it’s about time the cause got disrupted. There’s so much to talk about here that’s not about in-fighting with pop stars.

That said, it’s always interesting to see which artists stay silent about certain issues at a time when everyone else on Twitter is talking about them. Issues like this:

 

9. But Iggy Azalea’s measured response seemed to sum up exactly why she shouldn’t feel obliged to tweet about certain things:

Theres more to sparking a change than trolling on social media. World issues shouldnt be used as a poor excuse to promote fan battles.

— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) December 4, 2014

Make sure you do something to let YOUR government know how you feel when something is unjust., not JUST your followers on twitter...

— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) December 4, 2014

Make sure you do something to let YOUR government know how you feel when something is unjust., not JUST your followers on twitter...

— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) December 4, 2014

She then linked to this article on Bustle saying: ‘HERE ARE SOME ACTUAL PRODUCTIVE WAYS YOU CAN HELP’

She then closed up her argument:

The world is too hung up on what is or isnt said on twitter. theres an actual world out there and multiple ways you can promote change.

— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) December 4, 2014

10. Meanwhile? Azealia Banks tweeted at Iggy asking why she likes to copy black women so much, then had a go at gay men appropriating black female culture, but this totally valid point soon descended into an argument with Perez Hilton. He's hardly our hero, but by defending the fact she called him a 'faggot', by using the word 'faggot' against him, it left us pretty disappointed with her.

To conclude, it's a shame that so many places will make this out to be an Iggy vs Azealia thing, but it’s important to note that both have interesting points underneath the hate – and if this story gets people involved in activism or at the very least a bit more aware of how terrible the Eric Garner case is, then at least there are some tiny small positives from this spat.

Meanwhile, that activism? In New York, thousands of people have been protesting in the streets, chanting Eric’s last words: ‘We Can’t Breathe’.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Only In America, Going viral, Iggy Azalea, Race, Twitter