Dear Forbes: This Is Why Iggy Azalea Doesn’t “Run” Hip-Hop

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The Internet is currently on fire following a piece on Forbes that was initially titled “Hip Hop Is Run By A White, Blonde, Australian Woman” but was changed after the backlash forced Forbes to realize what an absurd claim they were making. The new title is “Hip Hop’s Unlikely New Star: A White, Blonde, Australian Woman.”

I’m annoyed for multiple reasons. Let’s discuss them, shall we?

First off, I wouldn’t go to an Iggy Azalea concert if it were happening on my front porch. While I understand (somewhat confusedly) that she does have something of a fan base, anyone who has any love for hip-hop is currently decrying the notion that this woman “runs” hip-hop. Or anything at all, really. But that’s why the article title was changed, right? Because it (as the update reads) “did not accurately reflect the content of the piece.” Nor does it affect, um, reality. So yeah, good choice, Forbes. But you’re not off the hook.

Let’s get into the article. Here is the author’s reasoning for what he calls Iggy Azalea’s “notable” “rise to prominence”:

Making a name for yourself as a woman and hip hop is laudable enough, forget the fact that she is a white, blonde, Australian woman. In a genre dominated almost exclusively by African American men she sticks out like a statuesque thumb.”

Yes, making a name for yourself in hip-hop as a woman is laudable. But lauding Iggy Azalea here is ludicrous. The author seems not to understand the fact that it is precisely because Iggy Azalea is white and blonde that she has “made a name for herself” in hip-hop. White privilege has successfully floated her to the top of a genre where black women have fought for decades to be represented: her presence (and success) in hip-hop isn’t a shining beacon for feminism, but for the power of whiteness and what it can accomplish.

The author goes on to say:

“While this is all happening very quickly for her in America, she has actually been honing her craft for a decade now, first rapping at the age of 14. In the ten years since, she has seen and been through all the trials and tribulations of the industry.”

Really? All the trials and tribulations of the industry? All of them? Black female rappers encounter a unique struggle in their journey to success in an industry bent on attacking (and exploiting) black female sexuality, not to mention the complex dichotomy of battling male rappers on their misogynist lyrics while also being pressured to support the genre of hip-hop as a whole. The experience of black women in hip-hop is nearly analogous to life outside of hip-hop: black women being asked to choose between supporting black men in the struggle against racism and supporting their own struggle against misogyny (and misogynoir.) Has Iggy Azalea had to make these choices? No. Rather, she is flippant about the subject of race, spitting this lyric in her song D.R.U.G.S:

 

“Tire marks, tire marks, finish line with the fire marks

When it really starts I’m a runaway slave…master

Shitting on the past gotta spit it like a pastor”

 

“Shitting on the past,” huh? Bye Iggy.

In the end, the idea that Iggy Azalea’s fame is “unlikely” is equally absurd. Of course it’s likely. A woman who represents every patriarchal and white supremacist ideal of beauty—tall, slim, undoubtedly white-featured, blonde—finding success in an industry that champions these qualities is entirely unsurprising, especially in a genre that is, as the author says, dominated almost exclusively by African-American men.” Iggy Azalea is not a success story I wish to celebrate. To me, she isn’t a success story at all: she is a novelty, a tiresome example of white female privilege and the delight white culture finds in white people appropriating any and everything.

Lastly, I would ask Hugh McIntyre if he has heard of FM Supreme. Awkwafina. Dominique Young Unique. Rapsody. Jean Grae. 3d Na’Tee. Women of color in hip-hop who are making a name for themselves against all odds. They run hip-hop. Next time you’re feeling all gushy about women in hip-hop…maybe write about them.

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149 thoughts on “Dear Forbes: This Is Why Iggy Azalea Doesn’t “Run” Hip-Hop

  1. the beattiful ldy so beatiful i have gone blind

  2. boo032596 says:

    Reblogged this on 21st Century Girls and commented:
    Priase whatever lord there is… humanity still exisits. :/

  3. hissmonster says:

    Basically what this says to me is…”you’re old” I’ve never heard of her. But, then again, I was never a big hip-hop fan. I dabble in all genres with a song or two, but I am not a huge fan.

    Yes she is really white, but I’m guessing she is really a mousy brown hair color by nature and has gone “blonde” to meet a certain fashion criteria. As for fighting racism and sexism that is a global problem and is huge in all aspects of the music industry. She stands out because she is different, but I rather hear queen latiffa sing…because, I’m old. Lol.

  4. Reblogged this on Hip-Hop Conservative and commented:
    Awesome take on this absurd Forbes article.

  5. Awesome take on this absurd Forbes article.

  6. estninja4life says:

    RACIST

  7. estninja4life says:

    FORBES SHOULD BE ASHAMED

  8. Jewel says:

    Your post is awesome for so many reasons but mainly because it makes me laugh and is written well–not to mention you’re dead on point. You rock. New follower? Check.

  9. Povonte says:

    Great piece of writing! I really enjoyed it

  10. This was a very interesting post. I actually thought she was interesting so I listened to her music, but its nothing new. I applaud this post.

  11. We love this- let’s talk Jean Grae.

  12. K GO GO says:

    This is what I’m saying, definitely give your creds! Its also worth noting that the owner of Forbes are white, in history, they’ve always taken everything that’s Black especially music to use for themselves. No wonder she getting a lot of blacklash. Love the sense of humour while questioning the vanity of Western civilisation. To me its deliberate…these guys are not stupid.

  13. qfrazier says:

    Love this story. I cant say anything more; you’ve said it all. Very on point!
    Great Job!

  14. bcstout says:

    Great read! Thanks for calling attention to the African American female rappers that haven’t gotten their due. Here today, gone by Labor Day for Iggy, I predict.

  15. yanethr19 says:

    This is perfectly written. It sad because she is getting so much attention and getting a huge fan base for all
    the wrong reasons. I have nothing against her at all but again she is becoming famous for all the wrong reasons.
    You have artist like K Michelle who are real and have real talent but are put through so much in the industry.
    For example K Michelle is an R&B artist who has been through it all and that has made her a strong person and
    a person that doesnt deal with any b.s; But because of that she gets labled “Ratchet”. Now iggy acts “Ratchet”
    and hasnt been through half of what she has been through but she gets praised for it. its sad. #VoteForRealMusic

  16. […] titled “Hip Hop Is Run By A White, Blonde, Australian Woman” . That sparked many blogs like DEAR FORBES: THIS IS WHY IGGY AZALEA DOESN’T “RUN” HIP-HOP, and more conspiracy-minded articles like The Conspiracy to Whitewash Hip-Hop. But I’m not […]

  17. To ME, it sounds like you have some deep seeded issues
    with white people. There have been PLENTY of black rappers,
    both female and male, and this white girl makes a name for
    herself and she’s the problem. Ok, she hasn’t experienced things
    like a lot of black people have which she uses in her lyrics,
    BUT to me that doesn’t make her bad. I happen to like her, yes, I like her, and none of us should judge someone we don’t
    even know just because she is some beautiful girl from
    Australia, that is just ridiculous! There are more important
    things in the world than to worry about some white girl rapping!

  18. […] titled “Hip Hop Is Run By A White, Blonde, Australian Woman” . That sparked many blogs like DEAR FORBES: THIS IS WHY IGGY AZALEA DOESN’T “RUN” HIP-HOP, and more conspiracy-minded articles like The Conspiracy to Whitewash Hip-Hop. But I’m not […]

  19. […] funny that the only big alternative to Nicki Minaj is Iggy Azalea, but then she gets criticized for being White, and supposedly faking a Black accent when she raps? That’s a problem, but Nicki showing her […]

  20. […] titled “Hip Hop Is Run By A White, Blonde, Australian Woman” . That sparked many blogs like DEAR FORBES: THIS IS WHY IGGY AZALEA DOESN’T “RUN” HIP-HOP, and more conspiracy-minded articles like The Conspiracy to Whitewash […]

  21. “Lastly, I would ask Hugh McIntyre if he has heard of FM Supreme. Awkwafina. Dominique Young Unique. Rapsody. Jean Grae. 3d Na’Tee. Women of color in hip-hop who are making a name for themselves against all odds. They run hip-hop. Next time you’re feeling all gushy about women in hip-hop…maybe write about them.”
    I can definitely agree with this statement right here.

  22. […] “Lastly, I would ask Hugh McIntyre if he has heard of FM Supreme. Awkwafina. Dominique Young Unique. Rapsody. Jean Grae. 3d Na’Tee. Women of color in hip-hop who are making a name for themselves against all odds. They run hip-hop. Next time you’re feeling all gushy about women in hip-hop…maybe write about them.” – Olivia A. Cole […]

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