Azealia Banks has found success in the music industry by being herself--a black woman who is happy in her own skin. Note to black rappers everywhere.

Azealia Banks is about to be a major mainstream star. It is partially due to her amazing talent and partially because she is very smart and has marketing savvy.

She knows her target audience.

You can say what you want about Azealia Banks—some like to call her potty-mouthed and a brat who can’t shut up. But really she is a smart, confident and opinionated young woman. She is smart enough to know her audience and appeal to the people who are most likely to support her music with an actual purchase: black women and white males. Her songs come off as her basically making a stand and saying she’s an independent black woman who doesn't care what anyone thinks about her (OR her weave).

And unlike other black female rappers, she also doesn’t have a problem blatantly rapping about white boys in her music (see the song Liquorice). And they love it.

Surprisingly she has even been capturing the white girl market. Not a day goes by on Twitter when you don’t see a young white girl stating how much she loves and wants to get it on with Ms. Banks.

I find it outstandingly ironic that Azealia Banks is capturing the white kid audience by being herself (a beautiful dark-skinned black woman) while many black male rappers have been trying for so long to capture this same market by either trying to be white (ala one blond and pink wig wearing "barbie" from the "hood"), praising whites in their music (white girl this and that) or exclusively appealing to white ideals. 

This 21 year old black girl went in guns a blazing and fearlessly grabbed that white audience along with the very lucrative, little appreciated black woman audience without much effort in just a couple of years.

Also take the new white rapper Iggy Azalea. The rapper T.I. invested a whole lot of energy into making this girl a hit, but I am willing to bet he’s starting to realize that she doesn’t really have a BUYING audience—just a little popularity for the "novelty." Black women and white men are a large segment of the music-buying populace and I don’t see either throwing down dollars to see a white girl who is clearly trying to be “down.”

Regardless of any personal opinions I might have of some of Ms. Banks’ lyrics and referring to herself as a “witch” (just can’t co-sign that type of stuff) I must applaud her fearlessness and refusal to come into the music industry trying to “fit in” as something she is not. Congratulations on having success by just being and celebrating who you are.

Submitted by Sammi Jace

Links to this post

Black people sure love to talk and politick, but when it’s time to take affirmative action it’s mostly just *crickets*.

I saw the uproar coursing through the black community at the recent GwynethPaltrow situation. To summarize, she used the N-word and a bunch of black rappers/rap profiteers including Nas, The Dream and Russell Simmons came running to her assistance, slapping black people in the face. Jay Z, Beyonce and Kanye West were quiet as church mice.

The complaints from black folk were nothing I haven’t already said time and time again on this blog…

They’re sell outs!

They’re hurting the black community!

They’re trying to please white people over their own people!

I also heard “Someone should start a petition about this!” more than a few times.

I decided to answer that last call. I went ahead and put a petition up (took all of five minutes). It was titled “Jay Z Nas Rappers et al Don’t Speak for the Black Community.” I posted it on my Twitter timeline and a few of the sites where people are commenting on the issue. Then I came back about 8 hours later….

Still not one signature besides mine.

Then I thought about it — we have countless high profile actors, actresses, gurus, “conscious” rappers, authors, magazine editors, scientists, doctors, news pundits and such in the black community. Why can’t they be the ones to get a movement started? They not only have the fan base to get things going, they also have the money and resources to sustain it!

But they choose to sit silent. Do nothing. They just want to comment about stuff from time to time on Twitter. Big deal! 

Then they and the politicking crew will probably go and bump Jay Z and Kanye’s song “Niggas in Paris” in their cars on the way home.

I started a petition against Pepsi and its little racist Superbowl commercial over a year ago. Do you know the petition STILL hasn’t reached its initial goal of just 1,000 signatures? And to be honest I think the only reason it was as successful as it was (getting hundreds of signatures in a few weeks) was because white feminists got a hold of the story. Yet you heard countless black women complaining about the commercial throughout the internet. Countless news stories on the issue. I’m certain there were more than 1,000 black women interested in that issue, or am I wrong?

I don’t make any money off of this site, barely enough to cover hosting fees. I do this from the strength, because I really do care about black people. But I have to wonder sometimes if putting out this information is really making any difference.

So I decided to delete the petition. I’m going to for once sit back and let someone else make "it" happen. I’ll be waiting and 100% willing. When ya’ll are ready to do something instead of just talking about it, you just let me know. I’ll get behind it not only with talk on this blog but actual action.


Links to this post

When you're silent as someone else is being bullied, you might as well join the bully's team.

I watched a PBS TV special on Netflix entitled "This Emotional Life." In part two they told the story of a teenaged boy who hung himself in his room because of the bullying he was experiencing at school.

The school administrators and his peers did nothing.

One comment that stood out to me was one from the boy’s mother on how the people around him, including teachers and other students in class, didn’t say anything about the fact that he was being blatantly bullied right in everyone’s face. Instead they stayed quiet, even if they disagreed with it. That silence over time made it so that this teenager’s experience with bullying became almost like the norm — folks just accepted it as if it were normal. Meanwhile the boy was dying a quiet death inside, eventually surrendering to the idea that this was life and this was just how it would be.

This story made me think of the black community. Silence on important matters in the black community, including bullying, is just as dangerous. When you have young women being constantly teased for having dark skin, entertainers gratuitously calling black women hos, and kids being bullied just because they're “different” people start to accept this behavior as the norm.

Sherri Shepherd Bullied On Twitter
Sherri Shepherd recently had an experience with Internet bullying, where her life was threatened by a few internet thugs on Twitter. These thugs and others like them have mostly gotten away with bullying others online by joining what they call “Twitter Teams.”

Though I might not like Ms. Shepherd in general for some of her opinions and actions, I fully support her decision to bite back at these online thugs. Once she took a stand, along with a number of other people who joined her in support, the bullies started to backtrack. The news is spreading like wildfire and it's only a matter of time before someone puts the bullies on full blast. Now their lives could be permanently altered due to one ignorant threatening comment made on Twitter. Unfortunately, they’ll have to learn the hard way.

But what about all of the young people out there who are being bullied every day but who don’t have money and rich friends to stand up for them?

Speak Up Man
When I was young I witnessed one of my friends being bullied by two large girls, and without thinking I came to her defense. I saved her from the situation, but soon learned that I was now also a target for getting beat up! We refused to fight the girls because I wasn’t raised to fight unless someone hits you first, but lo and behold, soon after that we all became friends.

Bullies are really just cowards. When they get a taste of their own medicine they cower in fear. They’re angry, feel unloved, don't have much parental guidance and think that by making others feel just as badly as they do it will make them feel better.

It is up to each one of us to stand up to these cowardly bullies, whether it’s online, in school, in the workplace or in society in general, and put them in their place. I'm not saying that people should attack the bullies, but at the very least support the victim!

Make it clear that this behavior and treatment is NOT the norm. Silence is complicity — when you keep your mouth shut and don’t show support to the bullied, fearful of what the bully might say to you, you might as well just join the bully’s “team.”

Links to this post

 An article about black women and natural hair in The New York Times gives me pause, not excitement or validation.

It’s no secret that when many others look at black women it is usually to figure out what they can get out of us.

That includes businesses, like beauty supply stores owned by Asian shop keepers. It also includes news media people who will probably try to get interviews with black women who have chosen to go natural now and get all up in our heads. If you’ve seen the recent articles in The New York Times and The Washington Post about black women, their weight and marital status, it’s clear that many non-blacks look at us like we’re spectacles at the zoo.

Unfortunately, some black men also look at black women as cash registers who are obligated to support them instead of looking at us as living, thinking, feeling human beings.

The spending power of the African American community is expected to balloon to $1.1 trillion by 2015. Roughly 80 percent of that is made up of hard-working women. Picture all of these various enterprising parties circling around that pot of money like vultures.

This Is How It Starts
A New York Times article recently put the spotlight on black women who choose to wear their hair natural. I could be wrong, but I have the feeling that this is only the first of what will probably be a number of mainstream news articles on the subject matter.

My reaction to this article was not excitement that the natural hair movement is becoming more newsworthy — my reaction was caution and a little bit of a side-eye.

The Mainstream Spoils Things
For a long time now, natural hair has been buzzing on the black blogosphere. When the mainstream media starts to pick up these stories you can bet that some enterprising “someone” out there has a light bulb appear over his head and is rubbing his hands together trying to figure out how he can capitalize on the trend.

And unfortunately, that enterprising “someone” is usually an individual or group who doesn’t really care about black women — our needs, our goals, ideas and motivations. People who only look at us as money bags tend to listen to how the media portrays us, but know little to nothing about the true essence of black women.

So I just wanted to give a heads up to all my natural sisters to watch out for those enterprising folks who are surely going to start working on a new product, website, movement or other method of trying to make money off of the “Naturalista” movement, so to speak. The P.T.B. don’t want us too free or too independent in our thinking.

Black women, keep your eyes open and your cash in your community, preferably with other sisters like yourself. PEACE.

Links to this post