Azealia Banks has a habit of making headlines for offending people. She's railed against everyone from Beyoncé to Sarah Palin. Most recently, she went on a racist and homophobic tirade against Zayn Malik that got her booted from a music festival and blocked from Twitter — while insulting South Asian women. She called Malik a "hairy curry scented bitch" and a "faggot" in a series of awful tweets. She has also lobbed similar homophobic slurs at fans and a flight attendant.
Today on Facebook, Banks announced that she will no longer use the word faggot. "Ok, I'm never saying the word F****T ever again," she wrote in the lengthy post. "The amount of people that get hurt when I use the word vs. the amount of people I've said it to are just not worth it. Honestly...this isn't a cop out, its just me realizing that words hurt." She acknowledged that she has thick skin and that others may not. This misses the point completely, because people upset by the term shouldn't be labeled weak — and shouldn't have to develop "thick skin" to battle casual homophobia.
"By using those words, I paint a picture of myself that isn't the true me," she went on. "I paint the picture of my upbringings, my neighborhood, my pain, and my misfortunes...I paint the picture of someone who is used to suppressing things, and being defensive. I paint the picture of someone who cannot allow themselves to be vulnerable or at the very least, [h]appy....When I am ALL of those things." Again, Banks doesn't get it. The problem with a word like "faggot" isn't that it paints a poor picture of the person using it. The problem is that it is offensive and hurtful language. We're glad to see Banks excise a derogatory term from her vocab, but it's clear that the underlying prejudice is still there. (And what about the dozens of other slurs in her arsenal, by the way?) Talk about empty apologies.