Love the Skin You’re In
Azealia Banks is a controversial figure in the worlds of hip hop and social media.
Even after she was banned from Twitter in May for a slew of racist comments against Zayn Malik of One Direction fame, Banks has continued to make incendiary but also thought-provoking comments about race.
Lately, however, the conversation has turned back on her, after a noticeable change in her appearance that led fans to wonder whether she has been bleaching her skin for a lighter skin tone. When she recorded a video on Facebook addressing the rumors, she defended her cosmetic choices, but fans weren’t happy with what she had to say.
Does her argument seem a little pale?
Azealia and Race
Banks has long been a critic of cultural appropriation, but her race-card isn’t clean either. Just a few months ago, she disappointed and insulted fans around the world when she went off on Zayn Malik via Twitter. Sadly, her tweets quickly turned to racist vitriol as she insulted the former One Direction singer about his Middle Eastern heritage.
Her account was deleted shortly thereafter.
In cultures around the world, skin bleaching is a fairly common practice. It typically is done using chemical substances that reduce melanin levels in the skin, though sometimes this can lead to blemishes or even toxic results.
While some people use it to hide moles or birthmarks, other people with darker skin can utilize whitening to give themselves a paler skin tone. In some cultures, looking tan or dark is still considered a symbol of the lower class, so skin whitening aspires toward a higher class look.
Critics of the process argue that, fundamentally, it represents an inherent social acceptance that whiteness is preferred over brownness or blackness, an idea engrained into the social consciousness by the dominance of light-skinned peoples in the West.