When I initially heard about Azealia Banks/Russel Crowe controversy on Facebook, the thought that popped in my head was What the fuck did she do now?
According to TMZ, actor Russel Crowe was forced to remove the 25-year-old rapper from his private party after she threatened physical violence. But Banks’s tweet told a whole account of that night when she stated that the actor choked her, called a her a n****r, and spat on her as he threw her out of the hotel room. She has since deleted the status, but it sparked a plethora of online discussions about what transpired that night.
Black folks were somewhat polarized about the alleged attack on Banks. There were folks argued that Banks was lying and, due to her offensive language against members of the LGBTIQA community and dark Black women, she was undeserving of sympathy. But then I and other commentators felt the complete opposite. As I much as I don’t care for Banks, I truly believe that she was victim of violence and White superiority in this case. Not only that, but that her mental illness and past transgressions are being used against her.
I’ve come to that conclusion while reading the witnesses’ account. They claimed the trouble was initiated when Banks laughed at Crowe’s music selection and called him an “old White man.” When a female guest told her to settle down, Banks allegedly responded “You would love it if I broke my glass, stabbed you guys in the throat, and blood would squirt everywhere,” before reaching for glass and drawing it back. Though Crowe supposedly remained calm, it was her violent gesture that prompted him to throw her out of his party.
Now, Banks is notorious for launching verbal assaults at dark-skinned femmes and fellow artists via Twitter. But she had yet to go beyond this form of abuse because, believe it or not, Banks is aware of her limitations as a Black woman. I can’t even imagine her getting irate to the point of shanking someone in the neck…at an all White gathering. So, to me, the witness’s assessment of Banks was out of character and unrealistic.
So is her lying on a random White celebrity. In the past, Banks often expressed frustration, infuriation, and even oppressive slurs describing disenfranchised groups on her social media account. She promoted lightening her skin and her ideologies regarding shadeism. But not once had the artist fabricated entire experiences to portray herself as a victim of violence. She had never fixed her fingers to accuse anyone of harming her unless an altercation actually occurred. And if she were lying, why would she file a police report on Crowe—risking what little social capital she has left? Falsifying a case against Crowe will be a detriment to Banks because of her past behavior.
Meanwhile, Crowe’s history of inflicting physical violence at random was rarely mentioned in regards to this latest controversy. Though him attacking Banks for knocking on his Muzak playlist wouldn’t surprise me, I’m bothered by the fact that his false sense of entitlement encouraged him to dehumanize this young Black woman. He used his White privilege and superiority to encourage his other guests to weave an outlandish tale about this “mentally unstable” woman threatening to stab him, knowing that the press would believe him. In Crowe’s mind, no one will question (or challenge) the story because his skin color allows him to avoid personal responsibility and accountability. And due to Banks’ past behavior and mental illness, it was basically her word against his.
And unfortunately, the actor was right.
Those not taking the time to analyze the situation quickly dismissed Banks’ accusation, forgetting that the White-dominated media employed the “Crazy Black woman” stereotype to discredit her. Online commentators (mostly Black folks) used her history of mental and emotional instability to determine that she must’ve done something to provoke the attack. I’m not surprised, though, because whenever Black women are assaulted, our behavior is the reason behind the provocation. In the case of Banks, it was RZA (who invited Banks to the party) who claimed that she was acting out, which is why she was tossed from the party.
Long story short, Azealia Banks’s past behavior and mental illness is being used against her. Crowe put his hands on her and everyone at the party knows he did. But due to her past actions and political ideologies, no one (RZA included) isn’t even attempting to come forward and tell the truth.
Granted, I’m not a Banks fan. Until she was banned from Twitter, she continuously went after people for little to know reason with no desire to hold herself accountable. But she doesn’t deserve to be attacked, called a n****r, choked, and spat on. What happened to her isn’t about “karma” coming back at her tenfold. What happened is that a violent, racist, ego-maniacal White man using his privilege and social status to dehumanize a Black woman for “not knowing her place.”
Let’s be real.