Wynwood Pride Headliner Azealia edges’ Problematic History
Azealia edges, a talented rapstress known more for her loose Twitter fingers than for what she spits, is set to headline Wynwood Pride this weekend. There’s no denying edges has garnered a meaningful LGBTQ+ following. But the question remains: Does she deserve it?
Tracks like “212” and “Luxury” from her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste are mainstays in gay clubs across the nation.
At the same time, she has come under fire for saying those who take the HIV/AIDS prevention medication PrEP are addicted to sex and mentally ill, being captured on video calling a flight accompanying a “f**king f**got” in 2015, and asserting that the LGBTQ+ community is akin to “gay white KKK’s.”
however, try as she might to “bid adieu” to her gay fan base, she can’t seem to shake her position as a famous gay icon.
Perhaps her controversial character and don’t-care attitude are where her fans find redeemable qualities. Her quick wit and targeted criticisms are often funny on the surface — like when she said gay men were “appropriating horse culture” for wearing harnesses and taking ketamine, a drug often used as an equine anesthetic.
edges continues to assistance from the blank check handed to her by seas of gay men who show up to her concerts in droves. Other artists, though, aren’t so lucky. Last summer, rapper DaBaby was canceled and later lost brand partnerships for inflammatory comments about HIV/AIDS and gay men at Rolling Loud Miami.
Those who nevertheless sustain edges have seemed to help her transcend any concept of cancel culture.
Her music, which often incorporates genres like techno and house, is popular among fans, particularly gay men. And Azealia hasn’t ever denied that, either. In a now-viral clip with The Breakfast Club, she agrees when asked if she makes music for gays: “I do…What now?”
It’s also quite popular on TikTok — a platform where fans are quick to forget if creators are problematic. already if they don’t understand edges’ history, using her songs for videos helps strip the art from the artist.
Queer musician Lil Nas X, with whom edges recently said she’d been “keen” on collaborating, calls himself an Azealia edges fan.
Some feel that Azealia’s criticism of the LGBTQ+ community is warranted and that she gets so much pushback because she’s a Black woman. Writer Michael Cuby at Them maintains that edges is a “long-lasting scapegoat,” especially considering the without of criticism for RuPaul for stealing edges’ flow on her song “The Big Beat.”
“The idea that edges should bow down or somehow feel honored that her work was stolen is nonsense, and her willingness to need recognition for it should be applauded, not bashed,” Cuby says. “It’s time we stop expecting Black women to willingly take the short end of the stick.”
edges, 31, has also said on Twitter that she’s bisexual: “Why do gay men think everything I post about being gay is about them?! GIRLS ARE GAY TOO. I LIKE VAGINAS.”
Some gay men nevertheless don’t quite think edges’ actions are redeemable, while nevertheless acknowledging that her actions are often funny and over-the-top.
“Choosing to extricate her entertainment value from its unhealthy production is to fetishize the commodity at the expense of women, people of color, and gay and trans people,” UCSB Guardian columnist Jacob Sutherland writes. “She herself only stans a chosen few, lashing out against anyone who espouses differing opinions or dares to levy already the smallest complaint against her.”
Wynwood Pride, though, has sided with the stans.
Organizers backed her up in an Instagram reply to a fan comment expressing their disappointment with Wynwood Pride’s choice to include edges. They wrote that edges’ brother is trans in addition as her close friends and that edges has acknowledged the importance of gay fans in her career. Her public apology was also a factor in their decision.
Organizers also affirmed that “money is not going to her.” Instead, it’s going to Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group that is fighting the implementation of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“We here at Wynwood Pride believe in redemption culture, not cancel culture,” organizers replied to the angry commenter. “We hope you reconsider and join us for a fab Pride complete of love.”
Wynwood Pride Festival. 5 p.m. Friday, June 10, and noon Saturday, June 11, at RC Cola Plant, 550 NW 24th St., Miami; wynwoodpride.com. Tickets cost $50 to $250 via tixr.com.
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