Ever since the news of the altercation between Azealia Banks and Russell Crowe broke, I made it a point to just sit and wait to hear all sides of the story before commenting…something that many, many others…haven’t quite been doing. Most people have seemingly been jumping to take Russell’s version of events as gospel. And thing is, that’s an extremely easy to do…probably the easiest thing to do. We’re certainly not gonna deny that Azealia Banks has a history of showing her ass and exhibiting trash behavior…she’s easy to dislike and cast aside, as many, many folks have done (which is absolutely fair).
However, Azealia Banks’ history doesn’t mean we can’t look at this situation more critically (and examine the social implications around it).
While I’ve been choosing neutrality, here, I do find it telling how quickly people have jumped to the side of Russell Crowe…as if he’s never had an outburst or scandal in his entire life. Azealia Banks’ biggest infractions revolve around spats on social media…meanwhile, Russell Crowe has a long, well-documented history of committing actual, physical violence and generally exhibiting shitty behavior. Dude is well-established as an egotistical, erratic hothead…yet we so easily buy his virtue and innocence over Azealia’s when, if we’re being real, Russell’s rap sheet is far longer. Why does he get to automatically be assumed as the level-headed and reasonable party in this situation (even being referred to as a “hero”)? Is there really any incentive to automatically take his word over Azealia’s?
…because a Black dude in RZA corroborates it? LOL…yea…let’s talk about that.
First of all, the notion that a Black man wouldn’t easily throw a Black woman under the bus is hot, steaming garbage. Misogynoir is real, and Black men are often just as guilty of perpetuating it as a wypipo. Hell, just hop on Twitter and you’ll see Black men throwing Black women under the bus over the most frivolous shit, every single day. We live in a system that runs on both racism and misogyny (among many other “isms”)…which catches Black women at the intersection of the two. The system of white supremacy has Black people casually hating and devaluing ourselves and each other…of course a system that runs on patriarchy and misogyny will see Black men perpetuating the specific hatred and devaluation of Black women. That RZA would be quicker to preach the virtues of a white man over a Black woman isn’t, remotely far-fetched.
Also, in this instance, RZA has a career to think about. Russell Crowe is a major celebrity with influence and connections; he can open doors for RZA and keep him paid. Azealia Banks, on the other hand, is an indie artist with hardly any connections and is practically blacklisted. Path of least resistance.
Not to mention, let’s not forget that RZA has been on some respectablity, “All Lives Matter” shit for a while. He’s blamed the issue of systemic racism on Black men, saying that we need to “clean up.” Dude is self-hating, colonized trash…I don’t think it’s anything for him to throw a Black woman under the bus to stay in the good graces of massa, when he’s done it with an entire movement around justice for Black people. His word means less than nothing, to me.
And thing is, this isn’t even about caping for Azealia Banks (although, for the record, I find her version of events to be 100% plausible). It’s about looking at this shit objectively and being fair. I think we need to really examine why so many of us (Black folks, in particular) are so quick to believe the white narrative when it’s against a Black woman. And more so, why is it that we can cite Azealia Banks’ checkered history as a reason to dismiss her and her account of the events, while simultaneously overlooking Russell Crowe’s (arguably far worse) history in order to jump to buy his version of events?
Sure, Azealia Banks could be embellishing and we’ll probably never know the absolute truth, but there’s absolutely zero reason to believe Russell Crowe over Azealia Banks. If I’m not gonna take Azealia’s account at face value, then I’m damn sure not gonna give a rich, white man’s account that kind of benefit.