Monday, June 16, 2014

ATA #10: From Foreign to Fancy: How Iggy Azalea Stole Stella's Groove


WARNING: Across the Aisle features a generous helping of exploratory writing, gratuitous pop culture abuse, and complimentary Funyons. This is Hive Mind 101. That glorious moment when Wonder Twin powers activate. Jay Connor + Alex Hardy = the triumphant return of Voltron. These ain’t no studio tricks, and such brilliance is solely intended for mature reading audiences.  Enjoy.

Episode 10


From Foreign to Fancy: How Iggy Azalea Stole Stella's Groove

Jay Connor: In the laundry list of certainties (Post-penetration emotional attachment, Jaden Smith being Jaden Smith, misguided lace fronts), success isn’t always one of them. Ask Justin. Ask will.i.am. Ask J. Lo’s falsetto. So when Forbes fate plucked Iggy Azalea from a jar of Vegemite the brink of obscurity and chose Black Music Month to fling her to the top of the Billboard charts, surprise would be a bit of an understatement (though if you doubled down on Disgust you made out nicely as well). The American Dream had been disemboweled by an ashy Australian armed with a pair of grossly exaggerated cakes and a Southern drawl that comes and goes with her menstrual cycle. But fret not. Since some Black guy co-signed on her Cultural Appropriation Loan, much like Ursh and his pet pink toe, all is well in the world. So with that said, I would like to congratulate Iggy for prevailing as the lesser of two evils and making Billboard’s resident equestrian an afterthought. From koalas to Cazals, make the most of your foray into Steve Stoute’s wet dreams.

Alex Hardy: I pride myself on successfully avoiding all most things Iggy Azalea since she arrived on the scene as T.I.’s new affirmative action signee with a work visa. There was a moment when I was unsure whether or not Iggy and Azealia Banks were the same person. This was before I had ever laid eyes on either of them. What was certain, though, is that I didn’t care about either one. After seeing The Gays praising her wardrobe, ponytail, and bootymeat, I sampled a few of her musical offerings. First word that came to mind: naptime. The on/off Southern drawl a la Heartbreak Drake. The “twerking.” Watching White people debate who was the better twerker between she and Miley. Yep. Naptime. It’s this same Black championing of lackluster Black-aspirant Whiteness that makes that ho ass Bieber FuckBoy relevant in 2014. Yawn.

JC: Life was so much easier before these culture exchange students got work visas. Now the time/space continuum is irreparably harmed and Skynet will vanquish the planet in no time. Thanks Russell! But as Oliver Wang so eloquently stated, we are witnessing a historic precedent in this latest episode of ethnic interpolation. So much so that even Kendall’s cornrows want a word with her. Set her music and eerie World of Warcraft resemblance aside and we’re nose to nose with privilege incarnate. How else do you explain an Australian immigrant creating a lucrative business venture out of parodying the cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta? Eminem, who’s actually talented, has no problem admitting that “if he was Black he would’ve sold half”, so I don’t think it requires much of a stretch to apply the same rules here. If a We the People petition receives one hundred thousand autographs within thirty days, President Obama’s minions will dignify it with an official response. Which pretty much explains how Ru Paul’s understudy sucker punched the odds and ballooned into a household name. Her pigment parking pass is validated as long as she runs outside every two hours and feeds A$AP Rocky or T.I. some quarters.


AH: I believe that Groupon Trina from Down Under is benefiting from a few different boosts. She’s twenty-four and receives just as much attention for her body as she does for her music. Iggy aligned herself with Clifford Harris and all the right hippity hop dudes. Her fans are buying her performance of cotton candy-coated street friendly Blackness and her seasonal Blackcent. She still gives that “fresh-faced, hot, cool, fun White girl” thing. Her pop appeal means an Ariana Grande collaboration makes sense, which means she’s got the Bieber demographic on lock. As for hip hop fans? Surely being ushered into VIP and declared The White Girl for T.I.’s Grand Hustle has given her a few bonus points as well.

JC: Maybe I’ve been listening to one too many Dame Dash diatribes as of late, but my humble opinion and I have surmised that the origin of this farce is twofold. With our brighter brethren constituting an overwhelming majority of rap’s record sales and revenues (Russell Simmons set the percentage at roughly sixty), Black music is as lucrative as it is inclusive at this stage of its development. So when you have the Jimmy Iovines, Joie Mandas and Lyor Cohens of the world puppeteering from behind the curtains and catering to a demographic that they themselves are a part of, at whose expense does the entertainment and “authenticity” come from? If we’re willingly manufacturing our culture and selling stock in our very existence, it was only inevitable that the Craplemores, Riff Raffs, and Australian albinos bubbled to the surface. So although her bootleg, VHS copy of Blackness is most deserving of a torrential downpour of side eyes and penalty flags, doesn’t she have just as much right as her pigmented counterparts to partake in the treasure trove of misogyny that is the rap industry? And additionally (I did say twofold after all), were we not collectively responsible for checking her bullshit at the door?  

AH: As much as it pains me to admit it: you’re right. Just like Tiger swept golf, the Williams sisters swept tennis, The Blacks swept the NFL and NBA, and Audra McDonald has just made history on Broadway, many avenues of entertainment and competition have seen a surge in swirling as of late. Hip hop has been slipped a molly integrated. Times have changed. Black people don’t have the exclusive on singing cocaine carols and and making moral abandonment sound sexy over a trap music beat. So, I suppose if the White journalist-proclaimed Harriet Tubman of melanin-free rap chicks wants to play dress up and spin fairy tales while failing to convince me that she and Ke$ha are not sharing the same set of vocal chords, then that’s her motherfucking right. I don’t have to like it, though.

JC: Who are you telling?

I do not like her in a house.
I do not like her with a mouse.
I do not like her here or there.
I do not like her anywhere.

That Seuss person was onto something.

AH: I know the answer already, but humor me: Will anyone care about Iggy Azalea in five years?

JC: I misread that as five minutes and oddly enough I still had the same answer. But no, her career will reside in the cemetery with the rest of the Games of Thrones cast in no time. And that conclusion isn’t based solely upon her starring role in The Bane of My Existence, but on the collective revulsion I witnessed with my own eyes the other night in Hollywood. Lunacy be damned, DJ Fire Me Now conjured up the unmitigated gall to play her record not just once, but on two separate occasions. Each of which incited a chorus of boos and an anarchic uprising of middle fingers. The breasted contingent even unionized and went on strike, leaving male mouths agape as succulent derrieres unhinged themselves from their dance floor vulgarities. Chants of “Fuck that bitch!” and “No, really. Fuck that bitch!” engulfed the room. Chaos was absolute. You can force student loans and Mike D’Antoni on Hollywood’s denizens, but “First things first, I’m the realest”? They want no parts of that shit.

AH: It warms my heart to know that, even if some of us betray our good sense and support R. Kelly in 2014, there’s a contingency who gets it and draws the line at Aussie pop tarts with the borrowed twang of a video game villain named Super Wigger. I know that achieving mainstream success entails a good amount of posturing and posing, but I doubt that her schtick is sustainable. Kreayshawn came, assaulted us with Jaundice Jams (and bedbugs), imploded and vanished after that initial curiosity failed to translate into sales. If Almighty Redbone Jesus is real, he has the power to take Iggy, Riff Raff, and the Blacks who embarrass their ancestors on reality television right on out of this world with one measly sonic boom. That, or direct message them all straight to hell. There’s still time.

JC: I just hope Phonte and Nicolay do the right thing and own their role in this mess, cuz you can only talk subwoofers out of suicide so many times. And with her bullshit blaring through speakers on a daily basis, I can’t blame them for trying to hurl themselves into a jacuzzi either. In other news, Guantanamo Bay would be a great tour stop. Her people might want to ignore the Geneva Convention and look into that.

AH: The reality of this shituation is that it's a bit early to write the obituary on Madame Azalea's career. Profound lyricism and believability are not mandatory components in the pop stardom equation, so perhaps her drag queen act will keep her flying above the haters and melinated lady rappers for the foreseeable future. What is clear is that behind every White rapper's sleigh ride through Blackness is a Black friend profiting from that new limelight and brightening fanbase. Can we fault T.I. for cashing in on her lucrative musical blackface? 

Follow me on Twitter: @chrisalexander_ 
LIKE me on Facebook: Colored Boy

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A million thanks to my partner in crime:






Jay Connor is a prized pupil of the esteemed Professor Xavier and a Los Angeles based freelance writer. When he’s not preoccupied with accruing overdraft fees while chasing the dream, he can be found disseminating terrorist threats on Twitter and Facebook. Direct all business inquiries, sexual innuendo and Nigerian email scams to deathtoadverbs@gmail.com.










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