Azealia Banks is a 24-year-old New York rapper who calls herself a womanist and wants reparations for black people. Recently, she endorsed Donald Trump. “If the United States of America is an aircraft on its way down, (which it seems to be) I must put my own air mask on before I assist others,” she wrote in reference to his immigration policy. Later, she tweeted, “I have no hope for America. It is what it is. Capitalist, consumerist, racist land of make believe,” and “Donald trump is evil like America is evil and in order for America to keep up with itself it needs him.”
These statements have, like many of Banks’s actions, been written off as trolling by some. But there’s reason to think them sincere. “I have no hope for America” is certainly far from “Make America Great Again,” yet both demonstrate deep disgruntlement with the status quo. Both demonstrate the belief that Trump can cause real change, though Banks’s belief is that the change will be purely destructive. And while Banks and Trump may be ideologically opposed, it’s not too hard to draw tactical similarities between the two. In politics and in art, shocking bluster has power.
Banks has made fantastic music throughout her five years in the public eye, most recently on this past Friday’s mixtape Slay-Z, where her slick, profane boasts over pop-rave beats will help listeners feel invulnerable for a few minutes at a time. Her songs, though, have long been overshadowed in the media by the insults she has slung toward other public figures. She blasts people from Lady Gaga to Lil Kim to her own record label based on alleged slights toward her, often resorting to comments about their looks and their presumed sex life. She also uses the word “faggot” to present homosexuals as weak and demonize the “white gay media”—which continues covering her because, to her delight, she retains a sizable gay fan base.