How Iggy Azalea Fell From 'Fancy' To Cancelled

How Iggy Azalea Fell From 'Fancy' To Cancelled

2:01pm Jun 15, 2015

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FANCY")

IGGY AZALEA: (Rapping) First things first, I'm the realist. Drop this, and let the whole world feel it.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This song was everywhere last summer. It's "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea. She was nominated for four Grammys, including record of the year and best rap album. And now, just a year later, Iggy Azalea has canceled her tour. She also dropped out of performing at Pittsburgh's gay pride event this weekend after several groups protested her scheduled appearance. So how did Iggy Azalea's star fall so far so fast? Soraya Nadia McDonald of The Washington Post explains that the white rapper was seen by many of her critics as inauthentic and appropriating black culture.

SORAYA NADIA MCDONALD: This is a really weird kind of argument to have because, you know, hip-hop is not just solely a black artform anymore. It hasn't been for a really long time. It spread, you know, all over the world. But when you look at her and you look at T.I., he's the one who signed her to his label, it almost seems like she was more of a novelty act. I hate to say this, but, like, within hip-hop, particularly with women, part of the appeal, like, the thing that will help you to stand out - and we've seen this with Nicki Minaj, we saw this with Trina - was, like, have a big booty. And so, like, Iggy Azalea is this white girl with a big booty. And it just sort of looks like a very cynical cash grab on T.I.'s part.

MARTIN: That she was somehow more marketable because she's good-looking, but she's also this young white woman.

MCDONALD: Right, exactly.

MARTIN: She also got herself into hot water with how she was behaving online on social media. Can you tell us how that fueled the fire?

MCDONALD: She did. You know, she's tweeting things that are racially insensitive that some people have classified as homophobic. And they're not necessarily just racially insensitive toward black people, but towards Asian people, toward Native American people. You know, there's a whole range. And that's not really doing her any favors either.

MARTIN: What does this mean for her? Is she done? Can she recover? Can she reinvent herself?

MCDONALD: Well, here's the thing. I mean, there's nothing people like more in pop culture, aside from tearing people down, than a good comeback act. Even though it seems highly improbable, I wouldn't count her out completely. I think the people who are responsible for managing her are certainly already thinking about that. There's evidence that they're thinking about that because, you know, just a few days after the news breaks that this huge arena tour that's been planned for her has been canceled, we find out that she's marrying Nick Young. He's an NBA player. That's sort of like the first step in, like, celebrity 101 as far as, you know, rehabbing your image - you know, have a wedding, get a nice spread in one of the weeklies, you know, a beautiful wedding dress, you know, just to drum up some goodwill for yourself. So, you know, we'll see what happens.

MARTIN: Cynical, Soraya, cynical.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Soraya Nadia McDonald of The Washington Post. She covers pop culture. Thanks for coming in, Soraya.

MCDONALD: Thanks for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FANCY")

AZALEA: (Singing) I'm in the fast lane from LA to Tokyo. I'm so fancy. Can't you taste this gold? Remember my name, 'bout to blow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Support your
public radio station