Dear Iggy Azalea:
I am Anne Gus—journalist, social-justice activist, and reigning Queen of Thought Catalog.
I know you’re finding it hard to believe that someone like me would bother writing to someone like you, and I know that you might be a teeny bit starstruck right now, but you’ve, like, been on my radar for a while now and I can’t remain silent about you any longer…I can’t let your atrocities go, like, unchallenged anymore…so congrats, I guess you can consider yourself officially famous now that I’m talking to you…or whatever.
Iggy, in many ways we’re very similar people. We’re both humans, we’re both female, we’re both in our 20s (on the right side of 25), we’ve both had rocket-like breakthroughs this year, and we both have billions of fans worldwide.
But this letter to you is not going to address our likenesses, but our differences.
This summer, you—a female rap artist who seemed to come from nowhere—went full-on jihad and literally blew up all over the charts with your catchy hip-hop single “Fancy.”
When I first heard the song, and about you, a mysterious up-and-coming female rapper with a funny name, I naturally got super-duper excited. I found your music on Spotify and was hooked. I was sure I was the first in my group of friends to have discovered you, and I was soooo looking forward to bragging about that.
This was in early June and so I got my speakers out and spent the last weeks of school walking around and blasting your most popular song. I was strolling around campus like almost 24/7, singing along to the catchy “I’m so fancy” hook, playfully asking “Who dat, who dat?,” spelling your name like a retard, and shaking my bountiful booty to your beats.
I don’t know what about your music was so spellbinding to me, but I quickly became obsessed. You seemed to usher in the musical summer by drowning out the tired, hackneyed bars that sputtered from my friends’ Nicki Minaj spring playlists. You were fresh, new, and most importantly, I had discovered you first out of all my friends.
When listening to you, I felt so empowered, so tolerant, so cultural. There I was, rocking out, poppin’, lockin’, and twerkin’ to you, an underground female rapper of color and doing it light years before any other Women’s Studies students #hipsteralert #lol. It could hardly get more un-narrow-minded than that. Now no one could accuse me of being racist again, like, ever.
Unfortunately for me, I had missed one very important detail about you, Iggy—you aren’t black. Like, not black at all. Like, not even a little bit black. In fact, you were whiter than a Romney family gathering, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, you turned out to be furthest thing from black one can be, namely Australian (which is basically synonymous with being racist).
This obviously came as a shock to me. I saw these, your true colors (literally) one day in July. The rude awakening came one morning when I was chilling with my homies in a park here in central Boston. I eagerly queued “Fancy” on my portable speakers and was really excited to get to officially introduce all my friends to you, the new rap queen I had been raving about for weeks and who I had abandoned my previously totally fave artist and baddest bad bitch, Nicki Minaj, for.
But when the song came on, my friends started acting really weird and squirmy, shooting uneasy glances at each other like they wanted to tell me something—and they did—oh, boy, they did.
Holly was the one who eventually piped up and told me everything. Told me that you were and had only ever been a.big.fat.lie. A cultural appropriator, a thief of black culture and a backwoods Australian hick. She told me she’d, like, made the discovery when she’d stumbled upon an interview with you on YouTube and that she’d realized that you weren’t the colorful, fab, and fierce urban woman of color that she and I had assumed you were, but that you were in actuality a white Australian devil.
My high regard for you burst faster than a balloon dropped into a hedgehog orgy and I realized what a huge mistake I had made. I had been prancing around everywhere championing you—a white Australian racist—over Nicki Minaj, a proud Woman of Color, basically the whole summer. I had done it unwittingly, sure, but still, the damage to my tolerant reputation was already done.
At first, the horribleness of the truth made me protest what Holly was telling me. I mean, of course you were black—you had to be. I mean, you sing about your work like you’re proud of having a job, you’ve got the unmistakable ghetto hood twang down, and you’re famous for your huge ass. There had to be a mistake—but no, to my horror, Holly was right. I went on YouTube and your weird white-devil face was on every thumbnail.
It felt like my life was a lie. I had believed in you all summer. I had dissed Nicki Minaj in favor of you. I had even told my friends that I believed you would be the next Lil’ Kim. But it turned out you were a fraud and had always been. Your big booty was merely one of many gimmicks that you’d shamelessly appropriated from black culture.
I couldn’t believe it hadn’t occurred to me to look up a video of you before I announced to the world that you were my new favorite artist. I guess I was just so caught up with the fact that I had discovered a fresh pussy-haver who was laying down some brand-new beats and spitting some hot-hot fire that I had forgotten to do a background check.
And as if the fact that you turned out to be white wasn’t enough, Holly showed me some of your tweets and it became clear that you’re not even secretive about your racism. Apparently you’re openly racist toward Asians, a group of people that I have a history of supporting through thick and thin—but mostly thin, because most of them are thin, no lie.
You may not know me, but ask anyone who does and they’d be the first to tell you that I’m, like a really, like, tolerant girl and that I respect other cultures, like, a lot. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time dealing with you Australians, because you people have the opposite philosophy, as evinced by the fact that you have a Grand Wizard abbot of the KKK as PM.
So from having been super-proud and excited to have found a new female artist and having been one of your biggest fans, I instantly became ashamed—deeply ashamed. I had been running around singing along to a white Australian rapper. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t been getting any tolerance Brownie points from my Women’s Studies friends at all; instead, everyone had been silently thinking that I had become some sort of White Powerpuff Girl.
So Iggy, what I’m getting at is that you have made a fool out of me. By not being clear about not being black, you’ve made me look like a totally racist bitch in front of my entire college. You should be legally obligated to have a disclaimer in the beginning of all your songs where you make it clear that you’re not of the black and that you have no affiliation with the African American community, much less the African African community. That way, we tolerant, color-blind, and unracist people can turn you the fuck off and not accidentally support your hillbilly xenophobia.
I can’t help but think of how many other tolerant, progressive, anti-racist people you’ve tricked into liking your totally backwards and hateful music, some of whom may have realized it only now after having read my letter to you.
So yeah, basically, Iggy, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. You pretending to be black is super-racist and dishonest. You’re confusing millions of people by sounding black and you’re tricking patrons of the African American arts to support your music.
I can’t undo the damage you’ve done to my angelic reputation of tolerance, but I can prevent others from falling victim to the same misunderstanding.
Anne Gus, former fan (when I thought you was black)