No stranger to controversy, rapper/singer Azealia Banks has returned from her Twitter-imposed silence (after a series of homophobic and racist rants) to confirm that she has been bleaching her skin.
As a black artist who has lived with the consequences of colourism for much of her life and career, Banks has been frequently vocal on social media how being a darker skinned woman has affected her.
“The treatment I get for being a dark skinned woman just makes me want to lay down and die … men in general despise dark skinned women,” Banks tweeted last year.
She has since been using Whitenicious, a controversial skin lightening product, with fans having taken note of her lighter appearance in recent Instagram posts.
This week, the 25-year-old hit back at the criticism with a 21-minute rant on Facebook, declaring that skin bleaching is not any different from hair extensions or cosmetic surgery.
“There’s no difference between a hair relaxer and skin lightening cream. All of you women on this post are wearing weaves but that would never lead me to assume that you hated yourself or hate your own hair. It’s not fair to pin ‘self-hate’ on me,” she wrote.
Banks has been taking the time to respond to the torrent of comments — both positive and negative, writing, “It’s a beauty regimen nothing more, nothing less.”
It’s an interesting move for Banks, who has always been outspoken about racial issues, including police brutality, sexuality and cultural appropriation, often placing a critical light on fellow ethnic artists, including accusing Beyonce of being “anti-feminist” and going on an Islamophobic rant against British singer Zayn Malik, which ultimately got her suspended from Twitter, her typical weapon of choice.
“I don’t really think it’s important to discuss the cultural significance of skin bleaching anymore,” Banks went on to say. “Just as black people in this world, you assimilate, and there are things you accept, not just out of necessity but things become norm because they just happen all the time.”
“To say (skin bleaching) negates anything I’ve said about the current situation of blackness in America is ignorant and stupid,” she added. “What do body modifications have to do with somebody’s level of intellect?”