Singer Azealia Banks declared her love for skin bleaching cream Whitenicious on Instagram and Twitter last month, and needless to say, it didn’t go over well. Banks received thousands of negative comments and tweets in response, arguing that Banks’ actions were a form of internalized racism. This sparked conversations about society’s harmful beauty standards and colorism.Instagram: @azealiabanks
Banks has released a 21-minute video defending her use of skin bleaching cream. “Nobody was upset when I was [wearing] 30-inch weaves, tearing out my edges, and doing all types of shit like that,” she said. “You guys loved it, but what is the difference?” She compared using the product to getting a nose job, getting a weave, or any other form of body modification.
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Her response was as controversial as her original posting. The video has received 78,000 views in four days, and over 2,500 comments. Many of these comments accuse Banks of internalized racism and cultural appropriation. One Facebook user wrote, “I know you have your freedoms and all but… Black is beautiful.”
However, not all responses have been outwardly negative. Other comments have defended Banks, saying that, “Everyone who’s ‘disappointed’ needs to answer that question before passing [judgment] on anyone… If we start condemning and psychoanalyzing every woman who alters her appearance, we’ll never talk about anything important.”
Azealia’s skin bleaching controversy does spark an important conversation about the role of beauty standards in the entertainment business. Is it society that makes her feel like she has to change herself, or is it some form of internalized racism? We’ll let you decide.