Festival sacks Azealia Banks over racist attack on Zayn
New York (AFP) – A London music festival on Wednesday removed controversial New York rapper Azealia Banks from its lineup after she went on a racially charged attack against former One Direction heartthrob Zayn.
Banks, in a series of tweets that she has since deleted, accused Zayn of copying her style on his latest video “Like I Would” and grew more agitated after he did not respond.
Banks, who is African American, used epithets directed at Muslims against Zayn, a Briton who is partially of Pakistani origin.
“When your entire extended family has been obliterated by good ol the U.S of A will you still be trying to act like a white boy pretending to be black?” she said in one tweet.
The Rinse/Born & Bred Festival, which will take place next month in London, announced it was canceling Banks’ appearance.
“Rinse/Born & Bred is a celebration of rave culture and has been created for EVERYONE. We celebrate inclusivity and equality,” it said in a statement.
Zayn kept a distance from Banks, telling her in Twitter lingo that he had seen her remarks and chose not to take the bait.
“My @’s too good for you,” he tweeted.
Zayn Malik, who has chosen to go solely by his first name as a solo artist, has taken on an R&B sound since leaving One Direction with sex-filled lyrics that would have been unthinkable for the squeaky clean boy band.
Banks, in a fresh tweet on Wednesday, reiterated her accusations about Zayn’s music and cast her remarks about Muslims as a gesture of solidarity.
“He felt as if he was too good to acknowledge me yet not too good to copy my creativity,” she wrote.
“I had to remind him that we’re both in the same boat in this industry and people of color,” she wrote.
Banks won wide acclaim for her single “212” but has become better known for her acerbic exchanges on Twitter, with her pledge in March to quit the platform proving short-lived.
She notably engaged in a long-running feud with the Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, whom she accused of exploiting black culture.
Banks also raised eyebrows when she endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a fellow prolific user of Twitter, who has little support from minorities.
However, Banks’ praise for Trump appeared backhanded as she said that the billionaire “is evil like America is evil” and hence its fitting leader.