Iggy Aza­lea with­draws un­der fire from gay pride

The China Post - - ARTS -

Aus­tralian rap­per Iggy Aza­lea on Mon­day can­celed a per­for­mance at a U.S. gay pride cel­e­bra­tion af­ter crit­i­cism over past re­marks that were seen as ho­mo­pho­bic.

The June 13 con­cert in Pitts­burgh was one of the few re­main­ing dates on the cal­en­dar for the suc­cess­ful but con­tro­ver­sial rap­per af­ter she re­cently called off a ma­jor tour.

Aza­lea apol­o­gized for her past com­ments, say­ing that she sup­ported gay and trans­gen­der rights and did not want to dis­tract from the event.

“I am a firm be­liever in equal­ity. Un­for­tu­nately in the past as a young per­son, I used words I should not have,” the 25-year-old said in a state­ment.

“The last thing I want is for some­thing so care­lessly said to be in­ter­preted as re­flec­tive of my char­ac­ter,” she said.

Aza­lea — once a pro­lific user of so­cial me­dia be­fore tak­ing a rest fol­low­ing on­line feuds — made a se­ries of post­ings on Twit­ter be­fore her rise to star­dom that could of­fend gays and les­bians, as well as eth­nic mi­nori­ties.

In one of the tamer tweets, which she wrote in 2010 but has since been deleted, Aza­lea said: “When guys whis­per in each other’s ears I al­ways think it’s kind of homo.”

A num­ber of ac­tivists had protested Aza­lea’s choice as a head­liner for the event, called Pride in the Street, which is part of an­nual sum­mer cel­e­bra­tions aimed at cre­at­ing an in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment for gay and les­bians in the for­mer steel town.

Bruce Kraus, the pres­i­dent of the Pitts­burgh City Coun­cil, who is gay, had sup­ported calls for a boy­cott.

The Delta Foun­da­tion of Pitts­burgh, the gay rights group that or­ga­nizes the event, said it was try­ing to find an al­ter­na­tive head­line act.

“We’re sorry that our head­liner choice caused a di­vi­sion within our com­mu­nity but we be­lieve that change hap­pens through con­versa- tion,” the foun­da­tion’s board said in a state­ment.

Aza­lea quickly amassed a fan base last year with songs in­clud­ing “Fancy,” mak­ing her the first white woman to find ma­jor main­stream suc­cess through the tra­di­tion­ally African-Amer­i­can art form.

But she also came un­der fire, no­tably from rap­per Azealia Banks, who ac­cused Aza­lea of ex­ploita­tion and in­au­then­tic­ity by per­form­ing in an iden­ti­fi­ably African-Amer­i­can ac­cent.

Aza­lea re­cently can­celed an al­ready de­layed tour of U.S. and Canadian are­nas, say­ing that she needed a “men­tal break.”

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