Iggy Aza­lea’s stock ap­pears to plum­met

Re­cent can­cel­la­tions sug­gest per­former is hav­ing a dra­matic drop in pop­u­lar­ity.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Ger­rick Kennedy ger­rick.kennedy@la­times.com

This time last year, Iggy Aza­lea was rid­ing a wave.

Be­tween her hit sin­gle “Fancy” and a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ari­ana Grande, Aza­lea was dom­i­nat­ing ra­dio di­als and the pop con­ver­sa­tion.

Her dual sum­mer smashes broke all kinds of records, and the steam from her break­out yielded her billing at fes­ti­vals such as Made in Amer­ica, per­for­mance slots on vir­tu­ally ev­ery sin­gle mu­sic awards show and mul­ti­ple Grammy nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing record of the year and new artist.

How­ever, as the cliché goes, what a dif­fer­ence a year makes. And th­ese days, her stock ap­pears to have hit its low­est point.

Just a week af­ter an­nounc­ing a head­lin­ing arena tour was scrapped, Aza­lea has pulled out of yet an­other high-pro­file gig: Af­ter on­go­ing con­tro­versy tied to her book­ing, the Aus­tralian pop-rap­per has can­celed a per­for­mance at Pitts­burgh Pride planned for this week­end.

“This has been a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion, as I truly sup­port the event and LGBTIQA com­mu­ni­ties, how­ever I feel my par­tic­i­pa­tion at this point would only serve to fur­ther dis­tract from the true pur­pose of the event,” she wrote in a state­ment.

When it was an­nounced that Aza­lea would per­form at Pitts­burgh’s LGBT cel­e­bra­tion, it drew the ire of many, given the per­former had been called out re­peat­edly for a se­ries of old, of­f­color tweets.

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

An­other old deleted mes­sage con­tained a slur di- rected at les­bians.

Be­cause of Aza­lea’s book­ing, sev­eral LGBT-friendly groups pulled out of the event. Th­ese in­cluded the lo­cal chap­ter of the Gay, Les­bian & Straight Ed­u­ca­tion Net­work and a Uni­tar­ian church.

“I am a firm be­liever in equal­ity. Un­for­tu­nately in the past as a young per­son, I used words I should not have. The last thing I want is for some­thing so care­lessly said to be in­ter­preted as ref lec­tive of my char­ac­ter,” Aza­lea’s state­ment said.

“I meant no harm and deeply re­gret ever ut­ter­ing those words. As an adult I would never use them be­cause I un­der­stand they play a detri­men­tal role in the fight for is­sues that I do truly be­lieve in.”

Be­ing pros­e­cuted for old thoughts, be­liefs or stupid com­ments that have been drudged up years later is noth­ing new for celebri­ties. Its fair­ness can be ar­gued, but Aza­lea’s (or maybe it was event or­ga­niz­ers’) swift de­ci­sion to back out seems to in­stead prove that her team is no longer able to af­ford any more dis­as­trous head­lines.

Like many of her pre­de­ces­sors, her nar­ra­tive — though she might have al­ready achieved the level of fame re­served for a se­lect few — is now lit­tle but con­tro­versy. And not the provoca­tive or ben­e­fi­cial kind.

Aza­lea’s nixed Pride gig is just the lat­est in a long string of public stum­bles that adds to the never-end­ing scorn as­so­ci­ated with her name.

From the start, rap fans la­beled her as “too pop” to be con­sid­ered au­then­tic and seethed at her Grammy nom­i­na­tion for rap al­bum (Eminem ul­ti­mately beat her with one of his weak­est al­bums, though that speaks to a big­ger prob­lem with vot­ers).

Crit­ics have ripped her, ac­cus­ing her of pil­fer­ing South­ern hip-hop stylings. She’s been called out by J. Cole, ad­mon­ished by Azealia Banks, ridiculed by Snoop Dogg and given a public his­tory les­son on hiphop by Q-Tip. Count­less think-pieces on white priv­i­lege and cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion have used her as a spring­board.

Her highly an­tic­i­pated col­lab­o­ra­tion with Brit­ney Spears, “Pretty Girls,” failed to move the dial. And then there is the can­celed tour, which many have said was doomed from the start.

Aza­lea’s tour was first de­layed for five months, then can­celed, os­ten­si­bly so it could be re­tooled around her new record — although sources have said paltry ticket sales were the main mo­ti­va­tor.

Frazer Har­ri­son Getty Images

CON­TRO­VERSY is dog­ging the Aus­tralian pop-rap­per Iggy Aza­lea.

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