21-year-old singer Banks is no stranger to attention. The young rapper and lyricist, now signed to Interscope Records, was starring in off-Broadway plays at sixteen. Having dropped out of high school to pursue a recording career, the Harlem-native gained recognition fast, when at eighteen, finally ripe and legal, she released an Internet debut, produced by Diplo. Following her debut, Banks signed with XL Records. She would later leave this label due to conflicting ideas; revealing in its early stages, a career built by iconoclasticism. Achieving success via YouTube and topping European charts, the label-jumping star began working with producer Paul Epworth and eventually broke through to audiences in the U.S.
This month, she graces the cover of fashion powerhouse Dazed & Confused with a blown-up condom held to her mouth. It’s caused quite a stir, being banned in seven countries. Personally, with sex-ed in schools being threatened by the promoters of what’s been termed Conscripted Gestation (rather than pro-life), methinks in-your-face images of safe-sex paraphernalia can only be a good thing. Furthermore, from a woman’s perspective, one can’t help but wonder: if she was simply posing with her fingers in a V, symbolizing a vagina, and no condom was in sight, would our desensitized (ready to sexualize a woman at any given moment, but not when she owns choosing safe-sex and, uh, wants the world to see) asses still have our boxer briefs in such a bundle? Either way, she actually has a lot to SAY, about her childhood, the ups and downs faced post-death of her father to pancreatic cancer, and the physical and verbal abuse suffered at the hands of her widowed mother [ie: she allegedly told Azealia she was ugly and hit her and her sister with baseball bats, threw food away].
Banks says, “We grew up in the hood, but we had some money. But I moved out when I was 14 to go live with my older sister, because my mom just had, well… issues.”
Ron Stanley, editor of Dazed & Confused magazine speaks out in defense of the magazine’s condom cover. “Azealia liked it, and we thought it would be fun and suited her because she’s a strong, provocative character,” he said. “I knew this cover would be talked about, but didn’t expect a confident, young woman posing with an inflated condom to cause this much fuss. It’s funny that in a world where extreme images are so accessible, someone posing with something that is used for safe sex is what we get worked up about.”
Love Azealia? Check out her mixtape “Fantasea” on self-made online radio station Kunt.FM and jot down “Broke With Expensive Taste” on your iTunes wish list. The album is due out next month.
In other news, an ad for online shopping source Net-A-Porter featuring The Conversation host Amanda de Cadenet looking fabu, is out! de Cadenet says, “I am really happy with this ad I did for Net-A-Porter. Love this company, founded by an amazing woman and they always carry my sizes.”
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