T.I. Says Iggy Azalea and Her Team Didn’t Handle the ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Firestorm Well; Iggy Fires Back

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
Iggy Azalea and T.I. accept the award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for The New Classic at the 2014 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Nov. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Well, who knew that T.I. was also critical of how Iggy Azalea handled the "cultural appropriation" firestorm that she's been at the center of for the past several months?

Social media reactions to Iggy's music and success—from celebrities like Azealia Banks and Q-Tip, too—have converged on the idea that Iggy is blackfacing her way through this hip-hop industry. People believe that there's something inauthentic about her craft. That not only is she not that talented (but yet she's a media darling because she's white), but also she hasn't done enough homework on the issue of cultural appropriation to fully understand the gripes thrown her way. 


T.I. has come to her defense time and time again, but during a recent radio interview in New York City, he said that after he tried to smooth things over after Q-Tip got involved, he wasn't happy with how Iggy and her team "undid" what he was trying to do. As a result, he insinuated, he and his hip-hop protégée aren't as tight as they used to be.

"After the Q-Tip thing, after I kind of had smoothed it over, like, OK, 'What is really meant to be said?' " T.I. said, explaining that he tried to serve as a go-between for Iggy and Q-Tip to help explain each person's point of view and argument.

Now, keep in mind, Q-Tip was the most respectful out of all the people who got at Iggy. In a series of tweets back in December, he cordially articulated the resentment that Iggy was receiving from those who felt she was undeserving of all those accolades for an art form that they say she was mimicking. 

"After it was cool, everything was cool, and then [Iggy and her team] kind of came back and undid what I had just [done]," T.I. said. 


He's probably referring to Iggy's blithe response to Q-Tip, when she said that she felt patronized by his hip-hop history lesson, and that she didn't have to prove she's a student of black culture and hip-hop to participate in the art form.

That's when T.I. apparently absolved himself of all things Iggy Azalea on that front.


"Some stuff [Iggy and her team] brought upon themselves," the rapper said.

T.I. did say that he thinks the climate in which Iggy rose up the charts didn't help, either. The country was reeling from how unarmed black people were being shot dead by police and white vigilantes.  


"[Iggy's success] came at a time when culturally, in this nation, we were looking for a source [to] place the pent-up aggression. And [Iggy] just kind of got it for no reason," T.I. said.

Well, Iggy had no clue that T.I. felt this way. She got on Twitter Thursday to say that she doesn't think T.I. should be talking about their disagreement so publicly. 



Is it me, or did she basically say (in that last tweet) that T.I. better back-pedal from the stuff he said? Either way, here's to hoping that things get better in the Grand Hustle camp.


And no, Iggy is not exceptionally talented. But she's not giving herself these awards. Instead of being upset with her, we need to take issue with the institutions and award organizations that keep rewarding her instead of more talented rappers. We also need to take issue with the mainstream media outlets that treat her as if she's hip-hop's savior. She's perfectly entitled to rap if she wants—even if she isn't that good. 

Oh, and waiting for Azealia Banks to say something about all of this (even if it's just a cackle) in 5-4-3-2 …


Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

For more of black Twitter, check out The Chatterati on The Root and follow The Chatterati on Twitter.


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