Students irked by Iggy Azalea

Some say the homecoming artist is offensive and shouldn’t be allowed at the University.

by Sarah Connor

The University of Minnesota had no trouble selling out of tickets for Friday’s homecoming concert with rapper Iggy Azalea.

But some students are angry with the school’s decision to invite Azalea to campus, claiming the “Fancy” singer has posted racist and homophobic comments on social media and has engaged in cultural appropriation that’s offensive to some.

As of Oct. 7, one student had written a formal complaint to Student Unions and Activities about the performer.

In the complaint, the student wrote that Azalea is a “racist, homophobic, self-entitled person who appropriates culture in offensive ways.”

By allowing Azalea to perform, the student wrote, the University is showing tolerance for those behaviors.

Child psychology junior Monica Goodman criticized SUA for not reviewing Azalea’s past controversial social media posts before inviting her to homecoming.

“SUA represents a diverse group of students,” she said, “and I believe there should have been more discussion before inviting someone to perform who has shown such a lack of sensitivity toward the LGBT community and ethnic minorities.”

The SUA Program Board selected this year’s homecoming primarily through an online survey in which students could write in their top artist choices. The board also based its decision on other factors, like the artists’ social media popularity in the area.

After a Minnesota Daily reporter requested an interview with SUA regarding controversy with Azalea on campus, SUA assistant director Erik Dussault provided an email statement through a University spokesperson.

“This year’s Homecoming concert is sold out, which indicates U of M students are excited to see this year’s artists,” the statement read.

The spokesperson said the statement was the only comment the school would have for this story.

Some students, like graphic design junior Krissy Calbert, say the board should have considered how Azalea may have offended some minority groups in the University community.

“It felt like a slap in the face,” she wrote in an email interview.

Calbert said she thinks the University hasn’t created a welcoming environment for minority students in recent years, pointing to last year’s remodel of Coffman Union’s second floor that painted over some student group’s murals.

“… [T]o add insult to injury, they decided the best thing to do following the backlash against the lack of diversity at the U was to book a transphobic and racist musician,” she wrote. “It honestly makes me feel like this school is not truly here for its (small) minority population.”

Calbert, who said she studies racism, sexism and homophobia in her free time, said she thinks Azalea’s performance on Friday will further alienate students who belong to the groups that Azalea has appropriated in her raps and performances.

“She adapts this dreadful ‘blaccent’ when she raps in an effort to gain more street cred, and it is terribly racist,” she wrote. “Instead of being ‘the realest’ like she claims in her raps, she instead chose to be a poor caricature of black female rappers everywhere.”

Still, other students like Hillary Hercules, who said she wasn’t aware of the controversy, are looking forward to the concert.

“This is the first large concert that I will be attending [at the University], and I am excited that so many of my friends are also excited for the artists and will be at the concert,” Hercules said.