EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of the language in this report is NSFW. Read at your own discretion.
Azealia Banks has been busy on Twitter this week, but not just to sell tickets to her show at Club Nokia in Los Angeles in April. The 23-year-old bisexual rapper and singer has been tweeting gay slurs, sex lingo and promoting a Jezebelarticle titled "The Myth of the Fag Hag and Dirty Secrets of the Gay Male Subculture."
Banks, who in 2013 defended her use of hate speech -- specifically the word faggot-- in an online spat with Perez Hilton, is unabashedly slinging that slur once again and appropriating other gay terminology, in a new Twitter tirade:
What prompted all this was a tweet battle between Banks and gay Vice associate editor and blogger Mitchell Sunderland a week ago. Sunderland wrote about it in a post titled "My Bizarre Twitter Beef with Azealia Banks and Her Homophobia."
Sunderland says the drama started Saturday when he tweeted a question about Banks in response to what he described as her "series of questionable tweets mocking 'twinks,' a.k.a. skinny, barely legal gay boys."
Within hours of Sunderland's tweet, asking, "Does Azealia Banks even know what a twink is?" -- without a hashtag or Twitter handle that might immediately draw the singer's attention -- Banks fired off two responses, each containing the kind of vulgar language for which her tweets are notorious, and each taking an antagonistic stand as a reply:
Sunderland, after admitting he is a fan of Banks's music but sees her as a one-hit wonder, wrote that he was stunned to think this is what she does on a Saturday night: surfing the blogosphere and Twitterverse for references to herself.
He referenced his familiarity with the 2013 Twitter tussle between Banks and Perez Hilton, in which she called the gossip blogger "a messy faggot." In that incident, Banks declined to back away when called out, and only dug herself in deeper: "A faggot is not a homosexual male," she tweeted. "A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There's a BIG difference."
As she and Hilton traded barbs, Banks got the most criticism of the entire exchange for a tweet wondering why society has accepted the n word "as a colloquialism ... but will not accept 'faggot'?"
So when Sunderland decided to engage Banks, he says he knew full well what he was getting into. As their battle dragged on past midnight, he challenged her directly:
Banks replied crudely: "*pats pussy* *meows*"
Sunderland wrote wrote that she then turned their war of words into a question of gender identity, as if that had anything to do with sexual orientation, and once again began stressing the point that she alone in this battle of the bits had a vagina.
She repeated that boast over and over, at one point claiming she was the master "of all things febulous, feminine and clever. Like I said.... I own AWWWWWLLLLLL if this. It's mine."
Soon, Sunderland had enough. And drawing upon his innermost defensive instinct, he went into the mode his childhood friends had dubbed "Bitchell."
And although Sunderland moved on and was expecting to find Banks had as well by the next morning, he discovered she had attacked him for what he earned at Vice, declaring in his blog: "as if anyone becomes a writer to make money."
That turned out to be the tweet seen 'round the LGBT world. Sunderland wrote that it received more than 11,000 notes from Banks fans who decided they were now ex-fans. One tweeted, rhetorically: "how is it possible to pack this much ignorance into 140 characters?"
And even though Sunderland never reengaged her, the singer has not let up, tweeting Monday, "Gay media has to stop using homophobia as a means to try and victimize itself and scar the names of its opponents.... Phobia would imply that I am scared of gay men or dislike them because of what they choose to do sexually... I promise, no one gives a fuck what u decide to do in your private lives... But I also promise, that no matter how bitchy and clever you think you are.. That I will out-bitch you."
If only that's where it ended. Instead, Banks tweeted disparaging remarks using other terms particular to gay men, such as "bussy," and alleging she was a victim of both white privilege and what she termed, "white media."
And an Instagram post on February 5th echoed her defense against Perez Hilton in 2013: "Why is it okay... For a gay man to colloquially use the word 'Bitch' to refer to women, but it is not okay for me to colloquially use the word Faggot to refer to myself or an opponent? Do gay men get a special pass to say misogynist things simply because they Like dick?"
"The argument," her post continues, " is that countless gay kids hear the word 'faggot' before they are beat to death... But do you know how many women hear the word 'Bitch' before their husbands beat them to death? Before they are murdered/raped....?"
Sunderland tweeted earlier this week that "Azealia Banks went on a homophobic rant about me. She told me to 'keep blogging bitch,' so I wrote about our spat."
In response to an Advocate request for comment, Sunderland said, "Looking back at my tweets, and considering Azealia Banks's large platform and influence on her fans, I am confident I made the right choice to stand up to her homophobia and explain the comments' offensiveness in the article."
Banks has also attracted supporters, both women and men identifying themselves as gay, declaring they are in agreement with Jezebel's articles about "gay subculture" and what they say are misogynistic tendencies of gay men.
And late Thursday, Banks hinted in a tweet and on Instagram that there would be good news for her career ahead: "Ugh, I can't wait to piss in mouths with next week's announcements."
No official word yet on what Banks has in store.