The nonprofit organization that throws Pittsburgh's Pride event is defending itself after hiring pop star Iggy Azalea as a headliner for their June event, Pittsburgh City Paper reports.
Azalea is an Australian rapper and singer who found big-time success in the States; she now has a new single out with Britney Spears. But Azalea is often criticized for stealing her style and sound from African-American culture. She's also been accused of blatant racism and homophobia thanks to tweets she sent a few years back. Most have been deleted, but some reference the term "no homo" and can be viewed here.
Azalea's detractors took to social media to oppose her appearance at Pride, but the Delta Foundation fired back, saying they wouldn't hire someone they believed was intolerant. They wrote the following on their website:
If we believed that Iggy Azalea was racist or homophobic, we certainly would not have selected her to headline Pittsburgh Pride. We also don't believe she would have agreed to come if she was racist or homophobic. Iggy is a highly regarded artist and female entertainer and we have received a tremendous amount of positive messages from members of the community and our allies both locally and nationally that are excited that she will be performing at Pittsburgh Pride.
We believe that the push back is part of a larger discussion happening across America as it relates to race and gender. We believe that same conversation needs to happen here in Pittsburgh and today reached out to several community leaders about facilitating a discussion about race and gender specifically as it relates to the LGBT community. We look forward to being a part of this conversation in the very near future as we work to make Pittsburgh the most livable city for all.
Regardless, some see the scandal as more about Delta and less about Azalea.
"The Iggy Azalea thing was just a last straw for folks," Michael David Battle, founder of the Garden of Peace Project, a Pittsburgh LGBT group, told City Paper. "Since Delta took [Pride] over, it's been a white, cis, gay man's event.