Cover Appearance and 10-Page Pictorial Shot by Ellen von Unwerth
Featured in the Magazine’s Annual April Sex & Music Issue
Hip-Hop sensation Azealia Banks is featured on the cover of Playboy’s annual April Sex & Music issue (on newsstands Friday, March 20), and bares all inside the magazine in a no-holds-barred interview that’s just as eye-popping as her frisky 10-page nude pictorial.
The 23-year-old rapper from Harlem channeled France’s iconic Le Chat Noir for legendary photographer Ellen von Unwerth, and sat down with Playboy Contributing Editor Rob Tannenbaum to discuss her new album, Broke With Expensive Taste; volley ideas about reparations; defend her use of language; and let everyone know what she doesn’t like about America.
Following are a selection of quotes from Banks’ conversation with Playboy, with the complete interview, pictorial outtakes, and behind-the-scenes video from her shoot available now at www.playboy.com/azealiabanks:
On whose career she wants to emulate: “Jay Z. That’s the only person I have my eye set on. The race thing always comes up, but I want to get there being very black and proud and boisterous about it. You get what I mean? A lot of times when you’re a black woman and you’re proud, that’s why people don’t like you. In American society, the game is to be a nonthreatening black person. That’s why you have Pharrell or Kendrick Lamar saying, ‘How can we expect people to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves?’ He’s playing that nonthreatening black man sh*t, and that gets all the white soccer moms going, ‘We love him.’ Even Kanye West plays a little bit of that game—‘Please accept me, white world.’ Jay Z hasn’t played any of those games, and that’s what I like.”
On people disliking her Twitter rants: “It’s always about race. Lorde can run her mouth and talk sh*t about all these other bitches, but y’all aren’t saying she’s angry. If I have something to say, I get pushed into the corner.”
On why she believes that discrepancy is all about race: “Because y’all mother**kers still owe me reparations! [laughs] That’s why it’s still about race. Really, the generational effects of Jim Crow and poverty linger on. As long as I have my money, I’m getting the f**k out of here and I’m gonna leave y’all to your own devices.”
On wanting to leave the U.S.: “I hate everything about this country. Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma—that’s really America.”
On being unapologetic about her way with words: “Yeah, I am loud and boisterous. And I am black, and I am a pain in your ass. But I’m not really talking to you, and that’s what makes those people mad. You’re not invited to this conversation. This is not about you.
“When you rip a people from their land, from their customs, from their culture—there’s still a piece of me that knows I’m not supposed to be speaking English, I’m not supposed to be worshipping Jesus Christ. All this sh*t is unnatural to me. People will be like, ‘Oh, you’re ignorant because you don’t speak proper English.’ No. This is not mine. I don’t even want this sh*t, so I’m going to do whatever the f**k I want with this language. I’m going to call you a fag or a cracker or a bitch.”
On never feeling the need to explain herself: “I get annoyed with the fact that I’m even asked to explain myself. Why do I have to explain this to y’all? My little white fans will be like, ‘Why do you want reparations for work you didn’t do?’ Well, you got handed down your grandfather’s estate and you got to keep your grandmother’s diamonds and pearls and sh*t.
“I get upset when people are like, ‘Why don’t you just make music?’ What would happen if I couldn’t sing? Then I’d just be another black bitch to y’all. It’s really f**king annoying. Black people need reparations for building this country, and we deserve way more f**king credit and respect.”
On being fearless at a young age: “People have always been scared of me. I punched my teacher in the face one time when I was in preschool. We were playing house, and the lady was like, ‘I’m a monster! I’m gonna eat your family!’ I punched her right in the eye. [laughs] It was a Head Start program, so I was three.”
On being the same person now that she was as a kid: “We had journals in second grade. I went to PS 166, on 88th Street and Columbus Avenue, and we had a teacher I could not stand. The black kids got in trouble all the time. We were loud or whatever, but whenever she told a white kid to quiet down and they did, she’d be like, whatever. But if she told a black kid to quiet down and one of them sucked their teeth, she’d put them in the corner. I wrote in the journal one day, ‘I cannot stand this white bitch teacher. F**k this white bitch.’ She found my journal and called my mother, who was embarrassed, because my mother used to say stuff like that—‘White people are of the devil. Stay away from them.’ That teacher was scared of me after that.”
On her destructive impulses: “In my adulthood I’m having to destroy all these things society really wants you to think. The history textbooks in the U.S. are the worst if you’re not white. Young black kids should have their own special curriculum that doesn’t start from the boat ride over from Africa. All you know as a black kid is we came over here on a boat, we didn’t have anything, and we still don’t have anything. But what was happening in Africa? What culture were we pulled away from? That information is vital to the survival of a young black soul.”
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About Broke With Expensive Taste
Broke With Expensive Taste was released digitally in November 2014 and immediately topped the charts worldwide and received critical praise from the world’s leading and most respected publications. Now, Azealia Banks’ impressive debut is available on CD via Prospect Park Records in stores nationwide and on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Azealia Banks merchandise is now also available online here.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
04/10 – Coachella Festival – Indio, CA – SOLD OUT
04/16 – Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA
04/17- Coachella Festival – Indio, CA – SOLD OUT
05/11 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY – SOLD OUT
05/15 – Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL – TICKETS
05/19 – Paradise Club – Boston, MA – SOLD OUT
For tickets, go to www.azealiabanks.com