It’s probably better that I didn’t record my conversation with Azealia Banks. Because if I did, I would still be masochistically replaying my quavering voice, my stuttering rebuttals, my empty pauses, as Azealia Banks, a woman I admire, looks at me with big-lashed, unimpressed eyes and challenges my writing something about her “being over.”
The facts: I wrote an op-ed about my concerns over the machinations of internet culture which values and devalues at an ever accelerated rate, picking up memes and personalities, and then exhausting them until they’re no more than a punchline, a #hashtag. I used Azealia as an example. It wasn’t even about you, okay? It was kind of about you, but it was more about image, about our culture. I mean, you’re so talented, and that’s the thing, this culture, it’s… this is me rambling defences to Azealia who sits there looking in my direction, purple lips pursed, arms crossed.
That started to slip from fact into emotional memory. I’ll try again: I wrote a column for Bullett that began, “I’m worried we are already growing sick of Azealia Banks.” As I walked into my interview with the rising starlet yesterday and am introduced to her as Fiona from Bullett by one of the four M.A.C. Cosmetics PR girls present, the first thing out of Azealia’s mouth is about how Bullett just published an article, “about my being over.” She doesn’t seem pleased.
The smart thing to do would have been to play dumb. So instead I go, “I wrote that!”
I was invited to interview Azealia Banks about her collaboration with M.A.C. and the lipstick she designed with them, Yung Rapunxel: “a deep plum, cream lipstick with an amplified, semi-matte finish named after Banks’ alter ego.” I asked her how it feels to have her own M.A.C. lipstick, which puts her in the ranks with Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, RuPaul, Lil’ Kim, and Cindy Lauper. “As a woman, I’m honored,” she said. I asked her how it feels to be honored as such with just one EP out. No comment.
More facts: Azealia loves M.A.C.’s Zoom Lash mascara. Fans started lining up outside the M.A.C. store on Broadway in Soho at 1pm, over six hours before her scheduled showtime. Yung Rapunxel was inspired by Azealia’s plum purple hair, because you can’t do green in fall. The lipstick is 90% sold out online in the United States. Despite what this month’s issue of Spin says (Azealia is the cover girl), she’s moving back to New York. How come? No comment.
This NYFW, the only show Azealia plans on attending is Jeremy Scott. She’s busy working on her album. Her boots, thigh-high, corseted, combat boots, are vintage JPG for Dr. Martens. She is really, really beautiful in person.
That’s all I can tell you. Azealia no commented her way through most of my questions. What does she think of the way the internet has made it so popstars can be self-creations, as opposed to pre-fab? Of the way success comes so fast? Did she want to reply to any of the contents of my article? I don’t know if she declined to respond because she didn’t want to get into it, because she had no opinions aside from not liking my superficial suggestion of her being over, or because she was there to do a job, and that was sell lipstick.
The fashion industry is the worst, among cultural forms, when it comes to embracing and consuming the new, of loves-ing it to waste. Fashion, and its bed partner beauty, were among the earliest Azealia adopters. She’s starred in more photoshoots than she’s made singles. One year out of obscurity and she’s the new M.A.C. girl. The column I wrote was about my wariness of this kind of fast-forward cultural consumption, of not valuing the stuff that’s really good, like Azealia Banks.