Amethyst Amelia Kelly … Igloo Australia … call Iggy Azalea whatever you want, just don’t call her “Becky.” Today in Dumb Opinions About Beyoncé’s LEMONADE that no one asked for, Australian “rapper” Iggy Azalea expressed grave offense at being called “Becky,” referencing that already infamous line from Bey’s stunning visual album: “He better call Becky with the good hair.” Iggy, you see, believes “Becky” is a negative racial stereotype about, gasp, white women. OH NOES.
Alright, if I must, allow me to quickly parse the lyric itself, since Iggy decided to make it all about her. In the context of the song “Sorry,” “Becky with the good hair” refers to the other woman that Beyoncés man (presumably Jay Z, if LEMONADE is indeed explicitly biographical and about her marriage) is cheating with. Yes, “Becky” has been used as a generic slang term for white women, including by artists other than Beyoncé, and sometimes, more specifically, white women who give a lot of blowjobs. But what “good hair” means to the Black community, in particular Black women, as Rebecca Thomas at MTV points out, is far more complex than what Iggy’s two braincells put together. She writes:
The idea of good hair actually has its roots in slavery, when white owners would deliberately separate and assign slaves with light skin and straighter “good hair” to household work, leaving the punishing field work to those with darker skin and kinky African hair. …
These damaging messages were passed on for centuries, and black women and girls in particular had to do the work of deprogramming. …
So when Beyonce tells her cheating man he “better call Becky with the good hair,” she’s nodding to our historical baggage and signifying far more than just a girl with a bouncy blowout.
So, for starters, Iggy Azalea’s assumption that Beyoncé’s use of “Becky” negatively refers to white women who suck dick is a pretty goddamn simplistic and self-centering interpretation, surprise surprise. But regardless of what in the hell Beyoncé meant, racial stereotypes about white people do not have the same impact or consequences as stereotypes about people of color, because white people are not oppressed by a racist system. To conflate “Becky with the good hair” with actual racism is DUMB AS FUCK and yet:
And of ALLLLL people to call out Beyoncé for racist stereotyping, Iggy Azalea? Quite a hypocritical hill to die on, Amethyst. Iggy has not only tweeted straight up actual racist shit herself (Mic has a good roundup of Iggy’s tomfoolery), but she’s made an entire lucrative career out of her totally painful Southern Black woman impression and appropriating Black culture overall. So, like, it’s really hard to muster a single fuck that Iggy is sad about being called “Becky.” Go home, girl, I hear Australia’s nice this time of year.
Meanwhile, Twitter naturally took Iggy to task. Here are some of my favorite responses:
Original by: Amelia McDonell-Parry @xoamelia | 4.26.16 | 4:56 pm