Recently, my nine year-old nephew came running into the room, eager to find a seat to watch a performance by Iggy Azalea on an awards show. He sat, enraptured by her performance, yelling, “Iggy!” utterly oblivious to the look of chagrin and dismay on my face, as I, too, tuned in to watch this white girl from Australia, turned ATL-style rapper, caricature everything I love about Southern Hip Hop.
The look and feeling of chagrin has stayed with me each time I turn on my radio and hear Iggy’s hit song, “Fancy” coming through my speakers. And some of the dismay I feel is at myself, because almost without fail, I immediately start bobbing my head to the beat.
Iggy is a protégé of T.I., one of my all-time favorite rappers. Though T.I. is known for Atlanta-style, crunk Southern bravado that is a hallmark of Black culture in that city, according to journalist/blogger Bené Viera, T.I. recently expressed disappointment that “we’re at a place in America where we still see color.” Apparently, color is only relevant when he’s talking about racist acts against Black men, but not when he has to think through his complicity in white appropriation of Hip Hop music.