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Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks

New York-based rapper Azealia Banks recently reported that she had been assaulted by Australian actor Russell Crowe at a dinner and listening party in Crowe’s Los Angeles hotel room. Banks was invited to the event by former Wu-Tang member and actor RZA, who shared the screen with Crowe in The Man With The Iron Fists.

An argument arose between Banks and guests after she accused Crowe and another guest of being “boring white men” because of their lackluster music choices. When a guest reportedly told Banks to “pipe down,” she allegedly responded with a bloody threat:

“You would love it if I broke my glass, stabbed you guys in the throat, and blood would squirt everywhere like some real Tarantino shit.” Banks then supposedly cocked the glass back as though she were going to do something with it when Crowe allegedly hurled racist epithets at Banks and choked her before grabbing her in a “bear hug” and physically removing her from the party, He called security to have her escorted from the premises.

Banks has since filed assault charges against Crowe.

Related: Where Do All the Ain’t Shit Black Femmes Go? Azealia & the Disposal of ‘Difficult’ Black Folks

“To recap my night, I went to a [party] at Russell Crowe’s suite, at which he called me a n—-r, choked me, threw me out and spat at me,” Banks said in a post, which has now been deleted. “Last night was one of the hardest nights of sleep I’ve had in a long time.”

“The men in the room allowed it to happen,” she continued. “I feel terrible today.” A few hours later, Banks posted another Facebook comment. “I have receipts. Stay tuned.”



RZA has not corroborated Banks’ allegations. But none of this means we shouldn’t believe her. Here’s why.

1. Being messy doesn’t make you assault-proof.

Banks is a messy personality riddled with issues that she admits to and mostly owns, but that does not mean that she could not have been the victim of violence.

2. Crowe has a history of violent behavior.

This is not Crowe’s first rodeo, either. He pitched a fit in 2005 when he could not call his wife while staying in NYC’s Mercer Hotel, a $3k/night hotel. He took a phone and chucked it at a hotel employee, nailing them right below the eye.

3. Black women are too often treated like their stories don’t matter.

Complex issues like racism and sexism disproportionately place Black women in the crosshairs of abusers. In a world that treats Black women as disposable objects, it wouldn’t be a surprise if even RZA threw her under the bus, rather than lose face with his Hollywood friends.

Listen with an open heart as the story further unfolds. It may not be as simple as it seems.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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