New York police case fuels hip-hop feud between Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea

A racially charged police case in New York has fuelled a storm between hip-hop artists, with white Australian star Iggy Azalea (above, right) rejecting charges from New York-raised rapper Azealia Banks (above, left) that she has ignored African-
A racially charged police case in New York has fuelled a storm between hip-hop artists, with white Australian star Iggy Azalea (above, right) rejecting charges from New York-raised rapper Azealia Banks (above, left) that she has ignored African-American concerns. -- PHOTO: ST FILE, AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - A racially charged police case in New York has fuelled a storm between hip-hop artists, with white Australian star Iggy Azalea rejecting charges that she has ignored African-American concerns.

New York-raised rapper Azealia Banks took Azalea to task for not immediately raising her voice after a grand jury on Wednesday declined to charge a white police officer in the choking death of a black man.

It is "funny to see people like Igloo Australia silent when these things happen," Banks, who is black, wrote on Twitter.

"Black Culture is cool, but black issues sure aren't huh?"

Azalea later wrote that the issue was the US "racist justice system and police force" and asked her 3.3 million Twitter followers to "sign petitions, hit the streets and protest or donate to groups helping to support and rebuild the community too."

There is "more to sparking a change than trolling on social media. World issues shouldn't be used as a poor excuse to promote fan battles," she wrote in an indirect reply to Banks.

Underlying the feud, Azalea has faced dismay from some hip-hop purists for her rapid rise. She won the trophy for favorite hip-hop artist at the American Music Awards and is predicted to receive Grammy nominations when they are announced on Friday.

Born in Australia, Azalea moved to the United States as a teenager to develop her career and raps in the accent of Southern US hip-hop.

"Why do you imitate us in such a way that I feel like you are actually making fun of us?" Banks wrote on Twitter.

Many other hip-hop artists took to social media to voice outrage about the lack of charges over the killing of Eric Garner, who died after a white police officer put him in a chokehold while arresting him for selling untaxed cigarettes.

The grand jury decision came after another white police officer escaped charges for shooting to death unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.

"Justice is a right all of us are entitled, not a privilege that can be denied," tweeted hip-hop giant Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy.

He posted on Instagram an image of Garner's last words, "I can't breathe," and wrote that artists "need to do whatever we can in a POSITIVE way, to help unite people of all colors in this injustice!"

Wyclef Jean of Fugees fame tweeted: "For good cops that are reading this, please tell me you do not approve watching a cop strangle a man to death."