Azalea responds to the criticisms she received from the hip-hop community about her appropriating the culture without understanding it:
"So many people think that I don't care about rap music and the community, but I absolutely care about it, to the core of my being," said Azalea. "That’s why the Q-Tip incident annoyed me so much: Why do you think I need a history lesson? Because surely if I did know anything about hip hop, I wouldn’t mix pop and rap together? Or I wouldn’t rap in an American accent if I truly understood? I just have a different perspective about rap music."
She may not have grown up in America but that doesn't mean she hasn't learned anything about the social climate since moving her 10 years ago -- and it affects her too:
"The United States has such a fraught history with race, and I don't think I realized how prevalent racism still is and how hurt people still are until I moved here and saw it for myself," she said. "It's not something you can understand when you're on the other side of the world. But many people think I still live in that bubble and that I don't understand that the United States is set up in a way that doesn't benefit minorities. I've lived here for 10 years now, and I don't want it to be that way either. I'm marrying a black man and my children will be half black -- of course I care about these things."
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She still hates Azealia Banks but wishes she'd never gotten in a fight with Papa John's:
"If I could, I would Men in Black memory-erase 2015, I totally would... I think the Azealia Banks thing is what really started it all," she said. "We don’t like each other on a personal level, and that has gone on for many years -- before the Black Lives Matter incident happened. So when I dismissed her, people started to think that I dismissed the whole movement, but I wasn’t trying to dismiss Black Lives Matter -- I was trying to dismiss her because it's our personal shit. I don't think the subject matter of her tweet was invalid; I just think it was emotionally charged and driven by something else, and the whole thing got so misconstrued. I just wish I had acknowledged the issue head-on because it made people think I don’t care about what’s going on socially and what’s happening in America, and I do care. Even though I still hate Azealia Banks, I wish I had said it in a way that didn't make people think I was oblivious to the movement. And I wish I hadn't gotten into a fight with Papa John's!"
She's back on social media, but has some perspective on what went wrong -- online and in real life:
"For me, what happened, not just on social media but with everything in my career, was like a whirlwind," she said. "I started to feel like I was losing control over my own life.... It was really scary. I even think back to the Papa John’s incident and ask myself 'Why did that piss you off so much?' I see now that it spiraled into something so quickly because I felt like I didn’t have any power over my own life. At that point, I needed to take some time, step away and just get that control back."
She's not going to become a socially conscious artist just because of last year's incidents. She still is all about the fun:
“I think it's important for music to reflect what is going on socially and for there to be those kinds of voices within the industry." she said. "But I want to be that person you can listen to for four minutes and not think about that stuff at all, and it’s important to have that too.... I’m not going to suddenly start rapping about political matters; it’s just not what I do. There are other great people who do that, like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. I’m not here to offer that commentary, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I don’t think everyone has to be everything -- like, does Katy Perry have to start making songs about politics? I think it’s good to still be able to have a little fun."
Read Azalea's full Elle Canada interview here.