Pittsburgh Pride faces protests for booking ‘white rapper’ Iggy Azalea

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A pride festival in Pittsburgh is under fire from radical campaigners, after it booked white rapper Iggy Azalea to perform.

The organisers of Pittsburgh Pridefest, which is set to take place on June 13, have received criticism for allowing the Australian rapper to perform despite a number of controversial comments in the past.

The protesters claim she is “a known homophobic, racist, culturally appropriating ‘rapper'” – citing a tweet she sent in 2011 about “dyke bitches”.

Michael David Battle of local LGBT group Garden of Peace Project attacked event hosts the Delta Foundation, telling the Pittsburgh City Paper: “Since Delta took [Pride] over, it’s been a white, cis, gay man’s event.

“The Iggy Azalea thing was just a last straw for folks.

“It goes back to the root of pride and how pride was started — by two trans women of color who were retaliating against police violence. That type of rebellion of trans women of color is something that has to be celebrated and honoured”.

A statement from the Delta Foundation said: “If we believed that Iggy Azalea was racist or homophobic, we certainly would not have selected her to headline Pittsburgh Pride.

“We also don’t believe she would have agreed to come if she was racist or homophobic.

“Iggy is a highly regarded artist and female entertainer and we have received a tremendous amount of positive messages from members of the community and our allies both locally and nationally that are excited that she will be performing at Pittsburgh Pride.

“We believe that the push back is part of a larger discussion happening across America as it relates to race and gender.

“We believe that same conversation needs to happen here in Pittsburgh and today reached out to several community leaders about facilitating a discussion about race and gender specifically as it relates to the LGBT community. “We look forward to being a part of this conversation in the very near future as we work to make Pittsburgh the most livable city for all.”

Iggy Azalea has previously spoken out against homophobic culture in rap music, saying: “[Homophobia] comes from ignorance and homophobes not being around enough gay people.

“I think straight men, especially in hip-hop, have this notion that a gay man is going to come and make them gay or try to have sex with them, and I always think that’s so weird. I just want to tell them, ‘Hey, they aren’t interested in you. You’re not that cute.’

“I don’t get why some straight men are still so scared of gay people. But I honestly believe it’s like anything else. People just need to be exposed to it long enough for it to not be scary anymore.”

She has also hit out at singers who come out as bisexual – before later insisting they are straight.

The Australian rapper said: “I know I talk about women a lot, and I think women are beautiful and I like talking about them, but I didn’t want people to misconstrue that and think that I was being a fake lesbian.

“Straight’s cool too, you know! It’s almost like gay nowadays is so trendy that people want to be gay and then they don’t.”