Azealia Banks is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, and actress.
Let’s see some interesting facts about her!
1. Azealia Amanda Banks was born on May 31, 1991 in Manhattan.
2. Her mother raised her and two older sisters in Harlem, after their father died of pancreatic cancer when she was two years old.
3. Following her father’s death, Banks says that her mother “became really abusive—physically and verbally. Like she would hit me and my sisters with baseball bats, bang our heads up against walls, and she would always tell me I was ugly. I remember once she threw out all the food in the fridge, just so we wouldn’t have anything to eat.”
4. Due to escalating violence, Banks moved out of her mother’s home at age 14 to live with her older sister.
5. At a young age Banks became interested in musical theater, dancing, acting and singing.
6. Aged 10, she began performing in off-Broadway musicals with the Tada! Youth Theater in Lower Manhattan.
7. She had lead roles in three productions (Rabbit Sense, Sleepover, and Heroes) in addition to performing as a soloist.
8. Banks attended Catholic school in Harlem in her childhood, and danced with the National Dance Institute.
9. As a teenager she trained in the performing arts at the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan.
10. At the age of sixteen, Banks starred in a production of the comedy-noir musical City of Angels, where she was found by an agent and sent on auditions for TBS, Nickelodeon, and Law & Order, all without success.
11. It was at this point that Banks decided to end her pursuit of an acting career, citing the large amount of competition and overall sense of unfulfillment as reasons for her retirement.
12. Because of this, Banks began writing rap and R&B songs as a creative outlet. She never finished high school, instead choosing to follow her dream of becoming a recording artist.
13. Under the moniker ‘Miss Bank$’, she released her debut recording “Gimme a Chance” on to the internet on November 9, 2008.
14. The recording was accompanied by the self-produced track “Seventeen”, which sampled the Ladytron song of the same name. Banks sent both tracks to American DJ Diplo.
15. Later that year, Banks signed a development deal with record label XL Recordings and began working with producer Richard Russell in London, leaving the label later that year due to conflicting ideas.
16. Following her departure from XL Recordings, Banks left behind the ‘Miss Bank$’ moniker and formally became Azealia Banks, which preceded a move to Montreal.
17. Using YouTube as a portal, Banks uploaded several demo tracks—including “L8R” and a cover of “Slow Hands” by Interpol. After her Canadian visa expired, Banks returned to New York, where she sold key chains at a Manhattan jazz club and danced at a Queens strip club to make ends meet.
18. In September 2011, Banks released her debut single “212” as a free digital download from her website, which was subsequently released officially on December 6, 2011, as the lead single from her EP 1991. The track attained European moderate chart success, peaking at number fourteen in the Netherlands, number twelve in the United Kingdom and at number seven in Ireland.
19. Though unsigned at the time, Banks began working with British producer Paul Epworth on a debut studio album. It was announced in December 2011 that Banks would feature on “Shady Love”, a track from American band Scissor Sisters’ fourth studio album Magic Hour, though the feature would remain uncredited.
20. Banks released the track “NEEDSUMLUV (SXLND)” on the Internet on January 16, 2012, coinciding with what would have been the thirty-third birthday of the late singer Aaliyah, who is sampled on the track. A week later saw the emergence of a second track titled “Bambi”, which having been produced by Paul Epworth, had been selected as the soundtrack for a Mugler fashion show in Paris.
21. In May 2012, Banks announced plans to release a mixtape—originally titled Fantastic—titled Fantasea. Preceding its release the tracks “Jumanji”, “Aquababe”, and “Nathan” (featuring rapper Styles P) were made available online. Fantasea was released via Banks’ Twitter account on July 11, and was succeeded by the unveiling of Banks’ online radio project, Kunt.FM the following week.
22. Banks was scheduled to release her second single “Esta Noche”, from the Fantasea mixtape, on September 25, 2012, but the track was pulled the day of its release due to sampling disputes between Banks and the track’s producer Munchi.
23. Early in 2012, Banks revealed that her debut album would be called Broke with Expensive Taste, and said that the album would include contributions from various musicians including Toko Yasuda, Theophilus London, Kevin Hussein, and Ariel Pink.
24. In May 2013, Banks announced that the second single from Broke with Expensive Taste would be “ATM Jam”, featuring Pharrell.
25. Banks surprise-released her debut studio album, Broke with Expensive Taste on to iTunes, on November 7, 2014, while the album got its physical release on March 3, 2015.
26. In February 2015, Banks posed nude for the April issue of Playboy, shot by Ellen von Unwerth.
27. In May 2015, it was announced that Banks would be making her acting debut as the main character in the RZA-directed musical drama film Coco. Months later, Banks revealed that she was unable to release new music until March 2016, however, as of February 2016 she is officially cleared of her contract and able to release new music.
28. In February 2016, Banks released a new single, “The Big Big Beat”, with its official video uploaded to Vevo in April. Her mixtape, Slay-Z, was released March 24, 2016.
29. Banks identifies as bisexual. During the few instances where she has discussed her sexuality with the press, Banks has expressed dissatisfaction with society’s labeling of others based on sexual orientation. In an interview with The New York Times, Banks stated, “I’m not trying to be, like, the bisexual, lesbian rapper. I don’t live on other people’s terms.”
30. Banks is known for publicly speaking out on African American civil rights issues, with a commentator at Splice Today describing Banks as having “that hot New York temper where she will pop off if you cross her the wrong way”.
31. In December 2014 she called for over $100 trillion to be paid to African Americans as financial reparations for the enslavement of their ancestors, citing U.S. reparations to Native American communities and the German reparations to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust as a precedent.
32. Using Twitter, she urged young African Americans to take an interest in such issues, adding that “We are the children of the people who perished in the name of modern capitalism and we deserve a piece of that fucking pie.” She added that reparations could be used to improve educational prospects for black Americans.
33. In 2016, Banks took to Twitter to express her endorsement of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, clarifying that “I have no hope for America…I think Donald Trump is evil like America is evil and in order for America to keep up with itself it needs him…politicians are inherently evil, I trust the one who is most transparent.”
34. Banks retracted her endorsement of Trump in October 2016, posting on Facebook, “i made a major mistake endorsing toupey-toupee. Womens rights are important and we must protect them.” After Trump won the presidency, Banks posted “He is my fucking hero right now. I am elated.”
35. In July 2016, Banks admitted to lightening her skin and defended the process of skin bleaching.
36. In December 2016, Banks posted that she had “just had a miscarriage and am pretty taken aback by it all.” She went on to ask her fans for advice and support, posting, “Has anyone else had this same experience who cares to share some words of wisdom or words of anything regarding this topic?”
37. Banks has developed a reputation for disputes with public figures on social media, particularly Twitter, with Complex noting that “she gets more attention for her public feuds than she does for her music”.