Jake Shears Is Not Buying Azealia Banks’ ‘Context’ Argument


Gay singer Jake Shears has waded into the Azealia Banks versus Perez Hilton feud, and he's definitely not standing by Banks, who blew up her gay fan base by called Hilton a "messy faggot" on Twitter.


Banks claimed that her bisexuality, the context of her remark and a complicated hierarchy of gendered denigrations of both gay men and women, made her use of the f-word a-okay, but Shears, frontman for Scissor Sisters, disagrees, writing, "It all about context. And right now, I'm sorry, but context is not on your side." He also reminded Banks that singer Donna Summer was "ostracized" for years for her past comments about gay fans, something that may very well happen to Banks.


GLAAD also came out against Banks. "[That] is an ugly, archaic word that was used to stigmatize a population of people who suffer high rates of violence both here in the U.S. and abroad," said Matt Kane, the group's Associate Director of Entertainment Media. "As far as we’ve come in this society, seeing it used by an artist many young people may look up to is painful, but even more so for those young fans, many of whom GLAAD has heard from."

GLAAD also offered, via Twitter, Banks an opportunity to open a dialogue that they hope will help her change her ways, or at least change her word choice.



  1. Wayne says

    I think that this is exactly what Banks wants. I guess she thinks there is no such thing as bad press. If it can work for Chris Brown why not her? It’s sad and pathetic, but then again, so is she.

  2. Dan CObb says

    Azealia Banks?

    Never heard of her. Sounds like one of those divas that some gay men turn into an icon…
    which I never understood. Nor did I ever care for that disco-type music. INsufferable!
    I think most of these diva singers really at base disrespect gay men. It’s a weird relationship between that segment of the gay community and the divas they seem to hunger for. I don’t get it at all. I just don’t get the appeal at all.

  3. yeahisaidit says

    Jeez, I’m gay and I think Perez is a faggot! And thsat’s in no defense of Azealia….So f’ing sue me….We call one another these names ALL the time. Please.

  4. shane says

    not sure why jake shears joined the fray, and doubly unsure why he used ‘donna summer’ example…but this might turn into a white vs black thing…that won’t be cute.

  5. Jerry says

    @shane why are you trying to make this a race thing? I don’t like Hilton either, but faggot is an ugly word and I don’t particularly care to hear it from LGBT anymore than from str8 people.

  6. Billy says

    Adam Lambert said “fag” on a show a while back. No one cared. Azealia Banks called Perez – someone she doesn’t know – a faggot on Twitter in order to hurt his feelings. People care. Because they’re totally different situations. Get a brain, gurl.

  7. Francis says

    You know what annoys me about a lot of gay/bi men, and a lot of straight girls who are friends with these gay/bi men?

    They’ll say “I’m not offended by the word fa**ot/that’s so gay (which is finally dying out)/queer/etc.”, they’ll say they use these terms all the time, and yet they DO NOT like it when someone who isn’t in the “in” group uses these words haphazardly, uses these words aggressively and with offensive intent, or just uses these words without any care. They may not get actively hurt by it but they don’t like it and it annoys and offends them, it hits them to a certain extent. They feel it.

    It’s like the black community and the n-word. This whole not being offended by these words unless it’s used like __________ and used by ____________ is sort of ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of gay men do not like the word fa**ot being used in an offensive manner, whether they say they do or don’t, and thus that’s why it’s an issue.

  8. B says

    Overly hype. If black people can call each other niggas.. why can’t a bi Girl call a gay guy a faggot?

    Perez Hiliton called will.I.am a faggot… but that’s not frowned upon?

  9. Stuart says

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Azealia’s visible minority fanbase, (racial and other) whether gay or straight, are not all that bothered by her calling Perez a “messy faggot”. As for whether or not her bisexuality gives her a “community pass” one can easily understand her thinking provided one does view the conversation through the prism of “in the community” communication common to minority groups. That so many are angry with her for referring to Perez in this fashion seems to be a very “neo conservative” reaction to what was a very common turn of phrase within the gay community towards one of its own.
    I’d rather blame this situation on the conservative thinking becoming epidemic in America’s Homosexual community, rather than a failing on Azealia or her choice of words.
    Suddenly we gays are thin skinned, without bite, bland, ordinary and easily offended. We’ve become the very people who oppressed us, and from whom we are fighting so hard for inclusion.

  10. Fahd says

    Put Twitter, a way of impulsively expressing one’s thoughts better kept to oneself, and a lack of education and maybe a little alcohol or other intoxicant together and you have a formula for widespread promulgation of regrettable messages. The aftermath is that the Tweeter is left with the choice of apologizing profusely and begging forgiveness or defending the indefensible. Some people have been raised not to apologize so they keep digging a deeper hole.

    I want to be compassionate when something like this happens, but I think it better to sacrifice the individual’s feelings to the greater good of using this “incident” to help make progress toward eradicating the “f” word from our collective consciousnesses.

    No doubt socioeconomic background has something to do with this. We also need to think about where AzeliaBanks comes from and where, if anywhere, she was educated. There’s an opportunity there to reform the education system and to do some “countermessaging”.

    Finally, I am wondering why Perez Hilton is always at the center of these dustups. Wasn’t he the one involved with the beauty queen who advocated “opposite marriage”. Let’s not blame the victim, but I hate to read manufactured news.

  11. Paul R says

    Umm, Fahd, he’s at the middle of them because he says nasty/childish things about people on his widely read blog, and it provokes people. It’s not really a mystery.

  12. John Dough says

    Dan Cobb impression:

    “Azealia Banks? Never heard of her. She sounds like a place where people put money. I don’t know why gay men like Banks. Banks lending to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back helped to ruin our economy. It’s weird that gay men would want to have anything to do with Banks. I just don’t understand it. The end.”

    Lesson: if the first thing you type is that you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to stop talking right then.

    The More You Know!™

  13. Yasssssss! says

    What Paul R said: “[Perez] says nasty/childish things about people on his widely read blog, and it provokes people.”

    In two words: messy faggot

    Azealia Banks may be a loudmouthed hoodrat, but she was right about Perez Hilton.

  14. Fahd says

    For once I am ahead of the trend. I stopped reading Perezhilton’s blog years ago. I thought he would have faded away by now. I’ve heard that his sister actually writes most of the posts.

  15. says

    i’m guessing some folks here didn’t actually *read* her context – which reveals that she likes to spew the same nonsense as the misogynistic, self-loathing homosexual trolls who like to vomit all over internet message boards.

    rock on, Jake Shears. atta boy

  16. JP says

    I think it’s much ado about nothing honestly. She’s a member of the black LGBT community. Let’s face it, they use this word as frequently as the black community uses the N-word. I posted this story in one of my black gay message boards and no one, I mean NO ONE was phased. In other words, her target market doesn’t care, she will continue to sell records to those she intends to sell them to and nothing will change over her use of a word her target market uses freely.

  17. JP says

    And let’s not forget that Dan Savage called someone(can’t remember name) a house faggot. We all seemed to get a good kiki out of that so I see no difference here.

  18. Isaak says

    Points being missed:
    She used the word in a mean, derogatory way. That’s not right for anyone to do, gay, bit, or straight

    She (and most of us) may hate Perez, but there are so many other terms to use against him other than to bring his sexuality into it.

    If you choose to use that f word in a derogatory way, it’s up to you, but you’re as self loathing as the bigots

    I don’t read his blog anymore, either, but he did stop being a bully a couple years (or more) ago, so what many of you are referring to as his harsh words are now irrelevant.

  19. JP says

    LIttleKiwi, you’re still being hypocritical. He used the word in a harsh and mean way and that’s okay? But none when a bisexual woman uses it to a man that was in the midst of insulting her?

  20. cdubois says

    Words only have the power we give them. If Jake and Perez were offended I think it would have been more effective to just ignore her rather than bringing more attention to the situation. The flip side of course is that people want her held accountable for her thoughtless actions and I understand that, so idk…it’s difficult because the problem with policing words is who gets to set the rules? As these comments show, usage is subjective, whatever yiur opinion may be

  21. says

    No, i’m pointing out a wholly different set of circumstances. GOProud are indeed “house-f@ggots” – insecure resentful homosexual cowards who throw “other gays” under the bus in order to win the favor of the bigots whose approval they pathetically seek.

    nuance, sugarpie.

  22. Francis says

    Or should I say, JP, Dan was putting down a gay man/gay men for being FEM. Which is what Azealia did. Her premise is that a f*ggot is a feminine gay man who acts out of line. That’s pretty much what it is. The thing is why do we have a word that is designed to put down only one “type” of gay man and why is that word not accurate to use against others? Why is it a word that is OK for only those who have been certified for lack of a better way to put it and not OK for others?

  23. Francis says

    Kiwi is right. People need to understand context here. Context is everything. No-one is saying “f*ggot can never be used”. But if you’re going to use it, use it correctly. Azealia, honestly, I wouldn’t have cared one bit about her comment had she not added the extra BS about men acting like women, exposing her femphobia, transphobia and misogyny. That is the issue. This isn’t an issue of homophobia in the strictest sense.

    cdubois, you raise an interesting point. Usage is subjective and as we stand, everything is inconsistent. But there is one clear thing——the overwhelming majority of gay men DO NOT like or approve of people using the f-bomb in an offensive, aggressive, attacking manner, if you’re not “approved” of using it. You’re right that it’s best not to get actively hurt by what someone says about you because that allows those words to mean something, but not taking active offense doesn’t mean you OK the words. It’s this “I’m kinda sorta offended, but not really offended” thing that is discrediting things like anti-bullying programs. And the stories we hear of gay men abused by homophobes in hate crimes or hate speech being spewed at us publicly. We don’t like that yet then we want to say don’t be offended by f*ggot. I’m guilty of it myself to a certain extent although I never use the f-word, I can’t do it.

    We need to either decide to be offended by the word or not offended by the word. This halfway offended deal is not helping us being taken seriously when we complain about legitimate homophobic incidents.

  24. Armando says

    That men who act like women is what she uses to insult him is the only problem here. When you’re in show business, a good rule of thumb is to keep the list of people who you don’t like to yourself.

  25. JP says

    You all keep saying context, but do any of you know the context of the statement? I didn’t either until one of my boys(a die hard fan of hers) explained that she was fighting with some artist I’ve never heard of and Perez injected himself into the fray. Not saying it’s right, that was apparently the situation. Now as for Dan Savage, it’s okay for him to use the F word against someone he doesn’t like but not a bisexual woman? I’m not getting it. If we can excuse him for calling an uncle Tom a house F, why can’t we excuse her for calling a messy gay a messy f?

  26. Francis says

    Azealia made her context known in future tweets, where she said a f*ggot is a man who acts like a woman. Then she revised it to basically saying it’s a man who acts like a bitchy woman. Not many were upset with her using the f-word and more offended at her explaining it away as “a guy who acts like a girl” which was found to be, and is, homophobic, femphobic, transphobic and misogynistic.

    So it’s a majorly different case than Dan Savage using the word. Dan Savage did not use the word in a manner meant to slight people for their orientation and gender identity, and Azealia did.

  27. says

    JP, it’s been explained. If you don’t understand it yet then you’re simply not very bright.

    I understand that Irony and Nuance are lost on many, but come on dude.

    Savage’s usage was blisteringly accurate in the face of the cowardice of GOProud and their fellow wimpy @ss-kissing Gay Republicans.

  28. JP says

    Francis, you got me there. I can see your point. Although she wouldn’t have had to give such a crappy explanation if there wasn’t such feigned outrage in the first place. But I do see your point. Wayne, I don’t follow her like that, but the only song of hers I like is about her at the bar with her girlfriend and her boyfriend. It’s not much, but it’s more than I can recall otehr self proclaimed bisexual female artists do. And, as someone mentioned, one of her singles is a tribute to Paris Is Burning.

  29. JP says

    LittleKiwi, you can explain away…I just don’t agree with you. In any case, she will continue performing on the black gay pride circuit and this “event” will be forgotten about in a few days.

  30. johnosahon says

    i cannot believe people are defending Perez on this issue, the idiot has called people much worse, and they gay organisation are defending him? where were they when Perez was calling women men because of their manly features, and calling Will.I.Am the f-word????

  31. Francis says

    Well, she’s lost a lot of fans and she’s apparently been dropped by her record label for other reasons. I doubt the Gaga collaboration in planning will occur. This is going to come back to hurt her, as it has pretty much everyone outside of Eminem and even he doesn’t use the word in his music anymore. Azealia Banks ain’t Eminem. Odd Future is a hip-hop band that could have been huge and have hurt their product due to their hate speech in lyrics. There is a reason why hip-hop artists, and musicians in general, more or less go out of their way to not be slapped with the homophobe label.

    JP, I’m glad you can see my point. The reason there was outrage is pretty simple—–she used the f-bomb in an aggressive, negative way and for most gay men, that doesn’t fly. Especially if you’re not a gay man. Personally, I saw how she was saying it, but I also saw, as was obvious, she was using a gay man’s sexuality to hurt him. So she cannot be excused for what she did and being bisexual doesn’t give her a free pass.

  32. Fahd says

    I’m in the group who thinks that we should make it as unacceptable to say the f-word as it is to say the n-word.

    If you want to use it with your hommies, be my guest, but it should be clear to everyone that it is not acceptable in civilized company.

    Just like a white person using the n-word ought to have an explanation of the particularly special set of circumstances that make it appropriate, a woman,even a bisexual African American one, should not resort to the “f” word in any public forum, Twitter included, unless she has a very special reason of why it is the only word that will do at that moment in time. Here, Amaryllis has no such very special reason – Perez Hilton’s sleeziness notwithstanding.

    I’m glad she’s being criticized and held accountable. One has to believe that the outrage has a deterrent effect.

  33. JP says

    Francis, different points of view can be seen when the conversation is civil. I admit that as an African American gay man, I’m used to hearing the phrase used frequently by those within that community and that includes bisexual women. Therefore I’m probably desensitized. I do disagree that she has and will lose fans over this though. When I posted the news in one of my groups for black gays no one was phased. Absolutely no one. Since that is her target market more or less I think she’s gonna be ok.

  34. Francis says

    You’re not desensitized, JP. I doubt you use the word in neutral social settings. Most gay men don’t, and most gay men wouldn’t like it if they heard it in such circumstances. That’s all I’m really saying. That we all know there is a line between OK/Not OK with f*ggot. I’m biracial and I hear white and black gay guys use the f-bomb, and I hear straight guys with their gay friends using it. Do I like it? Not really. I see the f-bomb as close (not the same but close) to the n-word and therefore I hate using it. But I don’t get offended by it’s usage when it’s by someone who I know isn’t abusing the word or abusing me as a gay man.

    I don’t care Azealia said it and I don’t think most gay men care so you may be right in that she won’t lose her hardcore fans, but I know she will definitely lose some. Some gay men, some LGBT/straight-allies have a total no-go zone mentality with the word. And her “clarification” of using the word is, for me is what is offensive to begin with.

    We as a community need to figure out where that line and how we’re going to respond when someone crosses it before the f-bomb becomes the new n-word and everyone is using it and defending using it in any context.

  35. show me the proof says

    I like Jake, I don’t care about Perez or Azealia. But I’m more upset that Jake still thinks Donna Summer said something phobic. We had this debate here on the towleroad when she died. Show me the proof. There was NEVER ANY witnesses that came forward, no proof ever given, no video, no transcript—just an out of control rumor at the time that blew up in the press. Then after her death a never before published letter she hand typed (before the internet) explaining her shock when she found out what she was accused of. See the towleroad link of the letter:


    …yes, she was religious (so is ally Dolly Parton) but she loved her gay friends and fans. Many think to this day it was actually disco diva and very religious and not gay friendly Gloria Gaynor (of “I will survive” fame) who made the anti-gay statement and it was confused with Donna Summer by the lame reporting at the time. It still seems odd that the full letter was never published by the gay press when they could have to tell the whole story. It was news. Like the gay press had an ax to grind, or were covering their mistake. But again no proof. Show me the proof.

  36. stephen lucas says

    What on earth does Jake Shears know about Donna Summer? Jake, stick to what you know. Same applies to Azealia and her convoluted logic.

    I just get annoyed when people’s tweets are treated as if they are from the Oracle of Delphi. It’s the twitterverse, people. Tweet by name, twits by nature.

  37. Xtian says

    Everybody knows that NOM, the National Organization for Marriage and other anti-gay Christians are behind getting Hispanics and blacks to make trouble for LGBT people. Any time there is trouble look for the anti-gay Christian connection no and you will find out who the anti-gay Christians are, who are behind making trouble for minorities by using minorities against other minorities so they can keep their control and grip over them and their money.

  38. Thomas says

    Another faux-bisexual female in music who takes stupid gay mens money and is really just anti-gay. When will gays wake up and quit supporting azzholes like this? Try supporting some TRUE gay men instead instead of trying to make all these homophobic female singers “Gay Icons”.

  39. Thomas says

    Another faux-bisexual female in music who takes stupid gay mens money and is really just anti-gay. When will gays wake up and quit supporting azzholes like this? Try supporting some TRUE gay men instead instead of trying to make all these homophobic female singers “Gay Icons”.

  40. UFFDA says

    Jeezzzzzze guys, you don’t even know your Vedic philosophy to say nothing of sub-atomic physics. It’s all an illusion. There’s no real substance let alone context, it’s all just tightly spinning particles with no matter in it which is why nothing matters. Just think good thoughts and have a good nights’ sleep zzzzzzzzz.

  41. Fensox says

    @Francis, You are right, both are offensive terms, Savage doesn’t get to say it if Azelia doesn’t get to say it. All or nothing, adding as much context as possible to Savage’s remark doesn’t take away that it was an insult using a word that is sensitive to gay people. He had a reason, I like it, still an insult as much as this is though.

    Nuance isn’t an excuse to be a complete jerk.

  42. alexander says

    Well… She’s right and mad talented too. Yea Perez Hilton is totally a messy fa&&ot. ya’ll. So in agreement besides isn’t she like bisexual or something? Perez will do anything for publicity he deserved that punch in the face by the black eyed peas bodygaurd, too. he’s so disrespectful I can’t stand him.

  43. alexander says

    oh and if anybody ever saw the documentaries about gay sex in the 70’s donna summers wasn’t exactly off the mark. we need to act better than that and check each other when we’re acting messy. real friends look out for their friends.

  44. Polyboy says

    And Shears brings up Donna Summer. He and no one else can point to when and where she said whatever it was she supposedly said.

    She had no idea what was attributed to her until years later. Twitter is another animal entirely where it’s right there for you to see and take screen shots of.

    It’s all well and good to be pissy with Banks but it’s apples and oranges.

  45. Tim Le Rossignol says

    Like other words of loathing and hate,
    there is no context in which “faggot” is
    ok. The only purpose of this word is to
    denigrate and hurt. Gay people who use
    this word about themselves, even in jest,
    succumb to a passive self loathing.
    Be kind to each other.

  46. Onnyjay says

    What a gibbering idiot! Can she even carry a tune in a bucket? Faggot refers to the bundles of wood thrown on the fire in which gays were burnt alive back in the Middle Ages! Does she want to start doing that again? Good luck, Missie, we’ll burn you before you burn us!

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