Azealia Banks is a rapper and singer who is well known among underground audiences, while also being celebrated as a muse in the world of high fashion. After performing on stages as famous as the Coachella music festival, and posing for avant garde brands like Alexander Wang, Banks’ star continues to rise — this time as the cover model for the September issue of Dazed & Confused magazine.
Yet, the daring image, which features Banks locking lips with a blown-up condom like a cigar, might be drawing unwanted publicity. It’s been labelled off-limits for public consumption in over half a dozen nations.
“This is the controversial cover of Dazed & Confused magazine’s September issue that was banned in seven countries before it even hit the stands,” EURWeb reports:
What do you think? The main text of the cover reads “Azealia Banks Blows Up,” slyly referring to the phallic cigar — yet this play on words isn’t tickling everyone’s fancy. “Singapore, Dubai, Malta, Switzerland, India and Thailand,” are the known locales that have banned the issue of the British style bible, according to the London Evening Standard. The seventh has yet to be revealed.
Banks has been described as many things over the brief span she has been in the public eye, ranging from bisexual to bold. Karley Sciortino, who interviewed Banks for the cover story of this issue, adds one more word to the mix: ambitious.
“I really enjoyed interviewing her. She’s an extremely smart and driven person,” Sciortino said in a statement on the Dazed & Confused web site. “The intensity of her ambition is almost scary. You get the sense that there are no laws or limits to what she will do to get where she wants to be. She’s really funny, blunt and flips her hair a lot – like the classic ‘bitch from a teen movie’ hair flip. It’s a good move. My interview with her inspired me to flip my hair more.”
Did Banks’s “scary” ambition drive her to pose so provocatively — to stoke the flames of PR-generating controversy? Despite her reasons, some think Dazed & Confused amped up the outrage by publicizing the banning of the issue over Twitter way before it’s release.
“Honestly, we thought it’d be much worse given the hype,” HuffPost Style opined.
In a much tamer look, Banks also shares the cover of the August/September issue of Vibe with the artist Diplo. It has received little fanfare. By comparison, a few governments have found her Dazed & Confused cover to be beyond the limits of decency — and Banks has generated a ton of press.
Was it worth the free publicity? Or has newcomer Azealia Banks taken things too far?
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.