Iggy Azalea is a well-known rapper in the US. She is one of the only artists to simultaneously occupy the top two spots of the Billboard Hot 100.
Unfortunately, she often makes headlines for the wrong reasons. Her race and ethnicity are often questioned as she is accused of appropriating Black culture or “blackfishing.”
Today we’re going to answer the question on many people’s mind…
Is Iggy Azalea Black?
No, Iggy Azalea is not Black; she is Caucasian. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the rapper, much of which is focused on her race and ethnicity. Thankfully, the answer to the question of whether or not she’s black is simple.
But why does she appear as black to some? We explore her race, ethnicity, parents & more to discover why this could be.
Iggy Azalea’s race and ethnicity have been questioned since she began her career back in 2012. As a rap artist with pale skin who speaks and raps with what many consider an African-American English accent, people often question whether or not she is actually black.
If we define “race” by a person’s physical and biological attributes (like skin color), then Iggy Azalea would be considered caucasian. She is likely of European descent as her family has a long history of residing in Australia.
Azalea has stated that her family was part of the First Fleet, the original ships that brought the first European settlers to Australia in 1787.
Iggy Azalea’s parents are Tanya Kelly and Brendan Kelly, native Australians. Her mother, Tanya, a maid who cleaned hotels and houses, has a long family history in Australia.
Though her father, Brendan, a comic artist and painter, is also a native Australian, it is believed he may have some closer ties to Europe. Some speculate that there is a potential for Scottish ancestry in his recent history.
Like Iggy, both of her parents would be considered white.
The simple answer here is no, Iggy Azalea is not albino. To be considered albino, a person would need to have no pigment in their skin, hair, or eyes.
This would result in extremely pale, almost translucent skin, stark white hair, and eyes that usually appear pinkish in color. Iggy Azalea displays none of these traits.
Though her skin is white, it is not so pale that it would be considered albino. Her hair is a light-colored blonde, but not white nor close to it. And, her eyes are dark, appearing hazel in color with both green and brown coloring.
So, why is it so often rumored that Iggy Azalea has albinism? These rumors can be traced back to a short-lived Twitter feud with fellow rapper Snoop Dogg that began not long after her career launched. Even then, there was controversy about her appropriation of Black culture.
Snoop Dogg posted a photo of an albino African-American woman with cornrows captioning it “Iggy Azalea No Makeup.” Iggy did not respond kindly to the insult, and the feud escalated from there.
Though his words may appear to be mean-spirited, and they were, they were also a commentary on the views of many at the time. Iggy was “pretending to be Black.” Snoop was simply joining the conversation by making a very public statement.
Unfortunately, the images sparked rumors that Iggy is, in fact, albino. Clearly, these rumors have persisted over the years. But, Iggy displays no albino attributes and would not be considered albino by any means.
On June 7, 1990, Amethyst Amelia Kelly was born to parents Tanya and Brendan Kelly in Sydney, Australia. Amethyst is better known by her professional moniker, Iggy Azalea. The name was derived from a childhood dog (Iggy) and a street her family lived on (Azalea).
Though she was born in Sydney, this is not where she was raised. Instead, she was raised in a tiny New South Wales Town located about five miles from the coast. The town is known as Mullumbimby.
Coined “The Biggest Little Town in Australia,” it boasts a population of a little over 3,000 residents. However, Iggy claims it was closer to 1,500 residents when she lived there prior to moving to the US.
In 2006, when she was 16-years-old, Iggy relocated from her small Australian town to the United States. Though she was initially just visiting a friend of hers, she decided to stay and pursue the music career she had always dreamed of. She has resided in the United States ever since.
Initially, she lived in Miami, Florida, after moving to the United States. She moved to Houston, Texas, a few years later, though she didn’t stay there long.
Shortly after her move to Houston, she relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. This is where her music began to get noticed by those in the music industry. Finally, she settled in Los Angeles as her career began to take off.
While she was born and raised in Australia, she has spent nearly half her life living in the United States.
With people questioning her race and ethnicity so often throughout her career, it comes as no surprise that those same people are often curious about her nationality as well. While race and ethnicity are often confused with each other, nationality is more clearly defined.
Still, some may confuse the three. Nationality is not the same as race or ethnicity. People of many ethnicities and races can share the same nationality. America, for example, is considered something of a melting pot. This means there are people of multiple ethnicities, races, and cultures all coinciding in the same area with little to no separation.
We typically define nationality by where a person was born. However, some may define it as where a person has citizenship.
So, where is Iggy Azalea from? Since she was born and raised in the country of Australia, then we would consider her Australian.
Some may question whether or not she is also American. This answer is a bit more complicated. Since she is a permanent US resident, an American citizen, she may technically also be considered American. Still, by definition, we would call her Australian.
Remember that nationality is not an indicator of a person’s race or ethnicity. To determine her race and ethnicity, we would need to look at her parents and other ancestors and her cultural origin and background.
As we’ve already mentioned, ethnicity is often confused with race and occasionally confused with nationality. Unlike race or nationality, ethnicity is based on several different characteristics. A person’s race, language, religion, or culture can all be used to determine a person’s ethnicity.
Even more confusing, a person’s ethnicity and nationality can sometimes be the same. However, this is not always the case. As mentioned above, people can share a nationality and still belong to different ethnic groups. So, the two are not mutually inclusive.
In this case, nationality and ethnicity are the same. Iggy Azalea’s ethnicity would be considered Australian, though she is believed to have some Aboriginal (Indigenous Australian) ancestry in her bloodline. Iggy has been quoted claiming her family suffers from an eye condition that only those with Aboriginal ancestry can contract.
Cultural appropriation is not a new concept, nor is it unheard of in today’s society. There are plenty of examples of people adopting the customs, cultures, and even accents of cultures they do not belong to. Today’s social media culture has made problems like this even more apparent.
Iggy Azalea has been accused of appropriating black culture since her debut on the music scene in 2012. While she often makes statements regarding these accusations, she is hardly innocent.
The “blaccent” she adopts when rapping, sometimes referred to as “verbal blackface,” is blatant and often called out by other rappers, scholars, and the general public.
She has also been accused of using inappropriate or racist lyrics like those in her song “D.R.U.G.S.” where she refers to herself, a white Australian, as a “runaway slave master.” Supposedly she was making a play on Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics from his song “Look Out for Detox”: “When the relay starts, I’m a runaway slave.”
She has since publicly apologized for this incident, though she is open about her refusal to apologize for how she handles her career and her music. It seems she is very aware of the controversy she causes.
Iggy has acknowledged her controversies publicly on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, while she is often willing to apologize for individual incidents, she seems unwilling to change her ways. In fact, she was back in the news in 2021, accused of the same exact thing again.
Where Azalea has not sunk to the level of “blackface” previously, she is skirting the edge in her newly released video “I Am The Stripclub.”
She is currently being accused of “blackfishing” in this music video, released in June 2021. This relatively new term refers to the practice of non-POC celebrities and public figures who use makeup, lighting, editing, or even cosmetic surgery to appear more black or mixed race.
This is similar to blackface, though not the same. Blackface is the act of painting one’s skin black as a costume. It is often satirical in nature, sometimes used as a Halloween costume, and always inappropriate.
In the video, Iggy is seen wearing a long, black wig with skin that appears much darker than her natural shade. Azalea claims that this is entirely baseless.
She tweeted that she is wearing the same foundation shade she has always worn and that the darkening of her skin is due to the low lighting of the club scene being filmed. Azalea claims that she is wearing the same shade of foundation she has always worn and that the darker skin results from the dim lighting in the club scene being filmed.
Is Iggy Azalea Black? Final Thoughts
No, I Iggy Azalea is not black. She’s Caucasian. She is however involved in black culture through her music.
Whether or not you agree with the accusations of “blackfishing” in her videos, it is clear that Iggy dabbles in some level of cultural appropriation. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.