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The Schmooze

Is Azealia Banks Jewish now?

Hip-hop artist Azealia Banks proudly posted her engagement ring on Instagram Monday, announcing conceptual artist Ryder Ripps had proposed to her. Unlike most women, who might be showing off a large rock, Banks’ finger was adorned with a chunky gold ring featuring a relief of a menorah. The photo was captioned “I’m Jewish now. MAZEL TOV B******! WE IN HERE.”

Unsurprisingly, she got a mixed response, congratulations mixed in with protests that simply wearing a menorah ring does not a Jew make. (It is unclear if Banks is undergoing a formal conversion.) “My religion is not your jewelry,” commented user danaplotkin_reid.

Banks is well-known for stirring up social media storms over smaller offenses, even coming after a teenage Disney star who called out Banks’ homophobic tweets against another pop star. So it’s unsurprising that she spent the day after posting news of the engagement making a scene in the comments on her post.

Some are mild; to one comment about the ring, she replied “I’m the Jewcy Diva.”

But things get progressively more problematic. Asked what she’ll name a hypothetical “jew newborn,” she replied, “isaac david goldsteinstienbergschwitz.”

To another comment, implying Banks, who is Black, has been colonized, she spat back, “jews arent colonizers. Only christians and arabs colonize.”

When one commenter told her she has to have a Jewish mom to be Jewish, Banks implied having sex with a Jewish man was enough for conversion. “The Jewish semen doesn’t count? Lol damn,” she responded. (Conversion is, of course, a fully legitimate way to become Jewish without a Jewish parent; semen is not.)

Anyone who has listened to Banks’ music knows to expect this kind of language. But, hold onto your hat, because this is where things take a significant turn.

In a mind-bending analogy, Banks tied acceptance of her new Jewish identity to acceptance of trans people. “If society can do mental gymnastics to lie and tell them that an eggless person who still produces semen is a woman and let them rock, you are all going to bend the rules to accept this newly black Jewish coochie,” she wrote in one comment, after calling gender-affirming surgery “castration.”

In a later comment on the same thread, she doubled down on both the castration analogy and the semen-based conversion. “why can you chop ur cock and say ur a girl but I can’t catch the Jewish nut and be Jewish? Stop trying to exclude black people from everything,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, on her instagram stories, Banks, seemingly out to prove her Jewish chops, posted a video of a bagel, saying “I told y’all [n-word], I’m really Jewish!” This was followed by a video of her slowly sounding out the blessing over a mezuzah, before pressing one onto a doorway.

If you found it hard to keep up with that progression of events, well, that’s par for the course. Some are even hypothesizing that Banks’ feud with Elon Musk and pop star Grimes, is at the heart of the new engagement. Ripps is an artist who has collaborated with Grimes; perhaps this engagement is all a long con, attempting to get back at the pop star. Ripps is no stranger to elaborate cons himself; he once pretended he had designed the CIA logo, so maybe he’s in on it. Or maybe two trolls just found true love.

Mira Fox is a fellow at the Forward. Get in touch at [email protected] or on Twitter @miraefox.


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