Do Better: RZA Watched As Russell Crowe Spat At Azealia Banks… And Did Nothing

October 19, 2017  |  

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A couple of weeks ago, when I wrote about the ways in which Black men need to do better, how their consistent actions toward us are as a form of terrorism, I got several responses from men who disagreed with me saying that the majority of Black men respect, defend and protect Black women.

One brotha suggested that the number was upwards of 90 percent.

I told him: “You’re reaching.”

Of course, there are Black men who step up and step in when they see a Black woman being disrespected or degraded. But for the most part, the woman would have to be related to him or be someone he was interested in sleeping with. More often than not, when it comes to Black women, a lot of Black men take a “that’s none of my business” approach.

We saw this magnified when RZA, leader of the Wu-Tang Clan and Hip Hop as a whole, sat down on The Breakfast Club to recount the night he, actor Russell Crowe and fellow rapper and Black woman, Azealia Banks, got into an altercation last year.

According to sources, RZA invited Banks to a party at Crowe’s hotel. The trouble started when Banks made fun of Crowe’s musical tastes and called him a boring, White man. Sources say that initially, Crowe ignored her words but eventually, things escalated.

Azealia Banks wrote this about the incident:

“To recap my night, I went to a part [sic] at Russell crowes [sic] suite, at which he called me a n*gger, threw me out and spat at me.
Last night was one of the hardest nights of sleep I’ve had in a long time.
The men in the room allowed it to happen. I feel terrible today.”

Given both Banks’ and Crowe’s history of violence, we weren’t exactly sure who to believe.

Just for thoroughness sake, here’s how RZA recalled the incident.

If you read the entirety of RZA’s post, he, like so many men, evoked his wife, daughters, sisters and female friends before saying “I protect women everyday.”

But apparently not though.

Because when he sat down on “The Breakfast Club,” he said this.

Charlamagne: Did Russell put hands on her though or spit on her, like she said?

RZA: Look. He spit at her. I saw it. He didn’t spit on her. Like that’s what you are. You know what I mean? I was like ‘Oh it’s not on me.’

Charlamagne: Did you check him at that point though? That’s a White dude spitting at a Black woman. You had to check him.

RZA: He apologized to me. But the night was crazy bro. I don’t want to relive it. And it was super, duper awkward. I’ll make a scene in a movie about it one day.

The only thing I can say to RZA’s credit is the fact he didn’t get on air and lie about his complacency in the whole situation. But let’s really examine what he said here. He defends Black women but he let Crowe spit at Banks. He delights in the fact that none of Russell’s salvia hit him.

There’s a strong possibility that Banks didn’t need to be at that party, that her behavior was not “acceptable.” Still, as Charing Ball pointed out last year,  RZA has openly defended his band member, the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who behaved similarly to Banks, as misunderstood. But Azealia was erratic.

I don’t care what Azealia said or did, nothing could have warranted Crowe spitting on or at her. I don’t have to tell y’all that that is the highest form of disrespect. And it comes as no surprise that Crowe felt comfortable directing it toward a Black woman and a Black man not only stood by and watched it happen but accepted the apology as if he had been the one wronged.

Not only did RZA stand idly by in the moment. Later, presumably, when he was thinking and acting with a more clear mind, RZA wrote that Facebook post and placed ALL of the blame on Azealia. He was quick to point out the fact that it wasn’t a race or gender issue but didn’t recognize that Crowe spitting at Banks is steeped in racism. He didn’t evaluate Crowe’s apology to him, and not to Banks– the person he spat at– as a prioritization of him as a man.

This is nothing but the perfect storm of racism and sexism. And it’s so painfully clear that when those two combine, the Black woman not only sustains the most injury, her pain and suffering is often ignored in favor of the Black man who left her unprotected in the first place.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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