Azealia Banks found herself the center of controversy (again) over the weekend after she criticized Frank Ocean for launching a queer club night entitled PrEP+.
Singer and rapper Ocean launched the club at short notice last Thursday in New York City. Announcing news of the event, GayLetter said: “The night is named PrEP+ as an homage to what could have been of the 1980s’ NYC club scene if the drug PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) – which can be taken daily to prevent HIV/AIDs for those who are not infected but are at high risk – had been invented in that era.”
In an Instagram story, Azealia Banks took exception to the name and voiced criticisms of the medication – which is taken by users to prevent them from acquiring HIV. She questioned the drug’s potential side effects and people allowing others to cum inside them.
Azealia Banks has made some points AGAIN! Gays stay off that prep shit because the white media is plotting on y’all & you’re making it too damn easy for them pic.twitter.com/nN47VTiPGY
— ?????? (@lavishxjustin) October 19, 2019
“There’s no reason you need to have a fucking pill so you can just fuck whoever you wanna fuck,” she said.
“The boys are still getting HIV. The girls are getting fucking renal failure. They’re getting liver fucking failure, they’re getting anal warts, they’re getting anal cancer, OK? That’s a fucking death trap.”
“And for that dumbass n*gga Frank Ocean to sit up there and fucking promote that to y’all gays like that’s something that y’all need? It’s evil. And he’s probably getting paid.
“Y’all stay off that fucking PrEP.”
She suggested that anyone taking PrEP may have a “sex addiction” and should seek help from a psychiatrist, before imploring people not to allow “everybody” to cum inside them and, “be responsible!”
One of those to criticize Banks’ comments was Olly Alexander of the band Years and Years. Alexander is currently filming a Russell T Davies drama set in London in the 1980s, exploring the impact of AIDS on the gay community.
— olly ? (@alexander_olly) October 19, 2019
“We absolutely won’t be listening to any mis-information or shaming of people taking prep!
“There are lots of reasons why somebody might choose to take prep. we want people to have access to health care and to feel empowered to make the choices right for them.
“This issue is extremely complex and touches on our collective history as queer people and our relationship to HIV.
“I ask for people to be a little thoughtful before they start labeling people on prep as – in Azealia’s case, just whores who want it raw. It’s homophobic and actually it does not concern you in the slightest.”
Frank Ocean has not responded specifically to Banks’ comments, although he posted a Tumblr post in response to some of the criticism of his club night. He started by clarifying that the event was in no way sponsored by Gilead, the manufacturer of Truvada.
Ocean went on to say he wanted to pay tribute to the 80s and 90s club scene, but also acknowledge how that scene was impacted by HIV and AIDS.
“Now in 2019, there’s a pill you can take every day that will at a better than 90% chance prevent you from contracting HIV. This pill was approved by the FDA in 2012. The pricing strategy behind it is malicious in my opinion and so it’s public perception is marred and rightfully so.
“But the fact remains that despite price being a very real barrier to this potentially life saving drug for some, the other very real barrier is awareness.
“I decided to name, what was otherwise going to be a night of lights and music inspired by an era of clubbing that I loved PrEP+ because while designing the club … I started to imagine in an era where so many lives were lost and so much promise was lost forever along with them, what would it have been like if something, anything had existed that in all probability would’ve saved thousands and thousands of lives.”
At the time, she defended her use of the word “faggot” by saying she believed it similar to gay men using the word “bitch’ to refer to women, but later said she would stop using it when she realized that it was not worth the hurt it caused to people.