Was the Tesla CEO really tweeting on acid?
Azealia Banks is not a reliable source of information.
The "212" rapper has engaged in countless social media feuds with everyone from Rihanna to Sia to Disney Channel star Skai Jackson (who was 14 at the time…). She has claimed to perform animal sacrifices as part of witchcraft rituals, once labelled Lizzo a "millennial mammy," and has been kicked off Twitter more than once for spouting homophobic slurs. She defended Donald Trump's "Muslim ban" and told him she is "proud as f***" of him as a fellow Gemini for winning the 2016 election, and later called him "a f***ing idiot" and "disqualified" him from his Gemini status.
Whether it's a deliberate effort to court controversy or a fundamental aspect of her personality that propels her into this kind of mess, Banks seems to spend a lot more time and energy on this kind of drama than she ever did on her music—and her career has not exactly thrived as a result.
Enter dream pop musician Grimes and her then-boyfriend (now baby daddy), Tesla CEO Elon Musk. In 2018 the two were apparently pursuing a collaboration with the Harlem-based rapper. At that time Musk had yet to release his single "Don't Doubt Your Vibe," but was—according to Banks' retelling of events—a big fan of Banks' song "Anna Wintour" and thought that Banks' was "hot." She was lured to visit Musk and Grimes in August of 2017 "on the premise that we would hang and make music."
While Elon Musk later claimed to never have met Banks or communicated with her in any way, it was confirmed that Banks did spend some time at one of his properties—and it happened to be around the same time that Musk was handling the fallout from an unfortunate tweet about considering an offer to take Tesla private at a price of $420/share. That mess is the crux of what makes Banks' claims so compelling. According to her, Grimes spent the weekend tending to Musk and ignoring Banks because Musk was "too stupid to know not to go on Twitter while on acid" and was "scrounging up investors."
Once again, Musk and Tesla have denied the suggestion that there was any drug use involved in the incident, and considering the fact that the claim comes from an Instagram tirade in which Banks referred to Grimes as a "dirty-sneaker-inbred-out of the woods-Pabst beer, p**** m***head junkie," it's probably a good idea to take the accusation with a grain of salt.
So, why can't I stop thinking about it?
For a start, mixed in with her slanderous, offensive, and sometimes hilarious insults ("There's something not quite right about that man. I wouldn't give the credit of calling him an alien. He's a mutant"), Banks includes some real information about Musk's hair plugs and the disturbing source of his family's wealth in the African mining industry. More to the point though… There's just something that makes so much sense about the idea of Elon Musk tweeting on acid.
How many tech "visionaries" have convinced themselves that they achieve some kind of enlightened state through the use of psychedelics—all while ignoring the suffering of their workers? Musk is a man who believes we live in a simulation. A man who bonded with his experimental musician girlfriend over an obscure joke about 18th century art and a thought experiment about a malevolent AI.
His paranoia and overly-sensitive ego has driven him to (allegedly) swat a former employee and to label a rescue worker "pedo guy." He decided to sell all his worldly possessions in a lame attempt to stop bashing him for being a billionaire. He named his son after an airplane that is similar to his favorite airplane... and then switched it to roman numerals (X Ӕ A-Xii). In what world is that not someone who is constantly on large doses of psychoactive compounds?
Grimes in the music video for "Flesh without Blood" where she joked about the "Rococo Basilisk"
Eventually Azealia Banks was subpoenaed in connection with a fraud case that Musk's "$420" tweet spawned, but Musk and Tesla settled the issue for $40 million, depriving us of Banks' official testimony. But in my heart of hearts I know that Elon Musk just cannot stop tweeting on acid.
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The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
Billie Eilish, Jane Fonda, Leonardo DiCaprio, and more are all speaking out against the existential challenge of our time.
There's a lot of hypocrisy to many celebrities' purported support of climate change.
Much of their activism is just big talk, and many fail to use their wealth and power where it actually could make a difference, instead just showing their faces and airing their support for the climate movement when it's convenient, failing to spark legitimate large-scale change.
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