Rapper Azealia Banks was supposed to take to the main stage at Wynwood Pride at 1am on Saturday. But when she arrived a few hours later, her set didn’t last long.
Banks, a controversial performer who was featured as the headliner for the first day of the LGBTQ music festival, stormed off stage midway through her performance. Fans booed and taunted the rapper. She responded with two middle fingers.
Video captured by reporters from the Miami Herald shows what led to the rapper’s early exit after her late arrival.
Hours before Banks performed, the first day of the three-day festival at the RC Cola factory went relatively well. The crowd grew as the night wore on and fans enjoyed DJ sets and drag performers performing on stage.
By 1 a.m., hundreds of fans were on stage, dancing to music from a DJ and waiting. And they waited. And waited. And waited.
The DJ on stage did her best to keep the energy of the crowd going, but by 2:30 a.m. people were getting frustrated. Some chanted for a refund. Others chanted, “Get her out!”
Finally, around 3 a.m., Banks took the stage. She wore a bodysuit that exposed her breasts. The crowd loved it.
But things took a turn a few songs in the performance. Banks, who was visibly low on energy during the performance, took a break from rapping to tell the crowd about his frustrations with the event organizers.
“I was f—ed with it,” she said. According to Banks, the event had been back and forth about whether or not she would be a headliner and changed its times.
Banks’ words offended the artists who were in the VIP section. Some yelled at her to go home. Several, including famous drag artist Miss Toto, have left.
Banks continued to perform a few more songs, but stopped again. This time she told the audience that she didn’t want to be there. Then came the boos. Banks threw away his microphone when it was turned off. As she walked away, someone threw water at her from a bottle.
She was escorted off stage. The lights were on. Security began to greet disappointed, shocked and angry fans at the RC Cola factory.
Banks is known for his controversy and Twitter beef. The rapper, who is bisexual, has gone on homophobic and transphobic rants in the past. Despite her behavior, Banks has maintained an LGBTQ fan base for years.
But the chaotic performance at Wynwood Pride doesn’t bode well for the rapper’s reputation in her new hometown. Banks moved to Miami last year.
Later Saturday morning, Banks took to Twitter to give her side of the story. She said she was originally booked for 10 p.m. and the promoter moved her set to 1 a.m. (the schedule that was posted on the Wynwood Pride website said Banks would perform at 1 a.m. The festival was supposed to end at 3 a.m.)
Banks also claimed there was dry ice on stage which gave her an allergic reaction. In a Twitter thread, she said someone spat water at her “from her HPV-infested mouth,” and she made inflammatory statements about “Hispanic citizens in South Florida.”
A fan asked Banks why she arrived hours late. “When you hire security guards drummers, DJs, glamorous squad guitarists and a whole crew expecting to work from 7 a.m., and your tour manager is alerted that your time is now fixed at 1 a.m., people have to rearrange their entire itinerary. Extreme lack of professionalism,” she replied.
Wynwood Pride declined to comment.
After Wynwood Pride announced its lineup last month, the Miami Herald asked event co-founders Jor-El Garcia and José Atencio to book Banks as the headliner despite his problematic past. Garcia defended Banks because she apologized for her past behavior.
“We believe in the culture of redemption, not the culture of cancellation,” Garcia told the Herald.
Xyanna Gibbs, 18, said she also wanted Banks to be redeemed. “But then she goes and does that? It was kind of like a spit in the face,” she said.
Either way, Gibbs said whoever threw the glass at Banks crossed a line.
“You don’t have to spit in her face just because she did,” Gibbs said. “It’s not an eye for an eye.”
As the crowd dispersed, Gibbs and a few friends gathered to discuss the drama that unfolded. The group of young people were disappointed and upset.
Mars Tran, 22, said he had mixed feelings about Banks due to his past behavior. He recalled a transphobic incident in which Banks called Arca, a musician who identifies as a non-binary trans woman, a boy.
As a transgender man, Tran said he was surprised that a Pride event would book Banks in the first place.
“Why would you invite this person who has clearly said they don’t like trans people and thinks their pronouns are stupid? Tran said. “Why would you invite them into a space that was supposed to be safe? »
Nick Chong, 18, said he wanted at least a partial refund. It was their first time at Wynwood Pride.
“I’m just upset that I paid $90 to come see her, and then she performed four songs, didn’t give the energy, and then left,” Chong said.
Still, Chong said they would be back on Saturday to see the second headliner, British pop star Marina. They paid for it, after all.
Lauren Costantino, audience engagement producer for the Miami Herald, contributed to this report.
This story was originally published June 11, 2022 5:13 p.m.