There aren't too many things I have in common with Zayn Malik, but as of this week, we do at least now have a shared enemy: Azealia Banks, the American rapper and part-time witch. She took to Twitter on Wednesday to send racist tweets to the former One Direction star, including one in which she called him a ‘curry scented bitch'. The think pieces have not stopped since. This is not a think piece from an outsider though, but from one of Miss Banks’ other victims.
I first came into contact with her last month when she threatened on Twitter to kill a friend of mine’s mother using a voodoo curse, after the said friend mocked her ancient African magic ‘powers’. I asked whether her message was appropriate, given that if any non-celebrity had sent such a tweet, the account would have been banned almost immediately.
Within minutes of offering up my opinion, I started to receive a mad chain of insults from Banks, which made an otherwise quiet afternoon in the office vastly more exciting. She tweeted that I looked ‘like that kid in Matilda who ate all the cakes.’ After I pointed out to Miss Banks that this was wonderfully ironic, given that my grandfather Roald Dahl wrote Matilda, she then went on another line of attack. I was ‘another white guy in a bloodline of whiteness,’ she said. I’ve already decided this will be going on my headstone.
Banks' tweets to Zayn Malik have now led to her account being suspended by Twitter. The pressure was beginning to mount, as hordes of One Direction fans accused the social network of inaction. A British festival which she was meant to headline in July have also cancelled her appearance and the Home Office is even looking into banning her from the country.
But who is Azealia Banks? A one-hit wonder, essentially. In 2012, her debut single '212' was a hit. But whereas musicians used to fade into obscurity, nowadays they can keep their career alive by becoming big on social media. Until yesterday, Banks had over half a million followers on Twitter.
As a result, Banks was able to spread her insane views around the cybersphere. She believes that races should be segregated because white people ‘have no magic powers'. Her views on science are laughable, claiming recently that cancer is a fungal infection, then fighting off criticism for suggesting a topical cream can fight the disease by saying ‘Fact is "logic.” "Logic" is a CREATION of the human psyche. Even "facts" are subjective babe.’ Her feuds on Twitter have become her defining characteristic, to the point where nobody actually remembers her music.
But given that her career was built on Twitter - rather than on the quality of her music - there is a certain amount of schadenfreude to be found in Twitter banning Azealia Banks - and her 'magical powers' suddenly disappearing. I imagine Zayn Malik might be feeling the same way.
Ned Donovan is a journalist at the Mail on Sunday