Zayn Malik opened up about his anxiety. Here’s why that matters.

Zayn Malik (Photo Credit: RCA)
Zayn Malik (Photo Credit: RCA)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

It’s been a whirlwind fifteen months for Zayn Malik, the suave tenor who first rose to fame as a member of One Direction. In March 2015, he stunned teens everywhere when he abruptly left the boy band that first made him a household name. Since then, he’s had an extremely public breakup, released a new album, began a new relationship with a supermodel, and was subject to a bizarre and racist tirade from rapper Azealia Banks.

That’s a lot for any early 20-something to handle, let alone one who must process everything in the public eye. Last week, Malik revealed that in addition to everything else mentioned above, he was also struggling with severe bouts of anxiety.

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South Asian Women Respond to Azealia Banks’ Racist and Homophobic Twitter Meltdown

Azealia Banks in a screen capture from her music video, "Atlantis". (Photo credit: YouTube)
Azealia Banks in a screen capture from her music video, “Atlantis”. (Photo credit: YouTube)

Songwriter and artist Azealia Banks is no stranger to controversy. Banks has made headlines — and won popular opinion — for her ardent support of Black civil rights and civic engagement, such as her suggestion in 2014 that “America owes Black people over $100 trillion” in reparations for chattel slavery and its aftermath. However, Banks has also received her fair share of criticism for slut-shaming and victim-blaming the women raped and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby, calling T.I. a “shoe-shining coon“, and routinely using homophobic slurs in heated Twitter exchanges with other celebrities. Vulture asked last year whether Banks’ ugly bigotry has overshadowed her considerable lyrical skill, with the writer concluding that “no longer [can] we laugh off her behaviour.”

In her latest Twitter meltdown, Banks spent most of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning posting disgustingly racist, homophobic, and xenophobic slurs targeting fellow musician and former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who is biracially Pakistani British. Banks was apparently infuriated by her perception that Malik had copied some of Banks’ personal style. Whether or not that is true, this is no excuse for the revolting bigotry of Banks’ tweets, published late last night (screenshots after the jump via Kajalmag.com; trigger warning for slurs).

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