While Azealia Banks' just-released Playboy cover declares the outspoken rapper is ready to roar, the accompanying image suggests her growl may have whimpered out.
When news broke last month Banks had been tapped as April's cover girl, the combination between the rap provocateur and the audacious lad mag seemed lethal. The twitter hellcat was bound to bring her signature bravado and histrionics to a magazine that is always intending to provoke. But this Ellen von Unwerth-shot image is decidedly… meh.
Channeling the pin-ups of yesteryear, Banks attempts to bring camp to the image, but just seems restrained. Fitted in a cheetah print bodysuit, Banks is seen perched on a matching stool, coquettishly looking over her shoulder with mock surprise, while a black cat sits atop her head. I'll wait as your mind runs wild with inference and double entendres.
The image is beautiful, but very safe, especially for a magazine devoted to half-naked (or fully naked) women. The shot lacks Banks' moxie and any kind of daring. In fact, the only brazen thing about the cover is Playboy's decision to publish Dick Cheney's article aside Banks'.
An easy slam dunk would have been to keep the feline theme, set some milk out, and let the rap firebrand slink about in one of her infamous furry cat two pieces. That cover would have practically purred.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.