Lana Del Rey Says People Are Turning Her Comments "Into a Race War"

Photo credit: Mat Hayward - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mat Hayward - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • In a lengthy message posted to social media today, Lana Del Rey said she's "fed up" with being criticized for "glamorizing abuse."

  • The singer called out artists like Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Doja Cat, and others for landing number one hits about "being sexy" and "wearing no clothes."

  • Del Rey received some backlash for calling out women of color, but the singer later addressed the flak on Instagram.

Update, 5/26:

Yesterday, Lana Del Rey continued to defend herself with further Instagram posts, this time posting a video to explain her previous comments. The singer caused a stir last week after name-dropping other female artists, most of whom are women of color, for landing hits about “being sexy” and “wearing no clothes” as she addressed accusations that she “glamorizes abuse” in her music.

In Monday’s six-minute video, Del Rey explained that her original post was meant to highlight "the need for fragility in the feminist movement" and women who might be subject to victim-blaming for embracing their sexuality.

"And when I say ‘women who look like me’ I didn’t mean white like me, I mean the kind of women who, you know, other people might not believe because people think, ‘Look at her, she fuckin’ deserves it’ or whatever," she added. "There’s a lot of people like that, you know?”

Del Rey added, “I just think it’s sad about the women I mentioned, whether they sing about dancing for money or whatever—the same stuff, by the way, that I’ve been singing about, chronicling for 13 years, that’s why I’m in that echelon, yes they are my friends and peers and contemporaries—the difference is that when I get on the pole, people call me a whore, but when [FKA] Twigs gets on the pole, it’s art.”

She also called out the commenters who “want to turn my advocacy for fragility into a race war—it’s really bad.”

Read more about the singer’s original statements below.

Update, 5/21, 6:40 p.m.:

Hours after her original post made headlines, Lana Del Rey responded to the backlash surrounding her much-talked-about statement with a few updates on Instagram. Among them was a video compilation of herself pole dancing with the hashtag "#fuckoff" in the caption.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey) on May 21, 2020 at 3:20pm PDT

And on her Instagram Story, the singer also posted screenshots of two replies she wrote in her comments. In the first message, she addressed claims that she was trying to take away from the success of several women of color in music. In her original post, Del Rey had name-dropped artists including Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Kehlani, Doja Cat, Cardi B, and Camila Cabello for landing number-one songs “about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating, etc” while she was criticized for “glamorizing abuse.”

“Bro. This is sad to make it about a WOC issue when I’m talking about my favorite singers. I could’ve literally said anyone but I picked my favorite fucking people. And this is the problem with society today, not everything is about whatever you want it to be. It’s exactly the point of my post—there are certain women that culture doesn’t want to have a voice and it may not have to do with race I don’t know what it has to do with. Id on’t dare anymore but don’t ever ever ever ever bro—call me racist because that is bullshit.”

Photo credit: Lana Del Rey / Instagram
Photo credit: Lana Del Rey / Instagram

In a follow-up post, she further denied accusations of racism.

“When I said people who look like me—I meant the people who don’t look strong or necessarily smart, or like they’e in control etc. It’s about advocating for a more delicate personality, not for white woman—thanks for the Karen comments tho. V helpful”

Photo credit: Lana Del Rey / Instagram
Photo credit: Lana Del Rey / Instagram

Read more on Del Rey's original comments below.

Original story, 1:08 p.m.:

Lana Del Rey is sparking conversations this morning after posting a lengthy message to her social accounts, pointing to female artists who've topped charts with songs with sexually provocative lyrics, and calling out the criticism that her own music "glamorizes abuse."

"Question for the culture," she began, "Now that Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila [Cabello], Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating, etc - can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money - or whatever I want - without being crucified or saying I'm glamorizing abuse??????"

Her comments arrive a week after Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and Megan Thee Stallion landed the top two positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making history as the first Black women solo artists to do so. All the other artists that Del Rey named have scored number one hits in recent years except Kehlani, according to her Billboard history.

Del Rey's opening statement was her most contentious, as readers promptly noticed that the artists she named were mostly women of color. Some questioned whether it was necessary for the singer to even name names, and others defended these artists for embracing sexuality in their music—something women, especially women of color, are often chastised for doing.

The focus of Del Rey's message, however, was the flak she's received for seemingly romanticizing abuse in her past work, when in fact, her material is drawn from real experiences, she said.

"I'm fed up with female writers and alt singers saying that I glamorize abuse when in reality I'm just a glamorous person singing about the realities of what we are all now seeing are very prevalent emotionally abusive relationships all around the world," Del Rey continued. She added that it's "pathetic" the occasional lyrics that detail her "sometimes submissive or passive roles" in past relationships have "often made people say I've set women back hundreds of years."

Lyrics in question may include her 2014 song "Ultraviolence," which has the lines, "I can hear sirens, sirens / He hit me and it felt like a kiss" (which quotes a 1962 song by The Crystals), and, "I can hear violins, violins / Give me all of that ultraviolence." A piece at TIME questioned whether the song glorified domestic violence; another at Mic said the singer "is a huge step backwards for women everywhere"; another from NPR said she "romanticizes destructive forces."

Del Rey explained that she's not against feminism ("I'm not not a feminist")—although she's previously said that she's "not interested" in the topic—and added that there should be a place in the movement for people with experiences like hers: "The kind of woman who says no but men hear yes - the kind of women who are slated mercilessly for being authentic, delicate selves, the kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women."

She added that she's been "honest and optimistic" about her challenging past relationships, which may also be the case with many other people. Del Rey wrote that she feels her work has helped her "[pave] the way for other women" to be open about sadness and vulnerability in their music, even though she was "deemed literally hysterical as though it was literally the 1920s" for her first two records.

Del Rey ended her message with an announcement that she's releasing two new poetry books, whose proceeds will benefit Native American foundations of her choice. Del Rey will also drop a new album on September 5, which follows her 2019 LP, Norman Fucking Rockwell, and 2017's Lust for Life.

This post has been updated.

You Might Also Like