- Lana Del Rey has confronted constant backlash since early 2020.
- It began when Del Rey posted an unprompted public assertion, defending her personal repute.
- After repeatedly doubling down, she’s since been described as “the epitome of white woman feminism.”
On the daybreak of a brand new decade, Lana Del Rey appeared poised on the summit of the indie-pop mountain.
The songstress, now 37, was nonetheless driving the excessive of “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” — her career-topping sixth album, which was named the best release of 2019 by Pitchfork and nominated for album of the yr on the Grammy Awards.
As 2019 neared its finish, Del Rey’s first two albums, “Born to Die” and “Ultraviolence,” each landed on a number of decade-end lists. She was named one of the last decade’s defining artists by Insider.
However shortly after, Del Rey’s conduct started to make extra headlines than her music.
Her repute suffered a fast downturn, because of a string of controversial public statements, questionable masks selections, and her tendency to double down.
Many followers even say they’ve “lost respect” for the singer, and she’s more and more described on-line as a “problematic white woman.” Under, we broke down all of the backlash Del Rey has not too long ago acquired.
Notice: This text has been up to date since its unique publish date.
Could 2020: Del Rey posted an unprompted public assertion about her personal repute
All of it started on Could 21, 4 months after she attended the 2020 Grammys, when Del Rey shared a prolonged open letter on Instagram.
Posed as a “question for the culture,” Del Rey praised her personal legacy and broadly described her critics as “pathetic.”
“Now that Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating etc,” she wrote, “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 that I’m glamorizing abuse?”
“I’m fed up with female writers and alt singers saying that I glamorize abuse,” she continued, “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 over the world.”
She defended writing songs about being “submissive” in relationships, regardless of “a long 10 years of bullshit reviews.”
“I also feel it really paved the way for other women to stop ‘putting on a happy face’ and to just be able to say whatever the hell they wanted to in their music,” she wrote, “unlike my experience where if I even expressed a note of sadness in my first two records I was deemed literally hysterical as though it was literally the 1920s.”
Del Rey concluded her assertion by plugging her forthcoming poetry books, mentioning that she donates to “Native American foundations,” and asserting a brand new album.
—Cazzy Star (@Cazzy) May 21, 2020
It stays unclear what triggered Del Rey’s assertion, or why she felt compelled to defend her music after months of glowing reviews.
Early in her profession, Del Rey was seen as a controversial determine — however largely as a result of of accusations of inauthenticity and artifice. Her tragic-glam picture was scrutinized way more continuously than her lyrics.
Del Rey could have been reacting to a 2019 article from The Independent, during which author Helen Brown “examines how easy it is to misread her lyrics as ‘antifeminist'” — although Brown truly defends Del Rey’s “sharp” songwriting and roundly praises her latest album.
No matter Del Rey’s motivations could have been, her statement was poorly received.
Whereas some agreed she’s been unfairly judged as “antifeminist” prior to now, many had been indignant that she name-dropped different artists to make her level.
—yasmin (@COSMlCVALKYRIE) May 21, 2020
—kenzie (@StylesDepressed) May 21, 2020
Moreover, six out of the seven folks she talked about had been ladies of coloration, which sparked accusations of racism.
As Tulane University’s Christine Capetola wrote, along with her reductive descriptions of their music, Del Rey “failed to recognize Black female artists’ decades-long — and ongoing — struggle to express their sexualities on their own terms within the realm of pop music.”
Del Rey additionally implied that she’s extra “delicate” than her friends, and claimed that feminism is illiberal of “women who look and act like me.”
“The optics of Lana, a white woman, complaining about feminism lacking space for her while critiquing the acclaim allotted to several Black pop artists is mortifying,” Ashley Reese wrote for Jezebel.
—Zito (@_Zeets) May 21, 2020
—Black Fats Queer (@FlamingFatQueer) May 21, 2020
YouTuber D’Angelo Wallace stated Del Rey’s album announcement was amplified by media protection of the controversy.
“Was Lana Del Rey profiting off Black outrage to sell her album? Yes,” he stated in a video titled, “Lana Del Rey has Lana Del LOST IT.”
“I don’t think she did it on purpose,” he stated. “But once she realized who she was making mad, and that it was getting her even more attention than she initially was looking for, she made four follow-up comments. And they were all about the outrage.”
He added: “I’m just gonna be honest. This is where my respect for her started to dip.”
Shortly after, Del Rey doubled down and insisted she’s not racist
Del Rey’s response to the backlash centered on her reasoning for naming particular artists.
“To be clear because I knowwww you love to twist things. I fucking love these singers and know them. #that is why I mentioned them,” she wrote. “I would like to have some of the same freedom of expression without judgment of hysteria.”
“I haven’t had the same opportunity to express what I wanted to express without being completely decimated,” she continued in a second remark. “And if you want to say that has something to do with race that’s your opinion but that’s not what I was saying.”
—Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) May 21, 2020
“This is the problem with society today,” she stated in a 3rd remark. “It’s exactly the point of my post — there are certain women that culture doesn’t want to have a voice it may not have to do with race I don’t know what it has to do with.”
“I don’t care anymore but don’t ever ever ever ever bro- call me racist because that is bullshit.”
“And my last and final note on everything,” Del Rey wrote in a fourth comment, “when I said people who look like me — I meant the people who don’t look strong or necessarily smart, or like they’re in control etc. it’s about advocating for a more delicate personality, not for white women — thanks for the Karen comments tho. V helpful.”
Del Rey’s feedback struck many individuals as overly defensive and unproductive, relatively than illuminating.
“‘Don’t ever call me racist’ is hands-down the single-most disappointing reaction to accusations of racism,” Wallace stated in his video.
—ً (@cwhitbred) May 22, 2020
—calling all commerce (@codistweets) May 22, 2020
Black writers like Nichole Perkins and Roxane Gay, in addition to their followers, identified Del Rey’s use of “coded” language and self-victimization.
—we’re by no means assembly in actual life (@SunnyAde_) May 21, 2020
—Tantine P (@imanarchy_) May 21, 2020
Del Rey posted an extra assertion on Instagram, accusing her critics of wanting a ‘race conflict’
Someday after her unique put up, Del Rey continued to insist that it “wasn’t controversial at all,” regardless of nationwide information protection and widespread backlash.
In her extra assertion, she implied that Ariana Grande and Doja Cat reached out to specific discomfort in her message.
However “despite the feedback,” Del Rey doubled down as soon as once more.
“I want to say that I remain firm in my clarity and stance in that what i was writing about was the importance of self-advocacy for the more delicate and often dismissed, softer female personality, and that there does have to be room for that type in what will inevitably become a new wave/3rd wave of feminism that is rapidly approaching,” she wrote, though the third wave of feminism began more than 20 years ago.
“I’m sorry that the folks who I can only assume are super Trump/Pence supporters or hyper liberals or flip-flopping headline grabbing critics can’t read and want to make it a race war,” she continued.
—Affinity Journal (@TheAffinityMag) May 22, 2020
She additionally accused her feminine critics of being “disassociated from their own fragility and sexuality” and wanting “drama.”
“My aim and my message are clear. That I have control of my own story,” she concluded. “If the women I mention don’t wanna be associated with me that’s absolutely fine by me.”
Once more, followers criticized Del Rey for dismissing suggestions relatively than participating with it.
Many famous that Del Rey’s repeated self-characterization as a “delicate” lady performs into racist stereotypes, which traditionally paint white ladies as extra female or fragile — permitting them to flee accountability extra simply.
It additionally highlights the concept Del Rey is “playing the victim.”
“Lana really wants to act like she’s the most original artist playing the victim and honestly she’s full of shit,” one individual wrote on Twitter.
She was additionally mocked for not-so-casually plugging her poetry e book within the midst of her non-apology.
Del Rey made an additional try to defend her open letter 3 days later — and in contrast herself to a different lady of coloration
“In that post — my one and only personal declaration I’ve ever made, thanks for being so warm and welcoming — was about the need for fragility in the feminist movement,” Del Rey stated on Could 25 in a six-minute video on Instagram.
“When I mentioned 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,” Del Rey stated within the video. “The difference is, when I get on the pole, people call me a whore, but when twigs gets on the pole, it’s art.”
She added: “The culture is super sick right now. And the fact that they wanna turn my post, my advocacy for fragility, into a race war — it’s really bad. It’s actually really bad.”
She additionally expressed frustration that her letter acquired backlash, although she did not deal with any of the particular criticism she acquired from artists and followers of coloration.
“It really, again, makes you reach into the depth of your own heart and say, ‘Am I good-intentioned?’ And of course, for me, the answer is always yes,” she stated. “I barely ever share a thing, and this is why.”
—Pop Crave (@PopCrave) May 25, 2020
Within the midst of her video, Del Rey revealed the title of her forthcoming album, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” inflicting folks to invest that it is all for publicity (“it’s only been four days and lana’s album rollout has felt like a decade,” one person wrote).
Del Rey wrapped up by insisting that she’s “not racist,” plugging her poetry books, and refusing to apologize for her unique assertion: “Fuck off if you don’t like the post.”
As soon as once more, Del Rey was accused of being resentful in direction of profitable ladies of coloration, ignorant of her personal privilege, and decided to play the sufferer.
Folks had been particularly infuriated by Del Rey’s point out of FKA twigs, a mixed-race singer, songwriter, and dancer.
Twigs has trained as a pole dancer and included acrobatics into her artwork, as in her Grammy-nominated music video for “Cellophane.” She has additionally included the ability into dwell performances of “Magdalene,” an album that explores the demonization of ladies all through historical past, in addition to her personal resilience.
Twigs has additionally stated that pole dancing helped her feel like her “strong self again,” after she had six fibroid tumors faraway from her uterus in 2018.
For her half, Del Rey portrayed a stripper in her 2013 short film for “Tropico,” which was criticized for “appropriating Latino gangster culture.”
“The fact that she said race war and doesn’t see twigs as a fragile, delicate woman is… You’re really making it worse,” one individual wrote.
One other added: “You can hear FKA twigs’ pain on ‘Magdalene’ period. I need Lana to stop bringing black women into her argument for creating a brand she cannot escape from.”
—Rubén (@xoxorubenangel) May 25, 2020
Most followers (and former followers at this level) agreed that Del Rey’s video “only made things worse.”
“I didn’t think she was this kind of person,” Wallace said. “Now I have the knowledge that Lana Del Rey is kind of ruthless in her pursuit of getting people to talk about her, and she doesn’t seem to care who gets angry in the process, or even if what she’s saying is right. So, that’s a lot.”
June 2020: She was referred to as out by Black artists for sharing movies of protesters
Throughout the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that had been sparked by the death of George Floyd, Del Rey shared two movies on Instagram.
In line with Billboard, the primary video confirmed a person holding an indication that learn “no justice no peace,” whereas the second confirmed folks breaking into storefronts and working away with merchandise. She disabled feedback on the put up.
On Twitter, Kehlani implored Del Rey to take away the movies as a result of they confirmed uncensored faces and figuring out options, which may result in “dangerous” penalties for the protesters.
“[email protected] please remove your instagram post it’s dangerous as fuck and a very poor choice of moments to post,” Kehlani tweeted. “by all means protest, but DO NOT endanger people with your very massive platform. oh and turn your fuckin comments on man.”
Kehlani added: “it’s about furthering endangering the lives of black people. it’s about responsibility.”
Tinashe echoed Kehlani’s feedback in a tweet of her personal.
“@LanaDelRey why the fuck are you posting people looting stores on your page literally WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM,” she wrote.
—cloo (@lesbenoist) May 31, 2020
After Del Rey eliminated the video from Instagram, Kehlani and Tinashe each deleted their tweets.
October 2020: Del Rey got here below hearth after apparently sporting a mesh face masks
Apart from suspending her album, which was initially slated to be launched in September, Del Rey remained pretty quiet within the wake of her controversial video — besides to advertise her aforementioned poetry e book, “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass.”
In October, Del Rey hosted a e book signing at a Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In movies and photographs from the occasion, she appeared to put on a mesh-style face masks, which might not present an efficient barrier for respiratory droplets, according to recommendations from the CDC.
Followers left feedback on her Instagram posts, which she has since deleted, begging her to put on a “real mask.”
“I love you sis but please wear a real mask, it gives a bad message,” one consumer commented on Del Rey’s Instagram video.
“i love lana sm but what the frick is she doing ? the covid situation in the united states is worsening and she refuses to wear a proper mask, that really infuriates me,” another fan wrote on Twitter. “so many ppl have died there.”
Others referred to as Del Rey “selfish” and stated they had been rising drained of defending her.
—hello, it’s beth (@bethwnn) October 3, 2020
—georgia (@lovingsweetener) October 3, 2020
—🛸 (@fireIadies) October 3, 2020
—Jasmine (@jasmineflwrr) October 4, 2020
The picture of COVID-19 slipping by the holes in her masks additionally turned a meme on Twitter.
—james (@redputationaotd) October 2, 2020
—weezette *.✧ (@420urmum69) October 3, 2020
—Tomás Mier (@Tomas_Mier) October 3, 2020
Del Rey later stated that her masks had a plastic lining, in response to a crucial article from Michigan Day by day.
“The mask had plastic on the inside,” Del Rey wrote. “They’re commonly sewn in by stylists these days. I don’t generally respond to articles because I don’t care. But there ya go. Same goes for everyone’s masks in my video. I’m lucky enough to have a team of people who can do that.”
She additionally appeared to poke enjoyable on the controversy in her music video for “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” during which she dons an almost equivalent masks.
January 10, 2021: Del Rey unveiled the quilt artwork for her new album — and preemptively defended it with a ‘problematic’ remark
The black-and-white cover for “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” exhibits Del Rey grinning and surrounded by associates, all huddled round a desk.
Shortly after she shared the picture, Del Rey commented on her personal Instagram put up with preemptive self-defense.
“No this was not intended-these are my best friends, since you are asking today,” she wrote — though it was written as a standalone remark, not a reply to anybody particularly.
“As it happens when it comes to my amazing friends and this cover, yes, there are people of color on this record’s picture and that’s all I’ll say about that,” she wrote. “We are all a beautiful mix of everything – some more than others, which is visible and celebrated in everything I do.”
“In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without trying to,” she continued. “My best friends are rappers, my boyfriends have been rappers. My dearest friends have been from all over the place, so before you make comments again about a WOC/POC issue, I’m not the one storming the capital, I’m literally changing the world by putting my life and thoughts and love out there on the table 24 seven. Respect it.”
—Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 11, 2021
The remark has since been deleted.
The next day, throughout an interview with BBC’s Annie Mac, Del Rey claimed that “actually half the people in this photo are people of color.”
“I just feel like if that’s really what people are gonna say, I have an answer for them, which is that if you look closer, you will see people of color,” she added. “It’s a black-and-white image, so zoom in, you know. It’s just weird, you know?”
Naturally, some folks did make jokes in regards to the cowl’s perceived lack of range, and others referred to as the selection “tone deaf.”
—kanin! 🏳️⚧️•(🐰+🦇) (@JASFROMKONOYO) January 13, 2021
However the actual backlash got here in response to Del Rey’s remark, which was described as “textbook white fragility problematic white woman.”
Del Rey’s observe about befriending and courting “rappers” was significantly controversial.
—dresagemusic (@dresagemusic) January 11, 2021
—✨ (@heyjaeee) January 10, 2021
Del Rey was additionally mocked for claiming that she’s “literally changing the world” along with her writing.
“We love her and understand her intentions but we cannot keep defending this shit,” one fan commented on Del Rey’s Instagram put up. “That comment is so problematic in so many ways.”
“I literally have her lyrics tattooed on my body but I’m also a political activist and I cannot defend this shit at all. I wish we could be excited about the album and only that but shit like this makes it hard to be,” the fan continued. “Nothing about her statement is okay.”
“If she’s going to breathe life into aesthetics of a time where racism was at one of its peaks and not use her platform in the same breath to advocate today’s issues properly, accurately, and tactfully. that’s an issue.”
January 11, 2021: Del Rey was criticized for saying Trump ‘would not know that he is inciting a riot’
Throughout an interview with BBC’s Annie Mac, Del Rey in contrast President Donald Trump to “people who didn’t know they hurt other people.”
“You know, he doesn’t know that he’s inciting a riot and I believe that,” she stated, including that Trump has “delusions of grandeur.”
Del Rey was referring to the violent riot at the US Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump supporters stormed the constructing after attending a close-by Trump rally.
5 folks died, and the outgoing president has since been impeached for “incitement of insurrection.”
—Complicated Music (@ComplexMusic) January 12, 2021
“The madness of Trump… As bad as it was, it really needed to happen. We really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which is not climate change but sociopathy and narcissism,” she stated, as reported by Complex. “Especially in America. It’s going to kill the world. It’s not capitalism, it’s narcissism.”
One individual replied on Twitter: “Lana stans gonna be doing some mental gymnastics to explain this one.”
Del Rey then lashed out at ‘bigger magazines’ for ‘taking my well-intentioned and consider it or not liberal feedback out of context’
The day after her interview with Mac, Del Rey responded to Complicated’s protection of her feedback.
“OK complex not that our 10 year relationship matters I guess,” she tweeted. “Thanks for the cool soundbite taken out of context, I said that the bigger problem is Sociopathy-so whether he meant to incite a riot is less important than the larger issue in America at hand -the problem of sociopathy.”
“It’s fucked up,” she continued. “You know I’m real. You know I voted for Biden. I’m super steady in everything I’ve ever said. You probably listened to my entire interview. So whoever wrote this is a genuine piece of shit. I am the one helping bringing the problem with narcissism to light.”
—Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 12, 2021
—Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 12, 2021
Hardly one to stifle momentum, Del Rey additionally responded to the Australian weblog Tone Deaf, which had revealed an article criticizing the defense of her album cover.
“I’m actually not tone deaf, I don’t think there’s anything tone deaf about responding to questions about why there are only white women on a album cover when that’s just not the case,” she tweeted. “I’m not gonna let people say that some thing is what it isn’t. You’re jealous I get it.”
In an extra tweet, Del Rey added that her new music is “great” and described herself as “one of the only artists who is genuine.”
—Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 12, 2021
—Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 12, 2021
Del Rey continued tweeting about her BBC interview, clarifying that she meant to criticize Trump’s “significant lack of empathy” and “the issue of sociopathy and narcissism in America.”
“I’ll say it again I don’t appreciate the larger magazines taking my well-intentioned and believe it or not liberal comments out of context,” she wrote. “It’s actually what I sing about quite often. It’s what I’ve been condemned for saying.”
—Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 12, 2021
—Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) January 12, 2021
She additionally expressed disdain for negative publicity, citing her “long term relationship” with magazines like Complicated and Rolling Stone, calling the previous “pathetic.”
Uproxx’s Steven Hyden described the now-deleted tweet as “a hilarious and illuminating snapshot of pop-star brain.”
—Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) January 13, 2021
Certainly, Del Rey has lashed out at journalists and music critics prior to now.
Again in September 2019, she tweeted her displeasure with Ann Powers’ review of “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” for NPR — though Powers described the album as “instantly compelling, a pro asserting her future spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
True to kind, Del Rey doubled down with a video, during which she defended her feedback about Trump and referred to as out Complicated once more.
“I just wanna talk about a couple of things, some of the articles that are coming out today, about me thinking that Trump didn’t mean to incite the riots,” she started. “I think it’s cute that that’s the little takeaway that Complex gets from that — especially with our relationship over the last 10 years, obviously completely disregarded.”
“I get it. I have something to say, and I don’t just show up giggling and talking about my hair and my makeup,” she continued. “I was asked directly political questions for over 40 minutes by the BBC Radio 1, and I answered them.”
Many individuals noticed Del Rey’s tweets as one other try to play the sufferer, or one other instance of her “white woman feminism.”
—𝑽𝒊𝒂 𝑮𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒚 (@golddtatt) January 13, 2021
Others merely made jokes or stated they’d lost patience along with her antics.
—jestie🦩 (@_JSpain) January 12, 2021
September 12, 2021: Del Rey deactivated her social media accounts
In a black-and-white video posted on Instagram, the musician thanked followers for his or her assist and introduced her resolution to take away her on-line presence.
“I just wanted to let you know that tomorrow we are going to be deactivating my social media accounts, and that is simply because I have so many other interests and other jobs I’m doing that require privacy and transparency,” Del Rey stated.
“I’m still very present and love what I do. I’m absolutely here for the music. I’m also just going on some different endeavors and I want to say thank you so much for all the support and I do hope that you like the record,” she added, referencing her eighth album “Blue Banisters,” which was launched later that very same month.
March 24, 2023: She included a megachurch pastor’s sermon on her new album, dividing followers
On Del Rey’s ninth studio album, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd,” monitor 5 is titled “Judah Smith Interlude.”
The four-minute monitor provides an uninterrupted platform to Judah Smith, a preacher on the Christian megachurch Churchome. Smith, Del Rey, and producer Jack Antonoff are all listed as cowriters.
Del Rey additionally thanked Smith in a Fb put up a couple of months prior, “for giving me good guidance” and “for letting me record a part of his sermon for this record.”
Within the track, Smith denounces “a life dominated with lust” and praises God as “the fascinating artist who fashioned it all.”
“The Spirit of God says, ‘I’ll infuse you with desirеs for what you have and what’s in front of you,'” Smith preaches.
As Them beforehand reported, many followers — particularly those that determine as queer — had been divided of their reactions to “Judah Smith Interlude.” One Twitter consumer called it “creepy,” whereas one other said, “it’s giving conversion therapy cult leader.”
—💫 (@heyjaeee) March 24, 2023
—owen (@panopticowen) March 24, 2023
Certainly, Smith has reportedly made homophobic feedback prior to now. In line with Marie Claire, he referred to as homosexuality a sin corresponding to “murder, rape, or living with your girlfriend” throughout a 2005 interview. (The interview in query is not obtainable on-line.)
Churchome can be related to Hillsong, an Australian megachurch finest identified for attracting well-known followers like Chris Pratt. In actual fact, Justin Bieber as soon as led worship at Churchome, and Smith was featured on Bieber’s 2021 EP “Freedom.”
Hillsong has lengthy been related to anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ views. A report from NPR described it as “an ultra-conservative church with a dark past,” together with connections to pedophilia.
“I was uncomfortable. I’m not religious and thought it was weird to include. Considering who he is, it’s very weird,” one individual wrote on Reddit. One other agreed, reasoning that Del Rey may have invented “a weird fake religious monologue” as a substitute of “publicizing a real pastor that sucks.”
Nonetheless, some followers of Del Rey have defended “Judah Smith Interlude” as satirical or “ironic.” As Coleman Spilde wrote for the Daily Beast, “Del Rey is exactly the type of person who would attend a celebrity-studded mega-church, both for a cleansing of the soul and to lambaste its intrinsic flamboyance with her friends.”
“As a gay atheist that grew up in the Catholic Church, y’all are really bent out of shape over this,” one other fan commented in a Reddit thread. “I love how provocative this whole thing is and it’s exactly why I love Lana.”
A consultant for Del Rey has not responded to Insider’s request for remark.