Lana Del Rey is at it again!
You may recall Lana (real name Lizze Grant), getting into a bit of controversy last spring when she questioned why the “culture,” in her mind, celebrated the more sexualized work of other artists (naming predominantly women of color) while she faced unfair critique. Unsurprisingly, her tone-deaf comments garnered more critique, which she escalated by accusing her haters of trying to start a “race war.” Yeah, it was pretty bad!
The Young & Beautiful singer has been teasing a new album for a while, and she probably could have announced it without dragging up all the drama again. But as we’ve seen, Lana just can’t help but add toxic two cents into the mix.
She debuted her new album cover, a black-and-white image of herself and a group of women wearing 1950s-style fashion, on Instagram. She captioned the post:
“There’s always turmoil and upheaval and in the midst of it- there’s always beautiful music too. introducing my new album chemtrails over the country club “
She quickly added in the comments:
“I also want to say that with everything going on this year! And no this was not intended-these are my best friends, since you are asking today. And damn! As it happens when it comes to my amazing friends and this cover yes there are people of color on this records picture and that’s all I’ll say about that but thank you.”
Except… that wasn’t actually all the artist had to say about it. She continued:
“My beautiful friend Valerie from Del Rio Mexico, my dearest friend Alex and my gorgeous friend Dakota Rain as well as my sweetheart Tatiana.
These are my friends this is my life. We are all a beautiful mix of everything- some more than others which is visible and celebrated in everything I do.”
Okay, a few red flags here. Specifically calling out your non-white friends (and, oddly, which one of them is from Mexico) is a pretty typical way of trying to deflect criticism for racism. And claiming that they’re “all” a “mix of everything” has very “I think we’re ALL women of color” vibes to us.
Making the statement even more cringeworthy, she went on:
“In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to. My best friends are rappers my boyfriends have been rappers.”
Uh, is “rappers” standing in for “Black men” here? This is a very uncomfortable equivalence, and again, “some of my best friends are rappers” is not the absolution from critique Lana thinks it is.
“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 [sic], I’m literally changing the world by putting my life and thoughts and love out there on the table 24 seven. Respect it.”
We don’t even know where to start. First of all, there are many shades of problematic that deserve critique between “not racist” and “storming the Capitol.” Second of all, while we do believe that art can change the world, for the 35-year-old to make that claim… it’s a bit much. Sure, she’s made thought provoking music worthy of its critical acclaim, but she’s not exactly a civil rights leader. The best that can be said about her is that she’s “not not a feminist” — because those are her own words.
It’s not usually productive to tell a pop star to “stick to music,” but every time Lana dips her toes into cultural commentary, she ends up with her foot in her mouth. She may want to let the music speak for itself.
[Image via WENN/Instar]
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