A few days ago, Lana Del Rey dropped her seventh studio album, Chemtrails over the Country Club – a production collaboration between her, Jack Antonoff, and Rick Nowels. Now, the 35-year-old is not normally embroiled in drama, but in an Instagram post from May 21, 2020, she put herself in troubled social waters that are still angrily churning today.
A Question for the Culture
The post Del Rey wrote reads, in part,
Question for the culture:
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, f***ing, 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 that I’m glamorizing abuse??????
Why did she post this? Well, some haters were dragging her for singing lyrics about, among other dark topics, being hit by her lover. In response, the six-time Grammy nominee called out a number of other female artists and shamed them in the same way she was being shamed.
Worse, though, was the noticeable lack of white women included in her condescending clapback.
All the artists she mentioned are POC (with the hotly-debated exception of Grande), and let’s be honest: She could have just as easily made the same example with plenty of white singers. Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, – hell, even Taylor Swift sings about “being sexy,” too.
Again, I don’t think we should throw shade at any of these women for singing about whatever their hearts desire, but especially after a year where racial inequality was rightfully brought back to the forefront of our minds, fans were quick to question how Lana could be so thoughtless.
A Bad Start for a New Album
On January 11, Del Rey went back to Instagram to post her new album’s cover with a caption alluding to her most recent dose of criticism. The artwork has drawn questions from many who are still disturbed by her post from the spring of 2020. These folks wondered if Lana had chosen a select few WOC for the album cover – which features her mostly-white girl gang – as a form of tokenism to make up for the controversy she’d caused in May.
However, Lana doubled down by spotlighting the WOC from the album’s cover, explaining that they are her dear friends – not tokens.
View this post on Instagram
But just like before, Lana should have stopped there. She didn’t. With another statement, she made herself look even worse:
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. In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to. 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.
The phrase “my best friends are rappers my boyfriends have been rappers” has been especially ill-received. The more Lana talks about this topic, the more out of touch she sounds.
While millions of fans in her comments section are sending support and happily streaming the album, many others are wildly offended by Lana’s lack of sensitivity. Time will tell if this horrifically awkward album release will hinder her sales, her future in the music industry, or both.