Lana Del Rey slammed over her assessment of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande

"Lana's post would have been fine if she hadn't compared herself to a group of mostly black women," writer and activist Shon Faye tweeted.
Image: Lana Del Rey in Seattle on Oct. 2, 2019.
Lana Del Rey in Seattle on Oct. 2, 2019.Mat Hayward / Getty Images file

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By Janelle Griffith

Singer Lana Del Rey was slammed over her assessment of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and other female musicians in an Instagram post Thursday addressing criticism she glamorizes abuse.

The "Young and Beautiful" hitmaker began the lengthy statement posted to her account with: "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------, 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?" Del Rey asked.

She went on to say: "I am 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 over the world."

Del Rey, born Elizabeth Grant, wrote that she is "not not a feminist," but that there has to be a place in feminism for "women who look and act like me — the kind of woman who says no but men hear yes — the kind of women who are slated mercilessly for being their authentic, delicate selves."

"I've been honest and optimistic about the challenging relationships I've had," the singer wrote. "News flash! That's just how it is for many women."

On her earlier albums, Del Rey was tagged as "sadcore," The Los Angeles Times reported in October 2019, describing her career as "unusual in many ways."

"After releasing music under the names Lizzy Grant and May Jailer, she took on the mantle of Lana Del Rey," the Times reported. "She quickly played 'Saturday Night Live' and was met with fierce criticism for her look, her sound, her lyrics. But that fast rise to fame and chauvinist response from some critics didn’t scare her; she just doubled down on what she does best: writing songs."

Some social media users questioned why those named in her Instagram statement — Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Doja Cat and Kehlani, among others — were almost all women of color.

"She aimed her question to 'the culture' and then proceeded to name black women specifically (and Ariana/Camilla) who make R&B, Hip Hop and Urban music," one Twitter user wrote. "Why is that? Why not Taylor? Billie? Adele? Gaga? Katy? Dua?... Why specifically the 'urban" girls?"

Cultural critic and writer Jamilah Lemieux tweeted: "I don't know who was giving Lana Del Rey a hard time but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Black women. Girl, sing your little cocaine carols and leave us alone."

Writer and activist Shon Faye tweeted: "think Lana's post would have been fine if she hadn't compared herself to a group of mostly black women with the clear tone that she thinks she's been treated worse by the media when that’s observably untrue."

Del Rey wrote in her statement that it has been "a long 10 years of bulls--- reviews up until recently," which she has learned from, "but 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."

Many social media users took issue with this assertion and said that Del Rey is not the only musician to face criticism.

Another Twitter user wrote: "Beyoncé was threatened to get lynched because she dared to sing about police brutality, Ariana got death threats for the death of her boyfriend that she had no control over. Kehlani got death + rape threats for a breakup song. All the women Lana mentioned have been through hell."

Del Rey responded to the backlash later Thursday in the comment section of her post, writing that the women she mentioned are her "favorite singers."

"Bro. This is sad to make it about a WOC issue when I’m talking about my favorite singers," she wrote. "I could've literally said anyone but I picked my favorite f------ 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 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 bulls---."

She also attempted to clarify what she meant by "people who look like me."

"I meant the people who don't look strong or necessarily smart, or like they're in control etc," she wrote in a subsequent comment, adding, "it's about advocating for a more delicate personality, not for white woman – thanks for the Karen comments tho. V helpful."

These statements drew other criticism, however, with some commenters saying Del Rey could have made her point without presenting herself as someone who was silenced after "paving the way" for the singers she named.

Actress and comedian Amanda Seales responded directly to Del Rey: "I get your point, and I consider it valid there was just an effective way to make it that didn't center you as someone who has been silenced after paving the way for the women you listed to speak freely about their experiences, which is simply not true."

Del Rey concluded the post by writing that she will detail some of her feelings in her next two books of poetry and she teased an upcoming album.