Today trailblazing artist Lana Del Rey released her new album Chemtrails Over the Country Club. While I’m sure the Gatsbyesque persona is enough to charm the general masses, I will not be blindsided. Angelic voice or not, Lana has time and time again found herself in the ring of fire. At what point do we make the decision to separate the artist from the art?
Lana Del Rey plays white martyr
It’s the hot seat question in today’s society. In a recent open letter published on Del Rey’s Instagram she tore down seven other female artists. Six were women of colour. All the while managing to complain about her own success. Her words suggested there is no room in feminist conversations for women like her. By her own reasoning this is because she is “privileged”, “talented”, “white”, “fragile” and “beautiful”. I find contradiction in her observation that Hollywood caters to this type of woman and that this model has been the catalyst of success for female artists.
With the political climate changing, people are celebrating women of colour and women’s rights more than ever. Meanwhile Lana just can’t seem to stop playing the role of white martyr. As we start celebrating more diversity in music, her reaction is to feel shunned. She frames herself as a constant victim when in reality she is as a wealthy white woman who is part of an industry where this exact image is rewarded and celebrated. It is the most successful archetype a woman can play. A fact Del Rey either fails to recognize or chooses to completely ignore.
Lana Del Rey on the cover of 2012’s ‘Born To Die’.
Is their room for Lana in a post ‘WAP’ world?
Compare the similar themes from Del Rey’s ‘Cola‘ lyrics (“My P*ssy tastes like coca cola”) to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B‘s hit single ‘WAP‘ (“Yeah you f*kn’ with some wet a** Pu**y”). It is woefully ignorant for Lana Del Rey to act like, because of her position of privilege, she isn’t treated better by the media and public over artists of fighting to be heard amidst the clamor of racial and sexual oppression. In my view Del Rey refuses to acknowledge an obvious lack of intersectional feminism. I guess when you are in a world where you are privileged by your circumstances, equality of races will, in turn, feel like suppression for those operating so blindly off white fragility.
Whether intended or not, racism is still racism. Even with hot cherry lipstick on. Taking into account her access to education, Del Rey has no excuse for being tone deaf when it comes to racism and violence against women. When she does address controversial statements it is predominantly white women accepting and defending her apologies.
As Del Rey’s questionable statements are read by millions the words of women of colour fall upon deaf ears. It would not be hard to respect her more if being called out time and time again made her reflect. And while cannot judge Lana Del Rey as a person, I feel her actions have never been more at odds with not only my own but the world’s at large. Until they can align again, I will not be listening to her music.