Lana Del Rey has some questions for music critics—but given the way she framed them in a recent Instagram post, she’s likely to receive a lot more hate mail than answers. The Norman Fucking Rockwell singer wants to know why some singers can top charts with work about imperfect sexual relationships, while critics accuse her own work, especially her earlier albums, of glamorizing abuse. It’s unclear, however, why the artists she named to prove her point are almost exclusively women of color—and that detail has already united an army of music fans against her on social media.
“Question for the culture,” Del Rey wrote Thursday morning. “Now that Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila [Cabello], Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, 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?????? [sic]”
“I’m 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 abusive relationships all over the world,” Del Rey continued, adding that she thinks it’s “pathetic” that the way she’s detailed her own descriptions of her “submissive or passive roles in my past relationships has often made people say I’ve set women back hundreds of years.”
“Let this be clear,” Del Rey added. “I’m not not a feminist - but 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, The kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women.”
To some on social media soon after Del Rey shared her post, it seemed as though Del Rey is sulking over the hard-won success women of color have earned in the industry.
Hours after her initial post, Del Rey addressed some of the blowback in the replies.
“To be clear because I knowwwwww you love to twist things,” she wrote, “I fucking love these singers and I know them. #that is why I mentioned them. I would also like to have some of the same freedom of expression without judgment of hysteria. There you go.”
“By the way,” she added, “the singers I mentioned are my favorite singers so if you want to try and make a bone to pick out of that like you always do be my guest, it doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t had the same opportunity to express what I wanted to express without being completely decimated and if you want to say that that has something to do with race that’s your opinion but that’s not what I was saying.”
Minutes later, Del Rey continued, “Bro. This is sad to make it about a WOC issue when I’m talking about my favorite singers. I could’ve literally said anyone but I picked my favorite fucking 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 bullshit.”
“And my last and final note on everything,” she 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 woman - thanks for the Karen comments tho. V helpful.”
At the end of her original post, Del Rey vowed to get further into all of this in her two upcoming books of poetry, and likely also in her new album, which she said will be released September 5. The Discourse can hardly wait.
This article has been updated to include Del Rey’s replies.