Lana Del Rey dropped her Chemtrails Over the Country Club cover art and immediately found herself on the defensive.
The album cover, which shows Lana Del Rey surrounded by a group of friends at a diner, was accompanied by a lengthy statement defending its apparent lack of diversity.
“I also want to say that with everything going on this year,” Del Rey wrote on Instagram. “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 colour on this record’s picture and that’s all I’ll say about that but thank you.”
Del Rey continued by naming four of her friends – “Valerie from Del Rio Mexico, my dearest friend Alex and my gorgeous friend Dakota Rain as well as my sweetheart Tatiana” – adding: “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.”
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Though Del Rey’s statement was intended to mitigate criticism, it ended up having the opposite effect.
Many pointed out the apparent conflation of “rappers” with people of colour, and the problematic use of the “I have a Black friend card”.
Not lana del rey pulling the 'i have a black friend card' lord have mercy pic.twitter.com/boRQhCjXW9
— Jay🖤 (@jaylynn_ayanna_) January 11, 2021
Not Lana using “rappers” as synonymous with POC…..
— Caroline Frost (@cfrost49) January 10, 2021
Exactly. She’s digging her own grave much deeper.
— they call me fern ✨ (@theycallmefern) January 10, 2021
“Lana your real friends need to have a real chat with you about white fragility,” read one Instagram comment.
“You don’t name drop friends of colour. Are you out of your mind? They’re not props. You better do better.”
Lana Del Rey criticised for comparing herself to women of colour.
This isn’t the first time Lana Del Rey has been called out over race issues.
In May, she was heavily criticised for a tone-deaf post comparing herself to a women of colour in music (and Ariana Grande), which had the effect of suggesting they were given an easy ride by the industry while she was the victim of misogyny.
“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**king, 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 glamorising abuse,” she wrote.
She added: “Let this be clear, 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 mean hear yet – 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.”
Del Rey refused to apologise in the face of criticism, dismissing racism allegations as “bulls**t”.
“When I mentioned women who look like me, I didn’t mean white like me, I mean the kind of women who, you know, other people might not believe, because they think, ‘Oh, well, look at her, she f**king deserves it,’ or whatever,” she said at the time.
Later, she continued by comparing herself to FKA twigs, who is mixed race.
“I just think it’s sad that the women I mentioned about, whether they sing about dancing for money, or whatever, the same stuff, by the way, that I’ve been singing about chronically for 13 years; that’s why I’m in that echelon,” she said.
“Yes, they are my friends and peers, contemporaries. The difference is, when I get on the pole people call me a whore, but when [FKA] Twigs gets on the pole, it’s art.