Lana del Rey isn’t racist, she’s just ‘advocating for a more delicate personality’

Lana Del Rey arrives at the Pre GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean "Diddy" Combs at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 25, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California© Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

I’ll be nice to Lana del Rey for a moment and say that her original statement about being the victim of double-standards in pop music had more nuance than many people wanted to admit. I think she was perhaps even making a valid point, but she just made it in a terrible way. Lana basically argued that Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce have all had hit songs where they’re singing or rapping about sex, being sexy, dysfunctional relationships, or relationships which were likely physically or emotionally abusive. Lana was attempting to make the point that her music has always been about those subjects too, so why was she always being criticized for “glamorizing” abuse, abusive relationships and other subjects? That’s my kind-reading of what she wrote. But of course many people think that Lana was coming for their faves. Perhaps they had a point, because (as I said) Lana didn’t make her argument very well. She came across like she was saying she did that sh-t first and those artists (six of whom were women of color) copied her or followed in her path, or (at best) they were all the same and Lana was being punished for her whiteness and glamour.

After trending all day Thursday and being called out widely on social media, Lana released another statement on her Instagram comments and Stories:

In her original post, Lana del Rey called out fellow female stars Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, who “have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f—ing, cheating, etc.” She then asked if she can continue singing about her own dark past “without being crucified or saying that I’m glamorizing abuse?”

“To be clear because I knowwwwww you love to twist things,” she wrote in the comments section of her post. “I f—ing love these singers and know them. that is why I mention them. I would also like to have some of the same freedom of expression without judgement of hysteria.”

Del Rey continued to defend herself via Instagram story, writing, “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 f—ing 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—.”

The “Blue Jeans” singer continued to slam critics who thought she was calling out minority artists specifically. “By the way 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.”

She concluded by writing, “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.”

[From Billboard]

“It’s about advocating for a more delicate personality” is so loaded. Despite what she says – and possibly despite what she thinks – she is actually advocating for white fragility and the protection of white fragility. “There are certain women that culture doesn’t want to have a voice it may not have to do with race…” She’s talking about white women there, bro. I’m sorry, but I’m laughing – she’s saying that the culture doesn’t want to protect delicate, fragile white women or let them have a voice, which makes her mad because the culture empowers the voices of Beyonce, Cardi, etc. I can’t. This was a mess from Lana from start to finish. Big Gemini Season Energy though.

Lana Del Rey arrives at The Recording Academy And Clive Davis' 2020 Pre-GRAMMY Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 25, 2020 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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84 Responses to “Lana del Rey isn’t racist, she’s just ‘advocating for a more delicate personality’”

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  1. Case says:

    WOW okay this doesn’t help. Maybe I’m just not up on the narrative around Lana, but “I would also like to have some of the same freedom of expression without judgement of hysteria” sounds crazy overdramatic to me. I don’t disagree with her that she should be able to write about whatever she wants, but is she really this judged and hated for singing about these topics? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.

    If Taylor Swift said “I write love songs just like Beyonce and Camilla Cabello and shouldn’t be called out for that being the focus of my writing” she’d be raked over the coals. So no pass for Lana on this one either. IDK what the heck she’s talking about with advocating for a delicate personality, but it sure sounds racist to me.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I find her wildly thin skinned

      I remember her coming for the one reviewer who dared say NFR wasn’t brilliant.

      She should get a life and some perspective. I deal with people who have been abused in ways she can never imagine and who are fighting to keep their kids. Families where abusers have murdered their sisters daughter’s and no justice was seen.

      Stop coming for others and whining

    • Yup, Me says:

      Also, there’s a way she could have written it that made it CLEAR that she loves and admires those artists and JUST LIKE THEM, she’d like to create and express the full spectrum of being in relationship, both positive and challenging.

      Part of white privilege is not having to see it, question it, think about or challenge it – even when your entire life is draped in it.

      • Sarah says:

        THIS.

        The problem with the casual racism of the white feminist is that not only do they not think there’s anything wrong with it, they think they are being one of the “good” white people. Girl, STOP. Be quiet and LISTEN to the people trying to tell how and why these comments are racist.

  2. Bryn says:

    Lana del ray sounds like shes out to lunch

    • anniefannie says:

      or out of her tree, at this point her PR people need to tell her to staaaaahp digging to China

    • Nicole r says:

      I like her music but she is a self important moron

      • Yup, Me says:

        My husband likes her music and will occasionally play it near me to see if I realize it’s her. I usually do. I find Lana’s music “droopy” and self indulgently whiny in a way that only white women really get to be. Her style is “nervous breakdown chic” and should be consumed in place of Valium.

      • Snazzy says:

        “Nervous breakdown chic and should be consumed in place of valium”. I love you @yum, me

  3. Lisa says:

    It’s not a protection of white fragility. Just fragility. You don’t have to be a badass to be able to express yourself, but these days the media seems to want to portray all women as strong to make for the years of leaving them out or forcing them to confirm to ladylike behavior. If everyone is forced to be strong, it’s the same problem but disguised differently: women are still confirming to specific roles, it’s just the details have changed.

    • Voula says:

      If you engage your brain the media shouldn’t be able to ‘force’ you to do anything.

      • Lisa says:

        Technically they haven’t, because she’s a commercial and critical success, but hearing all the unnecessary criticism is hard on her, so she has the choice to speak out.

      • Jules says:

        the media is in way more control than you think. they don’t use obvious force, but it’s subtle hypnotism to control.

    • Smices says:

      Except all the women she references, minus maybe Camila, have all taken tons of shit for the type of music they choose to sing about. Far more criticism than “delicate” Lane Del Rey.

      • Lisa says:

        It’s not a competition as who’s received more criticism. It’s more about the reason she’s been criticized, and she’s responding to that. I don’t agree with the way she’s done – it’s sloppy – but I see why she’d choose to respond.

    • Bettyrose says:

      This is basically the “choice” feminism argument..i.e. that as long as women are making their own choices it’s feminist to choose not to be a feminist.

      • Lisa says:

        She hasn’t opted out of being a feminist, she explicitly stated that in her first post.

      • bettyrose says:

        I was referring more to your argument that it doesn’t matter whether women are portrayed as strong or weak. I agree that what matters is women choosing their own identities, but women never have the option to be weak or fragile, only to act as if they are. Women are strong by nature (menstrual cramps at 12 years old? We endure – even if the male gaze likes to encourage us to feign fragility).

      • Bettyrose says:

        Deleted

      • InrovertedExtrovert says:

        @bettyrose. I think we’re on to something here-ish. We all have the “right” to our own identity, but sadly, white supremacists are going to latch on, because she’s advocated for female white fragility. Even if I like her tragic retro music, I won’t give it play. Not that ppl can’t evolve- I finally went to college at age 45 & whole world changed- I lived in a rural town & never really got deep into to internet to get schooled. I changed, & maybe LDR can learn, let’s see?

    • Elizabeth says:

      I guess I would disagree on a lot of bases but especially because Lana has been (overall) lauded in the media and been incredibly successful. I really, really don’t see why she would have a big complaint. Not every single critic is going to love you, okay, but Lana has really been loved by so many, and many critics have really appreciated her work. She’s not an outcast.

      On top of that, the women she mentioned have gotten criticized for their work around sexuality as well, some of them a lot more arguably than she ever has. It really comes off wrong.

      • Lisa says:

        I personally view her as critically acclaimed, too! But it’s up to her which critic she feels like responding to, right? We don’t really have a leg to stand on when we say, “Most people love you – ignore the ones who don’t.”

      • Elizabeth says:

        It just comes off as incredible that she would act like she is maligned and outcast when she demonstrably isn’t. She has had massive mainstream success.

        Plus, she is & always has been a rich white woman, and nearly every artist she name checked was a woman of color, several of whom also came from lower income backgrounds. That is not incidental, and that does absolutely show unexamined misogynoir interlaced with class privilege.

      • ruuu says:

        @elizabeth

        >She has had massive mainstream success.

        I guess then when Rihanna or Beyonce talk about their critics they’d be whining unnecessarily too?

    • Original T.C. says:

      Yes in the categories of rap and Hip-Hop. And ladies in those categories can been called strippers and ho-es talking about sex with nothing to contribute from some men in those categories. One I didn’t realize Lana was in the hip-hop and rap category (!?), and two if she missed all the those attacks on WOC for being just as strong and singing about the same things their male counterparts do then she must be living in a cave out there or completely ignorant of the c.rap WOC still deal with. This is literally nonsense “pay attention to me” White woman tears.

      • Lisa says:

        I haven’t really seen those attacks against the artists you mentioned either, but more about Lana presenting passively in her songs. At least not recently.

      • Iga Nieroda says:

        Ariana is not a woman of color. She just tans hard. I disagree with Lana’s choice of words, but I wanted to point that out.

      • ruuu says:

        @Iga

        Yeah all I see on twitter is Ariana being mocked by WOC for being a white girl pretending to be dark but now she’s a WOC apparently. Hard to keep up.

    • LidiaJara says:

      I agree that fragility is important, for everyone, but to be a public figure and write a post about how you are delicate and Black women are strong and sexual is to either intentionally add to or be willfully ignorant about the history or misogynoir in the US.

      • Ali says:

        @LIDIAJARA I was happy to see a lot of white people (people with white profile pictures) seem to get your point.

      • Diana says:

        I agree, Lydiajar. Lisa, black woman are CONSTANTLY being positioned as strong, sexual, scary and unfeminine. Michelle Obama was attacked for the size of her arms, for goodness sake. For Lana to claim that she is delicate and fragile, as opposed to those big strong scary black women, is really rank. Especially to claim that she has faced the same sort of discrimination and struggle that they have. It’s tone deaf and it’s pretty disgusting.

    • anon says:

      Lana mentioned and positioned herself against WOC who also project “fragility”, according to your definiton, but in a darker skin so they’re no longer seen as fragile. It is about white fragility, or as she said herself, women “who look like me”. Fragility is only valued when dressed as whitem in a pretty flowery dress and red lipstick.

      She could have said frankness or authenticity; she did not, because “fragility” and “feminine” are white supremacist code words for white.

      She also reserves her vitriol to “female” critics, because holy f**k internalized mysoginy!

  4. Dragon Wise says:

    This is where implicit bias and the inability to see one’s own white privilege is a huge problem. Her whole argument is problematic and full of dog whistles. This ain’t it, Bro!

  5. Original Jenns says:

    Absolutely agree that she’s talking about her own white fragility. And whatever her intentions in her first post, she should not have acted like the referenced women aren’t criticized. Girllllll. Most of them by being women of color (and all of them by being women) are criticized on the regular for breathing. And their song lyrics and music. Having a #1 doesn’t change that they are as hassled as you.

  6. emmy says:

    The f*ck is a “delicate personality”? And why would anyone advocate for it? I sure don’t have one and let me tell you, if I was more girly, softer, quieter (and I’m assuming that’s what she means), I would go through life a lot breezier. I would also lose my sh*t at some point and have less fun but … I still don’t know what she’s talking about. Which, for a writer, is not great.

    • Bettyrose says:

      👏👏👏

    • Winnie says:

      I think it means more of a shy, introvert who typically is not good at advocating for themselves. Soft spoken and maybe gets into abusive relationships where they are dominated. I know a few friends like this and only one is white. That’s how I read it (when I read the full comments).

      • Melissa says:

        This is exactly what I took from both statements. The singers Lana mentioned express themselves more outwardly, which is common in extroverts. Introverted personalities don’t usually take that route and therefore aren’t as heard or in this case, as lauded whenever they do put their hearts out for the world to see. I think that was her point.

    • anon says:

      In Lana’s case, it means being a sort of version of a “trad wife”, a male identified woman. A Cool Girl. It has nothing to do with introversion, but a lot to do with conformity with what is expected from women.

  7. Jugstore cowboy says:

    I fell into a Doja Cat black hole on YouTube yesterday and fell in love. She is amazing.

    • Dee Kay says:

      SaySo is an amazing video!!! And the remix with Nicki Minaj is fantastic, it’s the song of the summer for me. (I hope they still get together to do a video for it post-quarantine.)

  8. S808 says:

    For someone who supposedly writes her own music she’s a horrible at articulating herself. That whole “delicate” bullshit is so coded. I’d like to say I don’t think she’s racist but she has somethings to unpack. My biggest question is why not name women who are more in her lane of “alternative” music (especially Billie Ellish) and have received mainstream success? Billie has a #1. Billie has GRAMMYS. These women never mention people who look like them in these criticisms and that’s suspect to me.

  9. Michael says:

    Why does she talk like her albums don’t sell? She may not be as big as the women she mentioned (which may her real problem) but she does fine. I always thought she was a critical darling so I do not understand why she feels picked on

    • Beach Dreams says:

      IMO it’s basically your second comment that’s the issue for her. She’s clearly bitter that other women (especially WOC looking at who she listed) are getting the mainstream success and recognition that she feels entitled to. She did get a lot of criticism in her early days, but a lot of that criticism was actually warranted. Despite her comments in her initial post, she absolutely did romanticize abuse and a number of other problematic topics. I haven’t heard anything like that from the women she listed (and I’ve listened to a good portion of music from several of them).

    • Sof says:

      The only explanation I can think of her being picked on is that her label doesn’t let her record the songs she wants to. But she seems the kind of person who would make that public, so I don’t know.

      • Beach Dreams says:

        Lana’s actually had a lot of creative freedom and control throughout her career; certainly more than most artists get to have with their labels. The problem is that she’s one of those hyper-sensitive artists who hates being criticized and seems to see all criticism as an attack.

    • JJ says:

      From what I know of her, she seems very brittle and intolerant of the slightest criticism.

  10. WTF says:

    So the women of color she named aren’t “delicate”? Stop talking little girl. You keep revealing your racism

    • Christina says:

      She’s exposed her Karen mentality, and part of that is that she has no idea that she dog-whistled all the way through her first statement. Rihanna got dragged for promoting abuse for Love the Way You Lie. Anyone who is big enough to have their music critically analyzed is going to get dragged at some point, especially women because women’s behavior is policed, especially WOC. I haven’t read any of the criticism of her work, but most music critics who work at large outlets are white men.

      Lana is in a bubble. She needs to read the other sections of the news instead of the stuff music critics write and get out of her own head. If she did that, she might learn about why she sounds like a racist white woman. I bet she tells people, “but I have Black friends”, because that’s what it sounded like when she wrote, “they are may favorite singers.” Sheesh…

      • anon says:

        “part of that is that she has no idea that she dog-whistled all the way through her first statement” oh, she does. That’s why she doubled down on her second statement. She knows.

    • frenchtoast says:

      “little girl” bothers me when referred to grown ass women. It’s sexist, a way to diminish women and belittle them by using infantilizing language. Please don’t.

  11. grabbyhands says:

    Sigh. I love her music, but she is just so trying.

  12. Tangie says:

    Side note, I think I read somewhere that isn’t her last name. Del Ray is an assumed last name to make her seem more Hispanic (i.e. different and exotical). Does anyone else remember reading this? Appropriation much? But then again I guess Ariana does the same thing.

  13. Maida says:

    Her over-the-top defensiveness sounds so much like Trump, I just can’t. If this is what advocating for a “more delicate personality” looks like, HARD PASS.

  14. LunaSF says:

    I forgot she is still a thing. I remember she had a big hit several years ago but I’m surprised she is still newsworthy. Also I thought most current popular artists don’t write their own music? It seems like that content is what’s selling so that’s what these women are singing. Everything in the radio sounds so similar to me that I assumed no one is writing original stuff and it’s all what music execs are having these artists put out. I figured they all used the same team of writers so who cares?

    • CROOKSNNANNIES says:

      Her latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, just came out last August and was widely acclaimed. I’m so surprised that after all of the glowing reviews she’s found something to complain about. Her genre is totally different than Ariana’s, Doja Cat’s, etc. so I don’t really get the point of the comparison. Sour grapes and oranges.

  15. Lotus says:

    Lana grew up very rich, she got to pursue her music career without holding down several jobs and eating ramen like some of the women she mentioned. In fact all the women she mentioned worked hard, hustling to succeed bc if they didnt they would be left with nothing. It’s easy to be delicate when you havent had to fight for what you have but if you have had to fight, you are no longer viewed as delicate.

  16. Ali says:

    Honestly Lana Del Rey’s comment section is hilarious.

    One person wrote “I cant believe there are so many dumb comments”. I replied “I just block those people and move on”.

    An hour later a guy replied to me saying “you should block me” and I did.

  17. Sof says:

    Bro, if you had more guts, you would have addressed your statement to the critics who irritate you, bro, instead of mentioning your alleged favorite singers. Unless, of course, this is a press stunt. When are her poetry books being published?

  18. Beach Dreams says:

    She’s so pathetic. She will never stop seeing herself as a victim, even after all the critical acclaim she’s gotten over the past few years (including nominations in the biggest Grammy categories).

  19. MellyMel says:

    Continued white feminism. I like her music, but girl! She sells records and gets good reviews from critics in the industry. I don’t understand why she’s so sensitive.

  20. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Women that look like her have dominated every creative industry for decades. If she wanted her comments to be seen with nuance she should have shown some. Im actually a Lana fan. And I would love to say Im surprised but honestly Im not ever surprised anymore when the Karen jumps out of ANY white woman.

  21. Dee Kay says:

    i love Lana Del Rey’s music but I learned a long time ago not to hero-worship musicians, as they often come across as idiots in interviews and, heaven forbid, when they make their own statements (like LDR did here, twice omg). There are exceptions, of course, but I feel a little badly for the smart, educated musicians just as I do for the actors and actresses who actually got a college degree. It must be weird to have learned a lot, and be able to state arguments and ideas clearly, and work in a field where everyone around you just babbles a bunch of nonsense a lot of the time.

  22. Caty Page says:

    Just want to specifically call out the line, “don’t ever ever ever ever bro- call me racist because that is bulls—.”

    I’m Brown, but light skinned to the point that darker skinned PoC believe I can “pass.” That comes with privilege. So sometimes I say ignorant things. I deserve to be called out on those things. Even when I feel embarrassed about what I said or how I came across, it’s my job to READ, LISTEN and LEARN. I can save my feelings for my therapist, it’s not someone else’s job to coddle me so I never grow.

    So to be a white lady and think no one ever has the right to question to your racially charged comments? YIKES, GIRL. Do better. Say, “I put my foot in my mouth. I need to go ask these women what they think so I can learn from this. It’s not their job to teach me, but I value their opinions and hope they can just point me in the direction of a good book so I can do better next time.” THEN BE QUIET FOR A HOT MINUTE. Go learn.

  23. Oatmeal says:

    Shutting up is forever free

  24. Faye G says:

    WOW Lana is really stupid. She’s basically saying that she, a white woman, is delicate and sings about love and glamour and beauty and all of that shit. While the women of color she mentioned only sing about sex and are not “delicate“. How does she not see how problematic that is? Is she really that dense and narcissistic? I was never a huge fan of hers but this is the nail in the coffin for me.

  25. Christy says:

    I saw someone on Twitter say her millionaire dad paid for her to get in industry and that her Lana Del Rey persona was her third attempt to succeed (and it obviously worked) I have no idea how true that is but it wouldn’t surprise me, privileged white women have a thing for playing the victim.

  26. Züri says:

    I don’t know anything about her, but here comes my superficial comment. The first thing I noticed is how much filler she has in her face. Holy smokes!

  27. Loreen says:

    When I studied PR and communication we had a professor taking to us about crisis communication, and how we all needed to study some psychology on top of everything, because we would eventually 100% have to deal with clients who never admit they’re wrong or would know how to say sorry.

    I’m baffled at how people always defend themselves before becoming aware and saying sorry. Like saying sorry and admit you were wrong would make you less human, strong, whatever. Like that doesn’t actually give you a humanity and humbleness that resonates with others. (given it’s sincere)

    Del Rey is no exception.

    Being misunderstood awakens a lot of emotional pain in people, but defense is not the answer.

  28. Bread and Circuses says:

    “I f-ing love these singers”
    “I picked my favorite f-cking people”
    “that is bulls-”

    Delicate.

    So delicate.

  29. Lohola says:

    Wow, Alison Roman and her could have their own shitty variety show…

  30. Naddie says:

    Spoiled dumb idiot. All of these singers she brought up are more nuanced than her “vintage tortured seductress” persona. And I say that as someone who likes most of her songs.

  31. SunshineG says:

    Just FYI Dojo Cat has displayed well known anti-black behaviors and attitudes. Please dig a little further before supporting her or capping for her.

  32. Alex says:

    I had no idea Lana thought she was being subversively feminist with her music. I thought she was purposefully camp af and was being obvious about all her…beat generation tropes.

  33. frenchtoast says:

    She probbaly just wanted to stir up some drama to promote her new album