Lana Del Rey released a lengthy statement on Instagram Wednesday night and there’s a lot to unpack. Most prominently, she challenged cultural critics and the music industry as a whole with regards to how she believes she has been perceived. She also revealed that a new album is coming out soon.
The singer-songwriter has been criticized for depictions of violence and relationship dynamics in her lyrics, especially in her earlier work (namely, her debut album, Born to Die, and the 2014 album, Ultraviolence). “I’ve been honest about the challenging relationships I’ve had,” she wrote. “That’s just how it is for many women.”
“I think it’s pathetic that my minor lyrical exploration detailing my sometimes submissive or passive roles in my relationships has often made people say I’ve set women back hundreds of years…There has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me,” she continued. “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.”
The letter is most polarizing at its start, when Del Rey refers to women (mostly of colour) who “…have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating etc.” She mentions artists like Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé by name.
In a comment beneath the post, singer Jessy Wilson pointed out Del Rey is hardly the first woman to sing about, and be criticized for, these issues. “Black women have been singing about sex, abuse, being submissive and aggressive in relationships and being glamorous for decades,” she wrote, citing Millie Jackson, Betty Wright, Betty Davis and Mary J. Blige as examples.
gathered. goodnight❤️ pic.twitter.com/7SjQJp0JvR
— N. (@theesudani) May 21, 2020
Del Rey closed her statement explaining that she would be exploring these themes further in two upcoming books of poetry. She also announced a new album, the follow-up to the acclaimed Norman F*cking Rockwell, due on September 5.
Read the full note below.
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