A Deep Dive into Lana Del Rey's Dumb*ss Instagram Post
In the wake of her 7th studio album, Lana Del Rey is making headlines after she posted to her Instagram, expressing her frustration with the criticism the subjects in her music have received throughout her career. In her Instagram post, she states disappointment with how her and her music has been “slated mercilessly” for glamorizing abuse and being a setback to women. What could have (and should have) been an insightful post about sexism in the music industry, as women in the industry are definitely critiqued in ways men are not. Instead, came across as a slightly narcissistic and tone-deaf rant about how mostly black women have achieved the success Lana wishes she had.
The specific artists she name drops in her post are Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Camilla Cabello, Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé. Five out of the seven names listed are black women. Unlike Lana, artists like Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj have and continue to face misogynoir in the music industry. Many of the artists she named are facing double oppression that actually make it harder for them to progress, let alone achieve the success many of them have, in the music industry, or any industry for that matter.
In the post she goes on to say “let this be clear- I’m not a feminist - but there has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me…” There is so much to unpack in that statement, I had to laugh at the irony when I read it the first time. First, Lana Del Rey is a white woman. Additionally, she fits into the confines of conventional beauty and has a body type that mostly adheres to the societal beauty standard of slim figures. There is a place for women who look and act like Lana everywhere because women who look and act like her are the very same people who created and continue to perpetuate Euro-centric beauty standards and institutions of white supremacy. To add insult to injury, she wants a seat at the table in a space she is actively rejecting and after putting no effort or activism into the true inter-sectional feminism Lana is really referencing. Even the concept of inter-sectional feminism had to be created because cis-white women have historically excluded other marginalized groups from access to their space.
Y'all see what I'm saying? Ironically, a white woman wants to reap the benefits of work she did not do. Nicki Minaj has advocated for women in rap and in the music industry her whole career, and for her whole career she has been almost blacklisted several times and labeled an “angry black woman.” Similarly, Beyoncé’s music and performances in the last decade have become more political; as a result, she has been unfairly critiqued on the stance that she is over-hyped anyway. Beyoncé had to watch her daughter, Blue Ivy, receive hate while she was a baby for her natural hair texture. For all their success, these black women have had to endure criticism Lana never has and never will.
Though, to give Lana a bit of credit (and this is me being nice), I get her intentions were trying to raise awareness of an injustice she and other women experience in the music industry; however, her delivery just reeked of privilege. Lana Del Rey has over 16 million followers on Instagram. Her platform on social media is too profound for her to just casually throw black women under the bus to lift herself up. Many of her fans have taken to her defense to basically call black women sensitive for having valid criticism surrounding Lana’s aloofness, regressing the conversation around misogynoir in popular culture. Hopefully, after taking in some of the valid criticism that is coming from her post on social media and other think-piece writers, she will realize the error of her words and next time think before she posts.
Women in the music industry have a right to be sexual, sensual, conservative or anything else they want to be that aligns with the integrity of their art. Historically, black women have had to bear the brunt end of the stick in the music industry and watch as our whole aesthetic gets taken by more well-received white women. Lana Del Rey’s discography of music has been done before by other black women who received hate for their hyper-sexuality as well. Unfortunately, every woman in the music industry has had their struggle with unfair criticism from people who see women as uniformed beings. However, one mistake we should never make is discrediting black women’s experience with racism just because we finally see them starting to shine.