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Facing backlash, Lana Del Rey continues to defend her comments on Trump and race

Lana Del Rey performs in Las Vegas in 2018. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Lana Del Rey’s latest album rollout has been a real doozy.

Most recently, Del Rey accused media publications of taking her “well-intentioned and believe it or not liberal comments” on President Trump and the Capitol riot “out of context.” Her tweets reference magazine coverage of a Monday guest spot on BBC Radio 1′s “Future Sounds,” in which she told host Annie Mac that Trump “doesn’t know that he’s inciting a riot.”

“I thought it was very, very clearly obvious that he knew what he was doing the whole way,” Mac replied, after which Del Rey continued: “Because he’s got delusions of grandeur.”

The Grammy-nominated artist clarified Tuesday on Twitter that she had been making the argument that he “is so significantly impaired that he may not know what he was doing due to his significant lack of empathy,” which she identified earlier in the interview as an issue plaguing the country.

“The madness of Trump,” Del Rey said to Mac, “as bad as it was, it really needed to happen. We really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which is not climate change but sociopathy and narcissism. Especially in America. It’s going to kill the world. It’s not capitalism, it’s narcissism.”

Del Rey could very well claim that, by writing a summary of her interview instead of transcribing it, The Washington Post is also omitting some context. (You can listen to the “Future Sounds” episode here, if you so wish.) But the crux of her argument remains the same: Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, which, as she says in a tweeted video, suggests his “sociopathy” is to blame. The backlash over this assertion coincides with the Democratic push to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the mob that breached the Capitol last week, a legislative effort several senior House Republicans have joined.

In claiming that events of the past four years “really needed to happen,” Del Rey, a White woman, disregards that the populations most hurt by these dangerous developments look nothing like her. She was previously accused of racism in May when she announced her coming album, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” with an Instagram post that included a lengthy preamble lashing out at critics she alleges accused her of “glamorizing abuse” throughout her music career.

“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 … cheating etc,” Del Rey wrote in the Instagram post. “Im 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 emotionally abusive relationships all over the world.”

It didn’t go unnoticed that Del Rey chose to name almost all Black women — save for Grande and Cabello, who is of Cuban and Mexican descent — before saying “there has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me.” She clarified soon afterward that she had been advocating for people with “a more delicate personality, not for white woman [sic]” (which sparked yet another backlash, this time about why Del Rey implied that the Black women were not delicate, too).

Del Rey tried to get ahead of a similar response this past Sunday, when she revealed the album artwork on Instagram. In a since-deleted comment, Del Rey noted that her friends on the cover, some of whom are not White, “are all a beautiful mix of everything.”

“In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to,” she continued, according to multiple reports. “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.”

In the BBC interview, Del Rey suggested she had felt pressure to present a more inclusive album cover — “That was the issue that was coming up” — and responded in the affirmative when Mac said, “Those women are your friends. Am I right? Those are people that are dear to you?”

It inevitably became a “POC issue,” as Del Rey put it, given that her Instagram comment suggested she was exempt from race-related criticism because she has been involved with rappers. She concluded her tweeted defense on Tuesday by accusing her critics of sexism.

“A woman still can’t get mad right?” she tweeted. “Even when a mob mentality tries to *incite.”

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