Every famous celebrity has been involved in a controversy at some point in their careers. It is simply inevitable.
When you’ve got the whole world watching your every move, making a single mistake could land you into a messy scandal.
As one of the most influential singers of our generation, Lana Del Rey is no exception to that. The singer has had her fair share of controversies – well, maybe more than ‘fair’, as she’s been the center of several dramas these years. In fact, many have added her to the list of “problematic artists”.
Today, we’re going to take a look at all the times Lana Del Rey was canceled, bashed, and criticized throughout her career.
#1: Her Blue Jeans cover art is ‘glamorizing abuse’
Perhaps Lana thought nothing bad when she laid on the sand and closed her eyes as she was being held on a chokehold by a man out of frame.
And perhaps no epiphany occurred when she agreed to use that photo as a cover art for her single Blue Jeans. Hence, it might have caught her by surprise when people welcomed her visual art with such hate and criticism.
For them, the cover art is as problematic as it gets – giving the impression that there is something deeply beautiful about abuse, when, in fact, the only thing people should understand about violence is that it is deeply disturbing.
And this, my friends, is the start of people accusing Lana of desensitizing abuse. And this won’t be the last time Lana pokes the bear with a stick.
#2: Lana was accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ after wearing a Native American headdress
Not even a year after her first controversy with Blue Jeans, Lana was once again attacked by the cancel culture mob following the release of her 2012 music video Ride.
In the video, there is a clip of Lana donning a feathered headdress – something that is typically used and worn by Native American people. Many believed that it was a prime example of cultural appropriation. As defined by Britannica, cultural appropriation is:
“… when members of a majority group adopt cultural elements of a minority group in an exploitative, disrespectful, or stereotypical way.”
With that said, many were upset with Lana for allegedly reducing the culture of Native Americans as mere fashion items. She’s not indigenous, so she had no reason to wear it – even in the artistic context.
#3: Lana ‘romanticizes abuse’ with her song lyrics… again
It seems that Lana has chosen to make toxicity and abuse her own personal brand as she continues to depict domestic violence in a positive light. She has done that not just once, twice, but numerous times in her songs.
But perhaps her song Ultraviolence takes the cake for having the most controversial lyrics such as “he hit me and it felt like a kiss” and “he hurt me but it felt like true love.”
To them, Lana has crossed the line with those lyrics. This is no longer storytelling, but a harmful visualization of relationships that young, impressionable listeners might believe in.
Perhaps Lana has finally agreed with the critics on this one, though, as she no longer sings that line when performing Ultraviolence. She admitted in an interview:
“I don’t like it. I don’t. I don’t sing it. I sing Ultraviolence but I don’t sing that line anymore. Having someone be aggressive in a relationship was the only relationship I knew. I’m not going to say that that [lyrics] was 100 percent true, but I do feel comfortable saying what I used to was a difficult, tumultuous relationship, and it wasn’t because of me. It didn’t come from my end.”
#4: A leaked Marilyn Manson music video shows Lana in a r*pe scene
What started from cover arts and song lyrics turned into an actual acting performance. Lana has been long testing her creative boundaries, but this time, people have had enough.
It was revealed in a leaked footage of Marilyn Manson’s music video that Lana took part in it by playing a character who was being sexually abused by guy wearing a Texas Chainsaw Massacre shirt.
The entire scene serves no other purpose than to contain a reference to the classic horror film – something that can be done without, you know, all the sexual abuse stuff. Many people believe that this is the best evidence for Lana Del Rey’s tone deafness.
#5: She made some very bold political comments
Celebrities have often been scrutinized for dabbling with politics – in fact, the punchline goes: “Another successful artist ruined by politics.”
Sure, that may be counterproductive, but starting online wars with other celebrities about political matters isn’t any better, either. Here’s a brief list of all the things Lana said about politics:
- “Trump becoming our president was a loss for our country.”
- Lana described both Trump and Kanye West as having “delusions of grandeur” and “extreme issues with narcissism.”
- The U.S. Capitol riots “needed to happen. We really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which is not climate change but sociopathy and narcissism.”
- Still talking about the U.S. capitol riots, Lana doesn’t think that Trump didn’t mean to incite the attack.
#6: Lana has been beefing with feminism
Although feminism technically is still under politics, Lana’s extensive and complicated history with the movement deserves a category all on its own. In a 2014 exclusive Fader cover story, Lana has this to say about feminism:
“For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like ‘God,’ I’m just not really that interested.”
The reason for Lana’s disinterest with feminism used to be muddy until she made an Instagram post questioning modern feminist ideals.
It seems that her dislike for feminism is rooted from the fact that she feels excluded; that ‘soft’ and ‘delicate’ women like her are ignored in favor of ‘strong’ and ‘empowered’ women in the industry. In response to this, Brittney McNamara penned this on Teen Vogue:
“As women continue to work toward a world in which our gender doesn’t define or limit us, it’s important that we also examine our role in enforcing the patriarchal standards we’re trying to buck. This is particularly true for white women. Maybe it’s not that feminism doesn’t see Lana, but that she doesn’t see herself in the place feminism has come.”
Needless to say, it’s a really long issue that deserves its own article. But, to end this segment, Lana has tried to clarify that she “is not not a feminist”. Awesome double negative there, right?
#7: Twitter Feud with Azealia Banks
The American singer Lana Del Rey’s controversies pale in comparison to the number of backlash and feuds Azealia Banks has had over the course of her rapping career. So, when the two talented artists went head to head on Twitter, they gave everyone a chaotic night to remember.
It all started with Lana’s unsolicited comment on Kanye West’s Instagram post expressing his support for Donald Trump. Azealia quickly went on to defend Ye, saying:
“Don’t use Kanye for your own vapid attempts to seem politically aware when there is SO MUCH MORE bootleg witchcraft you could be doing to TRY and take down 45… Kanye is not your enemy or THE enemy.”
Of course, Lana did not back down from this catfight, as she proceeded to offer her psychiatrist’s number to Banks since her “psych meds aren’t working.” Sheesh, talk about a nasty burn!
#8: Lana wore a mesh mask out in public
The COVID-19 pandemic has been quite helpful in revealing the hidden ignorance of some famous celebrities. Recently, Lana made headlines after she was pictured wearing a mask made out of mesh during a book signing event.
Someone needs to tell Lana that masks become less effective when there are holes in them. For many, this could be another one of her poor attempts to get aesthetic points off of serious matters – like sexual abuse and a world-wide pandemic.
#9: She called out Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj – and many others
Lana went on an unprovoked rant in a now-deleted Instagram post, complaining about how “Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani, and Nicki Minaj and Beyonce have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, f—ing, cheating, etc,” while she can’t sing 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 glamorizing abuse.”
She further claimed that feminism must have a place for women who look and act like her – the type of women who are delicate and submissive – and not just strong, independent women. She then concluded her rant by promoting her two upcoming poetry books and an album.
Many were quick to criticize Lana for needlessly dragging other female artists – most of whom are people of color – just to get her point across. She then defended her decision to mention those artists:
“To be clear because I knowwwww you love to twist things. I f—-ing love these singers and know them. #that is why I mentioned them I would also like to have some of the same freedom of expression without judgment of hysteria. There you go.”
And for those who accused her of being racist, Lana also has a response for them:
“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. I don’t care anymore but don’t ever ever ever ever bro- call me racist because that is bulls–t.”
#10: The album cover for Chemtrails Over the Country Club ‘lacks diversity’
When Lana unveiled the cover art for her highly anticipated album Chemtrails Over the Country Club, she was greeted with criticism more than appreciation. Many were quick to notice that the people in the album cover were mostly white women. This prompted the singer to follow up with a comment that read:
“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 gain 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.”
Her response did not sit well with some people. In fact, LA Times even mocked her for thinking that having exes and best friends who are rappers makes it impossible for her to be racist.
If anything, bringing that up reinforces the racist stereotype that all rapping is solely a black-people thing. She should have never added that comment but, what can we say? That’s Lana Del Rey we’re talking about!