2020 was a treacherous year for celebrities online, who had to move through a complex set of unwritten rules about the right tone to hit on social networks that disrupted even the smartest among them. Well of course Del Rey wasted no time stepping into it. In May, she announced her new album by posting on Instagram: “Now that Doja Cat, Ariana [Grande], Camila [Cabello], Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé had number one with songs on how to be sexy, without clothes, fuck, cheat, etc. – Can I go back to songs about the incarnation, feel beautiful by being in love if the relationship isn’t perfect, or dancing for money … without being crucified or told to glamorize abuse? … I’m not a feminist, but there must be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me. “Fans of other artists united against her, pointing out that she mostly targeted women in color. Del Rey’s own fans begged her to delete the post. A more calculating star might know it’s time to leave for a while. But it was 2020 – who was the ability to check out? Instead, she buried her heels. “The fact that they want … to turn my commitment to fragility into a racing war – it’s really bad,” she said in a subsequent video. Her timing was flawless: The same week the scandal Amy Cooper turned the “fragility” of white women into a blow.
Del Rey tried to get back on the right side of history, but once again toyed with images whose meaning slipped from her hand. When Instagrammed LA protested against police brutality, it withdrew criticism for posting videos of the robbery. When she signed books wearing mesh masks, she was accused of risks. (She claimed to have protective plastic underneath.) She eventually entered a state of jerky paranoia familiar to Taylor Swift listeners. Reputation. After publishing an article for her upcoming album, Del Rey added a defense against accusations of tokenism yet to be made: “As is the case when it comes to my amazing friends and this cover, yes, there are people in the picture on this record . “She added, ‘My best friends are rappers, my guys are rappers.’
She wasn’t entirely wrong to be so worried. The next day, Del Rey interviewed an interlocutor that Trump was so insane before the Jan. 6 uprising that he “doesn’t know how to incite the uprising” —and immediately accused of downplaying the violence. Dissatisfied with the way her comments circulated online, she personally responded to seemingly every single tweet about it, with particular reference to Complex. “It’s fucked up. You know I’m real, “she said tweetao on the site, whose audience was mostly people of color. Soon after Chemtrails‘release in March, sarcastically set a month old Harper’s Bazaar thought, “I just want to thank you once again for kind articles like this and reminding me that my career was based on appropriating culture and glamorizing domestic violence.” Then she announced that she would be releasing another album soon: Rock Candy Sweet, comes out June 1.
Therefore, the negative feedback loop continues. Every public statement in her mouth and deaf voice brings less charity from the blogosphere, which only makes her skin even thinner. There are two ways this connection can go from here: If the albums endure, Del Rey’s art could push back the memory of a few bad posts. If it isn’t, maybe we’ll better serve to muffle it for a while.