No stranger to the headlines. Lana Del Rey has received her fair share of criticism throughout her rise to the top of the charts — but she hasn’t let it get her down.
The “Doin’ Time” singer (born Elizabeth Grant) earned a strong following in 2011 after her ’50s and ’60s-inspired image caught the attention of young music lovers. At the time of her big break, Del Rey raised eyebrows when she referred to herself as “a gangster Nancy Sinatra” and “Lolita got lost in the hood.”
Del Rey’s early career was marked by accusations of cultural appropriation after she made several music videos that portrayed stereotypical characteristics of Native American and Latinx communities. Her creative choices came under fire once more in May 2020 after she shared a lengthy note via Instagram defending her fixation on themes that seem anti-feminist to some listeners.
“Now that 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, f–king, cheating etc – can I please go back to singing 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??????” the “High By the Beach” singer wrote at the time.
Del Rey explained that she was “fed up” with the comments about her music “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.” In response to haters who believed she was setting “women back hundreds of years,” she asserted that it was “pathetic that my minor lyrical exploration detailing my sometimes submissive or passive roles in my relationships has often made people say [this].”
The drama continued less than a year later when Del Rey revealed the album art for her seventh studio record, Chemtrails Over the Country Club. When some fans questioned the lack of diverse representation in the photo, the “Venice Bitch” artist clapped back.
“As it happens when it comes to my amazing friends and this cover yes there are people of color on this record’s picture and that’s all I’ll say about that but thank you,” she responded to critics in January 2021, adding that she was “literally changing the world” with her music. “We are all a beautiful mix of everything- some more than others which is visible and celebrated in everything I do. In 11 years working, I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to. … Respect it.”
Scroll down to look back at some of Del Rey’s biggest controversies.