Why It's Racist to Call Lorde's 'Royals' Racist

lorde_illo.jpg
Jena Ardell
We think that it is ironic (and wrong) that a blogger on a feminist website is pulling the 'racist' card on Lorde's ubiquitous single, 'Royals.'

Time.com's headline, "'Royals' Singer Lorde Caught in Racism Row" is hardly factual. Lorde isn't caught in a racism scandal; a lone blogger voiced an opinion and, for whatever reason, everyone is making a big deal over it.

See also: Stuff Lorde Says, in Illustrated Form

Here's the statement by blogger Veronica Bayetti Flores that's been making a splash on notable news sites, including cnn.com:

"While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist. Because we all know who she's thinking when we're talking gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers?"

The fastest way to attract people to a feminist blog seems to be to call out a popular female artist and accuse her of bigotry, which doesn't seem very feminist. It's absurd (and can even be viewed as racist) to assume only African Americans can obtain gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs, and that all rappers are African American.

As someone posting on a feminist blog, shouldn't Ms. Flores be defending a young girl's message to defy economic and social inequities? Flores has since explained her rationale in a subsequent post, in which she stated, "white supremacy is a global phenomenon, and anti-black racism is worldwide. Taking stabs at hip-hop that ignore context is dangerous and ignorant at best."

Are we to believe that a white girl from New Zealand can't sing about excessive lifestyles or criticize wealth distribution without including the mention of African American oppression in the U.S. because, according to Flores' generalizations, white people are rich and black people are poor?

'Royals' does not dehumanize people of color, Flores' logic is dehumanizing people of color, since she seems to only attribute 'black cultural traditions' to wealth inequality and hip-hop. Flores belittles Lorde saying, "I don't expect a teen from New Zealand to have an understanding of U.S. race history and relations." Equivocally, we could ignorantly say we don't expect a feminist Latina to know the difference between rap and hip-hop. See how wrong that is?

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8 comments
queTico
queTico

erm... royalty and tigers on a leash is part of the hip hop signifier milieu also.. maybe you didnt hear but there are these albums by a guy named Jay-Z called "Watch the Throne" (a reference to a kings throne..) and Magna Carta Holy Grail. Or maybe the Snoop Lion single called "Here Comes The King". And Tigers on leashes were the province of african and middle eastern kings, not european monarchs..

Pretending that essentializations dont exist is ignorant at best. Hip hop-ers arent dupes and purposefully want to be associated with these things because they are actual metrics and markers in our wealth obsessed society. Lorde thinks shes being rebellious by tearing those things down when shes really not. Shes just exploiting the imagery of hip hoppers and their culture in order to (ironically) become one of those wealth obsessed people and acheive fame (while her image exploits her white privilege). The privilege of seeming safe and oppositional to the much maligned black cultural productions in music.

Jason Roberson
Jason Roberson

Wow did the weekly actually say someone wasn't racist?

Vincent Gabriel
Vincent Gabriel

Lorde: 1 Flores: 0 OC Weekly: -1 One more Lorde story and I'm un following. Ill still creep you though.

Beezling
Beezling

You know what I think?


I think this article is totally racist.

k.r.gooder
k.r.gooder

@queTico 

Why is it off-limits to criticize the crass and *degenerate* opulence of popular rap and hip hop?  

You do know that young black kids look up to JayZ, Minaj, Kanye, et al. Do you want black kids imbibing their message? Well, if no one stand up to criticize the message, then it will only be perpetuated further. 

This is just typical black knee-jerk reaction against critique. It's not necessarily racist to critique blacks and their culture. In fact, modern black culture in America is a disgrace -- single mother hood above 50%, 30% of young black men in prison, 51% of all murders committed by blacks...your people are in crisis. You need to be critiqued. 

OMFG
OMFG

@Beezling If you think this article then YOU must be the racist...

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