Ever since Lana Del Rey burst into the public consciousness in 2011 with Born to Die, the singer has been synonymous with Americana. Never averse to posing with an American flag, Del Rey’s musical and fashion influences include Bruce Springsteen, Priscilla Presley and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Her songs, meanwhile, are scattered liberally with all-American references to white Mustangs, cherry pie and the pledge of allegiance.
But Del Rey says that she’s now ditching the stylised patriotism – because it feels inappropriate under Donald Trump’s presidency.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Del Rey was asked whether she felt it was harder to be romantic about America with Trump in the White House.
“It’s certainly uncomfortable,” replied the singer. “I definitely changed my visuals on my tour videos. I’m not going to have the American flag waving while I’m singing Born to Die. It’s not going to happen. I’d rather have static.”
“It’s a transitional period, and I’m super aware of that,” she continued. “I think it would be inappropriate to be in France with an American flag. It would feel weird to me now – it didn’t feel weird in 2013.”
Del Rey famously once claimed not to care about feminism, but said that her position changed after Trump was elected. “When people asked me the feminist question before, I was like, ‘I’m not really experiencing personal discrimination as a woman’,” she explained.
However, she said that she now understands the importance of speaking out for equality.
“Women started to feel less safe under [the Trump] administration instantly,” she said. “What if they take away Planned Parenthood? What if we can’t get birth control?”
Del Rey also took aim at President Trump’s history of making crude comments about women, saying that she felt “less safe” than she had during Obama’s presidency.
“When you have a leader at the top of the pyramid who is casually being loud and funny about things like that, it’s brought up character defects in people who already have the propensity to be violent towards women,” she said.
“I saw it right away in LA. Walking down the street, people would just say things to you that I had never heard.”
Her newfound feminism has influenced her live shows in other ways, Del Rey said. The singer was accused of glorifying domestic violence in 2014, after she used the line “he hit me and it felt like a kiss” in Ultraviolence, the title track off her third album.
Del Rey said that she no longer sings the line (a reference to the 1962 song of the same name by The Crystals) on tour.
“I don’t like it… I sing Ultraviolence but I don’t sing that line anymore,” she said.
However, she defended her decision to use the lyric when she wrote Ultraviolence, explaining that she was in a damaging relationship at the time.
“Having someone be aggressive in a relationship was the only relationship I knew,” she said, adding: “To me, it just was what it was. I deal with what’s in my lyric – you’re not dealing with it. I was annoyed when people would ask me about that lyric. Like, who are you?”
Read the full interview here.
Images: Rex Features