Lana Del Rey's Instagram posts of her upcoming album's front and back covers have sparked yet another debate about the singer and her thoughts on race — a conversation that the "Summertime Sadness" artist appeared to be trying to get ahead of.
Pro tip: Saying your "best friends are rappers" isn't likely to win over anyone when discussing race relations.
"There's always turmoil and upheaval and in the midst of it- there's always beautiful music too introducing my new album chemtrails over the country club," Del Rey wrote Sunday on social media, posting the black-and-white album cover, featuring herself surrounded by 10 smiling women. Its back image shows Del Rey's face peeking out from among the other women's backs.
She followed up with a lengthy second statement that began, "I also want to say that with everything going on this year! And no this was not intended-these are my best friends, since you are asking today. And damn! As it happens when it comes to my amazing friends and this cover yes there are people of color on this records picture and that's all I'll say about that but thank you."
Del Rey also posted the first music video from the album, for the song "Chemtrails Over the Country Club," Monday on YouTube. It starts with Del Rey taking a sunny drive in a retro dress, pearls, gloves and car — and donning a mesh mask in a nod to another recent controversy. It transitions, "Wizard of Oz"-style, to a dark world full of flames and vampire women with glowing eyes. And a white wolf. It's trippy.
The video also features flashes of the women depicted on the upcoming album cover.
In comments on Sunday's album-cover Instagram post, however, several people expressed shock, saying things like, "This better not be the album cover."
Del Rey, who is white, was criticized in May for invoking the names of women artists of color — Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, FKA twigs, Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj, among others — as she defended herself against accusations of "glorifying abuse" in her recordings.
On Sunday, Del Rey spotlighted a few of the women featured in the album art, writing in that second statement, "My beautiful friend Valerie from Del Rio Mexico, my dearest friend Alex and my gorgeous friend Dakota Rain as well as my sweetheart Tatiana."
Because the new album cover is shot in black and white, the women's skin tones are not easily discerned. In the video, it is clear that not all the women are white.