For Discussion: Is Lorde’s Top Billboard 100 Song “Royals” Denouncing Hip Hop’s Gold Teeth And Maybachs Racist?

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Lorde Showcase

These black rappers (Trinidad James) do wear those gold teeth and drive Maybachs though...

Singer Lorde’s “Royals” Considered Racist

Lorde’s song “Royals,” which discusses consumerism in Hip Hop has become a big hit, but one writer took to her blog to declare the track racist.

According to CNN

An international war of words has broken out over a New Zealand pop star’s chart-topping single, after an American blogger labeled the track racist.

“Royals,” the debut single by Lorde, the stage name of Ella Yelich-O’Connor, currently sits above hits from Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making the 16-year-old the youngest artist to top the U.S. chart in 26 years.

The singer — who sings about rejecting the trappings of consumerism in “Royals” and has admonished fellow pop star Selena Gomez for being insufficiently feminist — has won plaudits from critics as a refreshing presence in the charts. But not everyone is a fan.

In a post on the prominent feminist blog feministing.com, writer Veronica Bayetti Flores took issue with the song’s lyrics, in which Yelich-O’Connor sings that “every song” is about gold teeth and Maybach luxury cars — both fixtures of hip-hop music videos — before concluding “we don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.”

“While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist,” wrote Bayetti Flores. “Because we all know who she’s thinking when we’re talking gold teeth, Cristal (champagne) and Maybachs. So why s— on black folks? Why s— on rappers?”

A spokesman for Universal Music New Zealand, Lorde’s label, said the singer had no comment in response to the criticism.

In an interview with NPR, Lorde described how the song was inspired by the messages conveyed by the pop music she had grown up with.

“I was just sort of reeling off some of the things which are commonly mentioned in hip-hop and the Top 40,” she said.

“I’ve always loved hip-hop, but as a fan of hip-hop, I’ve always had to kind of suspend disbelief because, obviously, I don’t have a Bentley. There’s a distance between that and the life I have with my friends going to parties and getting public transport and doing the things that every other teenager does.”
The lyrics in question are:

But every song’s like gold teeth, Grey Goose, tripping in the bathroom,
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashing the hotel room,
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.
But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece,
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair.

Do you think the blogger is reaching or is the song racist?

WENN

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