How Kendrick Lamar’s new song about his trans family members is drawing both praise and condemnation
In the song “Auntie Diaries,” off his new record “Mr.
Morale & the Big Steppers,” Lamar raps about his uncle and cousin — depicted as two important, beloved figures in his life — who are both trans.
Although Lamar is being applauded for being open to transgender people, the response has been divided.
Some viewers were offended by Lamar’s mistaken gendering of relatives.
Lamar often uses “he/him”, “she/her”, pronouns interchangeably between the two for each family member.
Other criticisms point to his use of his cousin’s former name and repeated use of an anti-LGBTQ slur.
Lamar sings, “My auntie was a man” and says he took pride in his uncle’s transformation as a teenager.
He later says in the song that his uncle was the “first person (he) seen write a rap,” introducing him to the art form he would eventually dominate.
Lamar talks about his “favorite” cousin, their “transition” and how much he loves them.
However, the relationship between them was problematic for some time because of his cousin’s “incontinence” around him.
Lamar repeatedly uses the f–slur throughout his discussion about Lamar’s homophobic past.
“I said them f-bombs, I ain’t know any better,” he says at one point, later referencing an incident at a concert when a White fan used a racial slur onstage while rapping to one of Lamar’s songs.
Jem Aswad (Variety music critic) praised “Auntie Diaries”, calling it a “powerful and genre-shifting statement regarding transphobia” that reflects the evolution in Lamar’s views.
But the song was not uniformly praised among listeners.
Many criticized it for being “transphobic and selfish” by Lamar, who centered himself on a story about trans family members while using inaccurate pronouns repeatedly and a slur.
Others defended the song as Lamar reflecting back on his life and his love of his family.
Still others said that, flawed as the song is, it was meaningful to hear a rapper of Lamar’s caliber — he’s the only rapper who’s won a Pulitzer for their work — to say they support trans people.
Preston Mitchum, director of advocacy and governmental affairs at the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ young people, discussed his mixed reaction to the song.
His tweet said, “I’m grateful he spoke out in support of love and acceptance for trans sibs — after admitting to what society did” “The [slur] threw me off because it isn’t his word to use.
He made his point.
“The song was released at a contentious time for trans people’s rights: According to one report as of March, states had introduced more than 200 bills aimed at LGBTQ people, particularly trans young people.
While reviews for the much-anticipated “Mr.
Morale & the Big Steppers”, are still coming in, “Auntie Diaries,” is one of the most popular songs.
Lamar just announced a world tour to support the album, beginning in July..
Adapted from CNN News