Lorde's 'Royals' is not racist

Lorde's Photo: AP

LOS ANGELES, October 11, 2013 — According to a CNN report, a blog post by Veronica Bayetti Flores on feministing.com accuses Lorde’s song “Royals” of being racist—which is laughable.

“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?” 

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Yes we do know just what Justin Beiber—oh no? Not him? Oh right, because he’s white.

There is no clear definition of racism, only one’s own interpretation of what it means. The word “racism” has become the hot potato of today’s society, zealously passed around over and over again a circle of misconception.

Things are not as black and white as they once were. Today’s culture is slowly chipping away at the archetypes originally defined by skin color. Instead, a new culture is being formed by today’s youth where it doesn’t matter what skin you’re wrapped in, just what labels and designer threads adorn it.

Both Lorde and I are the spawns of a culture rigged with consumerism and class, not race, a world where money is green and greed is good. Today’s hip-hop and pop lyrics are laced with the promotion of shiny yet empty lives and skin that is not black or white, but green. 

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Looking at the standard textbook definition of racism, we see that Merriam-Webster defines it as “(1) poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race (2) the belief that some races of people are better than others.”

Lorde’s debut single “Royals” is not so much commenting on race. Instead, it denounces the materialistic and superficial agenda the music industry has been pushing on our youth for decades. In the purest form of poetic justice, it has beat out Miley Cyrus at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The fact that “Royals” even exists gives the most jaded music critic a bit of a smirk. This single is sheer genius in attempt and execution. The soulful vocals, simple lyrics, and slow hypnotic beat make for a hit song packed with a powerful message:

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. 

This amazing material is coming from a 16-year old girl from a small town in New Zealand.  Although tigers on a gold leash would be pretty freakin’ cool, it’s quite amazing that a 16-year old was brave enough to go against the grain and call out the 40- and 50-year old rappers who have nothing better to rap about than rocking Tom Ford with a love for “badd bitches,” because bad is spelled with two Ds here. That’s just how badd she is.

Badd becomes the new good in the hip-hop and pop music industry. Yes, industry is singular here because they have become one in a union reeking of disillusion, vomit, and a father’s disappointment.

Sadly, perhaps Bayetti Flores’ notion that Maybachs, Cristal and gold teeth automatically equate to rappers and “black folks” is the real “deeply racist” thing here. 

Let it marinate.


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Aziza Jackson

Aziza Jackson is a 26-year-old Los Angeles, CA native who enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic dinners by candlelight. Aziza earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in print journalism from Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C.

After graduating from Bennett College she was accepted into a fellowship community journalism program at The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. After graduating from the program with a master’s degree in community journalism in August of 2010 she was hired as a reporter at The Daily Home newspaper in Talladega, AL.

She now works as a Media & Communications Specialist at Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind that provides services to deaf, blind, and deaf-­‐blind citizens throughout the state of Alabama. 


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