Kendrick Lamar’s Controversial New Song About Trans ‘Auntie’ Divides Fans

Kendrick Lamar’s musings about a transgender relative on his new track, “Auntie Diaries,” has proved controversial, sparking a debate on social media.

Lamar, 34, raps candidly on the track, from his recently released album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, as he discusses his own journey with homophobia as a youngster and how it affected his acceptance of his family member’s transition.

However, the musician uses a homophobic slur in telling the story, and he repeatedly misgenders his relative and refers to him by his birth name—or, as it is known among the trans community, his “deadname.”

Excerpts of the lyrics shared online include: “Back when it was comedic relief to say ‘f*****’ / F*****, f*****, f, we ain’t know no better / Elementary kids with no filter however / My auntie became a man and I took pride in it / She wasn’t gay, she ate p****, and that was the difference.”

Freelance writer and photojournalist Adrie Rose posted the excerpt on Twitter early Friday, as well as a screenshot showing the homophobic slur.

Author Gabrielle Alexa Noel wrote in reaction to the post: “please I need him to explain what tf he was thinking,” adding a crying emoji.

“Kendrick fr said trans rights but in the worst way possible,” commented another.

Discussing the direction of hip-hop since the death of Tupac, another stated: “all jokes aside, i don’t even think it’s a coincidence that in this post-pac neocolonial epoch, what constitutes as ‘conscience rap’ has become increasingly inauthentic, conservative, and reactionary in its social commentary and content.”

However, there was a large wave of support for Lamar, with many asserting that his language use and storytelling had been taken out of context.

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“We are not about to ‘cancel’ Kendrick over Auntie Diaries,” tweeted one fan. “The most powerful man in hip-hop wrote a whole song supporting trans rights and acknowledging the homophobia he participated in. In a genre that has a history of homophobia, this moves the convo in the right direction.”

Also defending the Grammy-winning star, one person opined that the track showed Lamar’s growth from his “ignorance” with regards to the LGBTQ+ community.

They wrote: “auntie diaries is beautiful. kendrick isn’t being homophobic at all, he’s speaking on his ignorance and struggles with accepting his trans auntie. he’s telling a story about his personal growth while also [publicly] showing support for the lgbt community.”

“Auntie Diaries is the first song in major support of the trans community from a rap artist as big as Kendrick and I can’t voice how happy I am for it,” said another.

Echoing that sentiment, another stated: “Auntie Diaries about to have y’all outraging without context but it’s an Ode to Kendrick’s trans family member, from ignorance on the matter to being apologetic of his own actions.”

Lamar discussed homophobia back in 2012, when he sat down for an interview on Eminem’s Sirius XM radio station Shade 45.

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He told DJ Drama, per Complex: “You know it’s crazy man. I don’t give a f*** about people doing what they gotta do. That’s your lifestyle; you dig what I’m saying?

“And people gonna be they own individuals and have they own worlds and I can’t knock it. I believe in Jesus… If you didn’t believe in Jesus I can’t knock you for not [believing], you got your own beliefs and your own morals.

“I can’t help the way you was born if you was gay. And I can’t change that so do what you gotta do to be happy.”

Lamar’s previous album, DAMN.—featuring collaborations from Rihanna and U2—has won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2018. “HUMBLE.” went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2017, while the music video has over 850 million views.

Kendrick Lamar’s new track, “Auntie Diaries,” about a relative’s transgender journey, has sparked debate online due to the language the rapper has used. Lamar is pictured attending the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 27, 2017, in Inglewood, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

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