The response to the song has been strongly divisive: while Lamar is praised for acknowledging trans people in a positive way, he is also heavily criticized. Some listeners objected to Lamar misunderstanding the gender of his relatives: Lamar uses the pronouns “he/he” and “she/her” interchangeably for both family members. Other criticisms point to the use of his cousin’s former name and the repeated use of an anti-LGBTQ slur.
“My aunt grew into a man and I was proud of it,” Lamar says on the new track, saying he “got used” to his uncle’s transition when he was young.
He later says in the song that his uncle was the “first person (he) ever seen write a rap”, introducing him to the art form he would eventually master.
Lamar also mentions his “favorite cousin” and their transition and how he “still loved them”, although the relationship between the two was strained for a while because his cousin “wasn’t comfortable” with him.
When Lamar addresses his earlier use of homophobic language, he uses the f slur repeatedly throughout.
“I said those f-bombs, I don’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 one of Lamar’s songs.
Variety music critic Jem Aswad praised “Auntie Diaries” as a “powerful gender-swapping statement on transphobia” and the evolution of Lamar’s views.
But the song was not uniformly praised. Come in
Some listeners called it “transphobic” and “selfish” for Lamar to focus on a story about his trans relatives while using the wrong pronouns and a slur repeatedly, while others defended it as Lamar’s reflection on his past and love for his family. . Others said that, as flawed as the song is, it was significant to hear a rapper of Lamar’s caliber (he’s the only rapper to win a Pulitzer for his work) say he supports trans people.
Preston Mitchum, director of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth, spoke about his mixed reaction to the song.
“I am grateful that he spoke out for love and acceptance of trans siblings, even after admitting what society did to them first,” he said. tweeted
. “The [slur] he dumped me because that’s not his word to use. But that’s the point of her in the end.”
The song was released at a contentious time for trans rights: According to a March report, states had introduced more than 200 bills targeting LGBTQ people, particularly trans youth.
The reviews for the long-awaited “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” keep pouring in, but “Auntie Diaries” is already one of their most talked about songs. Lamar has just announced a world tour to support the album, starting in July.