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New Zealand Pop singer Lorde in enjoying quite a run atop the Billboard Hot 100 charts with her bouncy hit single, “Royals.” However, a critic has accused the 16-year-old of racism in the song, sparking an uproar online and across social media.

CNN investigated the situation brewing between Lorde, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, and feminist blogger Veronica Bayetti Flores from the popular Feministing.com network. In her post, Bayetti Flores acknowledged that Lorde’s aims in the song was to attack greed and materialism but felt that a portion of the lyrics were squarely pointed at Black culture and Hip-Hop as well.

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

She added, “Why aren’t we critiquing wealth by taking hits at golf or polo or Central Park East? Why not take to task the bankers and old-money folks who actually have a hand in perpetuating and increasing wealth inequality? I’m gonna take a guess: racism.”

Lorde’s fans and other cultural critics levied harsh words towards Bayetti Flores on the comment page of her post, and New Zealand journalist Lynda Brendish responded with, “[N]ot everything in this world should be viewed through the lens of Americans, particularly when it comes to race and cultures of other countries. To insist otherwise is ignorant at best and imperialistic at worst.”

Bayetti Flores hasn’t backed down from her tone of her post according to a response made via email to CNN. But Lorde herself has explained the lyrics behind “Royals” to NPR in an earlier interview.

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

Photo: James K. Lowe

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