Reaction to the track has been mixed: While Lamar has been praised for positively recognizing transgender people, he has also been sharply criticized. Some listeners disagreed that Lamar was mistaking his family members — Lamar uses both the pronouns “he/him” and “she/her” for both family members interchangeably. Other criticisms point to his use of his cousin’s former name and repeated use of an anti-LGBTQ slur.
“My aunt became a man and I was proud of it,” Lamar says at the new job, saying he “had gotten used to his uncle’s transition as a young person”.
Later in the song, he says that his uncle was the “first person (he) who saw a rap write,” introducing him to the art form that he would eventually dominate.
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 time because his cousin “didn’t feel comfortable” with him.
When Lamar addresses his previous use of homophobic language, he repeatedly uses the f-slur throughout.
“I said they were f-bombs, I don’t know any better,” he says at one point, referring to an incident at a concert when a white fan used racist remarks onstage while rapping to one of Lamar’s songs.
Variety music critic Jem Aswad praised “Auntie Diaries” as a “powerful, genre-shifting statement about transphobia” and the evolution of Lamar’s views.
But the song wasn’t praised everywhere among
listeners. Some called it “transphobic” and “selfish” for Lamar to center himself in a story about his trans relatives, repeatedly using incorrect pronouns and a slur, while others defended it as Lamar’s reflection on his past and love for his family. . Still others said that, as flawed as the song is, it made sense to hear a rapper of Lamar’s caliber — he’s the only rapper to win a Pulitzer for their work — say they support transgender people.
Preston Mitchum, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth, discussed his mixed reaction to the song.
“I’m thankful he spoke in favor of love and acceptance of trans siblings — even after admitting what society did to them first,” he said. tweeted
† “The [slur] threw me away because it’s not his word to use. But that’s his point in the end.”
The song was released at a controversial moment for transgender rights: According to a March report, states had introduced more than 200 bills targeting LGBTQ people, particularly trans youth.
Reviews for the highly anticipated “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” are still pouring in, but “Auntie Diaries” is already one of the most talked about songs. Lamar just announced a world tour in support of the album, starting in July.