“Auntie Diaries” is the fifteenth track on Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.’ Having always been a voice for the oppressed and voiceless, Kendrick Lamar tells us the stories of two transgender people and how society looks down on them.
Kendrick Lamar released his fifth studio album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ on May 13, 2022. This is K Dot’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2017 project ‘DAMN.’ Fans were delivered with a double album for their patience of over five years. Announcing the new album, Kendrick Lamar provided some context into what is about to come; “Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next.”
In “Auntie Diaries,” Kendrick Lamar narrates some life stories of two transgender men; one who used to be his auntie, and the other, Demetrius, a fictional character from Kendrick’s discography. Kendrick walks us through his own struggles of coping with their gender transitions and how society has a far worse attitude towards them. Kendrick also brings in the church, which usually has a very conservative stance on anything that’s not written in their books.
Listen to “Auntie Diaries” by Kendrick Lamar
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Kendrick Lamar “Auntie Diaries” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In these lyrics, Kendrick Lamar highlights the eternal fight between the heart and the mind (or the brain). Logic vs feelings. Which one should you listen to? This is likely a constant battle a lot of these transgender people battle through before they finally convince their brains that they want something else than what they were given. However, convincing themselves of what they want to be is only the beginning of their struggles. Facing the world as a new person proves to be even more challenging.
In the first two verses of the song, Kendrick Lamar talks about his auntie. Kendrick recalls looking up to his auntie who became a man one day. He looked more confident now, he had more girls now, he was the talk of the town, and most didn’t like him for some reason. Kendrick was confused about what was going on. Kendrick turned to his mother for answers, but he got none. Kendrick’s uncles were jealous of this former auntie because he gets more women than the uncles. Kendrick’s school friends did not understand what was going on either. It was curious and amusing to them.
She picking me up from school, they stare at her in the face
They couldn’t comprehend what I grew accustomed
When Kendrick’s aunt came to pick him up from school, he became the subject of some verbal insults from kids who did not know better.
But as Kendrick grew older and wiser, he came to the realization that people suffer from labels assigned to them at their birth. Everybody should have the right to feel however they feel like and be unashamed about it.
Kendrick also says that his aunt influenced him in his rap career.
Despite Kendrick’s awareness of the situation, he still keeps calling his auntie ‘she/her,’ most likely the pronouns she used prior to his transformation. This is likely to show us that even he himself has not fully grasped the change he wishes to see in the world. It takes a lot of guts to admit that even he is a work-in-progress.
In the third and fourth verses of the song, Kendrick Lamar talks about one Demetrius, a character first brought to life in Kendrick’s 2014 song “Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter.”
Demetrius is Mary-Ann now!
Demetrius took it all the way into his transition to Mary-Ann. He went through surgery to complete his transformation into a woman. Most people were shocked to see this as they never saw it coming. Kendrick knew.
Kendrick also talks about the intolerance of the church towards topics like this. He narrates an incident where Demetrius was singled out by the preacher man to make a point. Kendrick could not let this fly. He stood up and questioned the preacher man of his love;
I said, “Mr. Preacherman, should we love thy neighbor?
The laws of the land or the heart, what’s greater?
The laws of the land could refer to the legislations that don’t necessarily support the causes of transgender people. It could also refer to the land of heaven, thus the teachings of the being upstairs. Kendrick questions the integrity of this so-called ‘love’ if it marginalizes some people! For a moment Kendric was the bad angel in the church–the devil in human form. But he got a silent ‘thank you’ from the person he stood up for, which is what matters the most.
The day I chose humanity over religion
The family got closer, it was all forgiven
Everybody should choose humanity over religion. If some religion teaches anything other than humanity and humility, one should really reconsider being devout to that religion. Kendrick stood up for his cousin who felt the same way his auntie did. This time, Kendrick immediately knew his stance. And it was a stance of love. His family got closer, and the same love applied worldwide makes the whole human become closer.
Kendrick Lamar ends the song with a reference to one of his controversial live concerts. Kendrick invited a white girl on stage to perform his 2012 track “m.A.A.d City” with him. The girl proceeded to rap Kendrick’s lyrics verbatim, using the N-word multiple times. Kendrick had to stop the performance and start over telling the fan that she has to censor one word. But this example was brought in to say that Kendrick himself has been insensitive with the use of other slurs towards different genders and the LGBTQ+ community.
Realization is the first step toward reconciliation.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.