Lana Del Rey’s ‘National Anthem’

Lana Del Rey recreates Marilyn’s ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ in the opening sequence of her new video, ‘National Anthem’. The president is played by rapper A$AP Rocky. Lana goes on to embody the Camelot myth, giving her own take on the role of First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

“Sure, there are some who will object to the clip’s re-telling of history: Del Rey actually plays both Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe — a loaded proposition when you consider the long-standing rumors of an affair between the actress and the commander in chief — and the clip opens with her doing Monroe’s sultry ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ from 1962. She then switches to the more demure Jackie, the doting wife to Rocky’s JFK, and their love story unfurls over seven hazy, dreamlike minutes. In a way, the dual roles seem to be director Anthony Mandler’s way of exploring the complexities of one of our nation’s most celebrated (and discussed) first couples: the notion that, from the outside, all appeared to be perfect, while, internally, their marriage was wrought with indiscretions and very stormy indeed.

There is also the fact that the clip is loaded with social commentary. The scenes of Del Rey and Rocky cavorting in the Kennedys’ Hyannis Port compound very boldly show the so-called ‘American Camelot’ (the term used to describe the unbridled hope associated with the Kennedy presidency) through a decidedly 2012 prism. Here is the first family reimagined as a beautiful white wife and a confident, powerful black husband, very much in love, caring for their biracial children, holding court with their associates. It was a scene that was practically unimaginable during the 1960s, and one that, sadly, is still sure to rankle some today.” – MTV

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