Over the past 13 years and six (soon to be seven) albums, we’ve watched Taylor Swift smoothly transition from successful country musician to glorified pop star. She became a Top 40 dream, dishing out No. 1 pop hits left and right. Her album ‘1989’ was her rise to pop stardom, and she did it all with a model-like girl-squad by her side.
That was in 2014, when the political and social climates weren’t nearly as tense as they are today. Obama was still president and Trump was nowhere near the coveted White House. When 2016 reared its ugly head, everyone had a say in what was best for the US. Celebrities scrambled to voice their opinions on social media, airing out their feelings towards the hateful rhetoric that was being spread like wildfire from crooked politicians.
But there was one highly-influential artist that kept mum: Taylor Swift.
It didn’t go unnoticed for long, and many Twitter warriors called her out for her lack of support. As time went on, Taylor’s absence became increasingly obvious. When an artist of her caliber of fame comes along, we almost expect them to be outspoken on issues that matter to them. So when Taylor was silent, it seemed like she didn’t care.
When she finally did decide to come clean about her political party in late 2018, social media exploded. She voiced support for the Democratic party and their usually liberal views on her Instagram, which was the one thing her very impressionable fanbase wanted all along. Her iconic post was believed to have caused a spike in voter registration just ahead of Election Day. From then on, her impact was evident. She could change the world if she wanted.
Taylor’s latest single, “You Need To Calm Down,” is the 29-year-old’s response to internet trolls — but also a denouncement of hate speech. The lyrics say it all: “‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.” The track’s video features many openly LGBTQ+ celebrities, such as Hayley Kiyoko, Billy Porter, Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Lambert, Laverne Cox, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, RuPaul, and the Queer Eye Fab Five, just to name a few.
In the video, Taylor takes part in a colorful community while angry outsiders try to sabotage them. She even squashes her highly publicized beef with fellow musician Katy Perry. The video concludes with a call-to-action by Swift in the form of a petition for Senate support of the Equality Act.
It’s a powerful statement made by one of this generation’s biggest stars, especially after her deafening silence earlier.
Of course, many also expressed their distaste for the song’s accompanying visual, believing Taylor is using the LGBTQ+ community as some sort of marketing tool. Then there are some who feel the opposite, excited about the representation the singer is bringing to the LGBTQ+ creatives starring in the video.
Personally I found the video to be super heartwarming and celebrated a bunch of beautiful queer people of all ethnicities, she literally used her platform to bring queer people of all calibers of fame into spotlight along side her. Why do yall always have to be mad https://t.co/f33Vylg7T9
— Luke (@LukeAshleyJohn) June 17, 2019
Pleasing the masses is difficult, and, for someone like Taylor, it’ll never be possible. The song’s message is meant to make us think — why are we so worried about how other people live their lives?
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🌈HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!!🌈 While we have so much to celebrate, we also have a great distance to go before everyone in this country is truly treated equally. In excellent recent news, the House has passed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations. The next step is that the bill will go before the Senate. I’ve decided to kick off Pride Month by writing a letter to one of my senators to explain how strongly I feel that the Equality Act should be passed. I urge you to write to your senators too. I’ll be looking for your letters by searching the hashtag #lettertomysenator. While there’s no information yet as to when the Equality Act will go before the Senate for a vote, we do know this: Politicians need votes to stay in office. Votes come from the people. Pressure from massive amounts of people is a major way to push politicians towards positive change. That’s why I’ve created a petition at change.org to urge the Senate to support the Equality Act. Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable. Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally. 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈 Click the link in my bio to sign the petition for Senate support of the Equality Act.
Since the video, Taylor’s petition has gotten over 300,000 signatures and counting. Whether the general public agrees with her method of spreading the word, it’s been inarguably effective. Like we said before, she has the power and influence to alter a divided society. We just wish she could’ve started sooner.
You can sign Taylor Swift’s petition for the Equality Act at Change.org.