It was a dark and stormy night when my best friend text me to check out Kim Kardashian’s Snapchat, which contained video evidence (or as the youths say, “receipts”) that Taylor Swift did in fact okay a line from Kanye West’s song, “Famous,” where he says, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.”
Okay I’m lying….Not about the Snapchat because that will go down in history as one of Kim K’s most iconic moments, but I’m lying about the dark and stormy night…I just wanted some dramatic effect.
Kardashian’s blatant @ of Swift for all the world to see was a welcomed surprise to me, someone who’d been claiming Swift was a snake long before others started claiming it as well.
I’ll admit, I once was a Taylor Swift fan. It was about a two-month period from when she released “We are Never Getting Back Together” until she performed that same song at the Grammy’s, subliminally attacking Harry Styles after their brief romance turned sour. But when you’re a Directioner, and a pop star decides to speak in a British accent to throw shade at the lead singer of a boyband you’ve sworn all allegiance to, you swear to hate that singer for the rest of time. And when that same singer attempts to attack Queen Nicki Minaj for speaking out on the racism of award shows for never nominating black artists for anything other than Hip Hop and R&B awards, you call her a racist and swear to hate her for the rest of time.
Moral of the Story: I hate Taylor Swift…for the rest of time. I think she is unoriginal, and the only reason she’s famous is because Kanye West called her out at an award show. She’s been riding that, “I’m the victim” shtick since then, and when Kim Kardashian finally put her on blast, I was elated.
Enter Taylor Swift’s promotion for her new album, Reputation, featuring the repurposing of a snake to symbolize her “biting back” at her “haters.” I immediately was taken aback... not because I thought it was cute or smart, but because I’d already watched a performer do the same thing less than a year ago. Alaska Thunderfuck 5000, winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2, received so many snake comments about her behavior on the show that she repurposed the snake emoji and symbol, deeming herself the Queen of Snakes. Don’t believe me? Click here.
But I put that aside because I thought to myself, “It could just be a coincidence, and who am I to take away from Taylor Swift potentially asserting herself. Also, kudos to her if she actually watched Drag Race and got some ideas from it…that means queer culture inspires mainstream culture, and I’m all about that!”
Enter Taylor Swift’s album cover for Reputation. Let me preface this section with the fact that I’m a die-hard Rihanna fan (we call ourselves the Rihanna Navy). I can tell you almost any fact about Rihanna, her music, etc. So when I saw Swift’s new album cover, I was pissed… here’s why:
From the faux newspaper print font to the black and white color palette, Swift’s new album is a carbon copy of Rihanna’s Talk That Talk, released in 2011. It’s no surprise that she would do such a thing because Rihanna was the featured artist on Kanye West’s “Famous,” and Swift’s new music is allegedly a diss to West and Kardashian. Reputation’s packaging is also questionable in that it has a similar vibe to West’s The Life of Pablo, and Swift’s look on the cover is far too similar to Kim Kardashian’s. Don’t believe me? Google it… but also, here’s some examples:
And if that weren’t enough, the stills from the music video are blatant copies from Beyoncé’s “Formation” video, a song all about embracing black culture from an album that revolutionized the way we view black artists celebrating their culture.
Despite all of that, I still listened to her new song, “Look What You Made Me Do.” It’s trash. It’s a clichéd, “F you to all my haters. Look how edgy I am even though I’m still making pop music with no substance, but at least I’m wearing black because I’m not innocent anymore” song.
Taylor Swift isn’t the first artist to repurpose minority culture to make it more palatable to a white person (see Justin Timberlake, Eminem and Miley Cyrus just to name a few), and she won’t be the last, but it’s important to call out and stop celebrating artists that create identical pieces of work to what’s already out there and add nothing new. And where Beyoncé quenched our thirst, it seems like Swift’s attempt at Lemonade is nothing more than Crystal Light.
Though I may be biased because I hate her so much, Taylor Swift is a notorious, straight white person, stealing other people’s culture, gentrifying it, and using it for her own economic prosperity. So, like I tell all white people, “Get your own ideas and stop stealing ours.”
And if you’re going to make a diss track about Kanye West, at least have the nerve to @ him like he did to you.