Hey Kanye, Taylor: I Thought We Were Past This.
Taylor Swift lit up the stage last night to kick off the 2016 Grammy’s with Out of the Woods, one of the first singles that came out last year off of her renowned album, 1989. By the end of the show, however, Taylor’s opening act was a minor, fleeting memory compared to her speech right after she snagged the Album of the Year award. Some may remember way back in 2009 when Kanye coined the new slang term “I’mma let you finish, but — ” while he whisked away Taylor’s mic during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards, stating that Beyoncé was the most deserving nominee. That little stunt sent Kanye and Taylor’s relationship up in flames for the next few years, in which we saw Swift do what she does best — write an emotional song about it — and Kanye West actually apologize (maybe even for the first time). By early this year we thought everything might be fine, right? Some media suggested there was even small talk about the two collaborating together.
Well, we were wrong. In more recent news, earlier this week was West’s release of his new album, entitled The Life of Pablo, in which he jabs at Swift in his new song Famous: ‘I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.’ Cue Taylor who, unsurprisingly, had no chill about it. While West has remained adamant that he had previously discussed the lyrics with Taylor (tweeting out last Friday, “I called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings”) Swift’s PR team was not thrilled, stating he did no such thing. And we were all ready to leave it at that. Right?
Wrong once more. Swift just couldn’t resist the revenge seeking route, and last night’s Grammy’s was no other than her perfect platform to capitalize on it. As millions watched her receive her title as the first female artist to win Album of the Year more than once, Swift scaled back the surprised face that we were all expecting for a different attitude — vengeance. “I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she states, “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment.” …Burn. Celebrities throughout the room applauded Swift for being so vocal about the issue, praising her eloquent wording as well as her attempt to put down West’s overwhelmingly misogynistic attitude that has continued to allow us raise questions about West’s artistic intentions in general.
While no, we can’t unquestionably, without a doubt, declare that this was a jab at Kanye, all directions do point to West. And if I may speak in Taylor’s defense, when someone so persistently annoying writes something that personal about you, I’d say I would opt to do the same. While this feud may be starting to drag out (C’mon guys — were we not past this yet?), Swift’s underlying message is an important one for young, aspiring artists who are striving to create their own path through their own hard work and determination. And not only that — it’s a message to our youth in general. While Swift makes a point in addressing young women (she’s been known for her feminist agenda and statements of the past), not letting undeserving people undercut your own abilities is a lesson we can all benefit from. Someday, we all wish to see how far we’ve come and think to ourselves, “hey, I did this.” Hers is a timeless argument that allows us to foster our own ambitions in the purest of ways — by earning our own success.
And that is why, at the end of this year’s Grammy Awards, Swift has regained the championship title of this ongoing vendetta (well-deserved, Taylor). It seems as though if West continues to believe he is the “voice of this generation,” Swift will be right there next to him trying to make sure that that doesn’t happen — one award show at a time. So congratulations Taylor, for sending Kanye (and us) an important message (and of course, for winning Album of the Year). Swift’s sternness is definitely something I could get used to; I just hope Kanye might be willing to listen this time.