Taylor Swift went from politically neutral to full-on using her platform to push for specific legislation in a mere matter of months, with her new music video making what may be her biggest statement yet.
Swift’s newest single, “You Need to Calm Down,” is an anti-bullying anthem that calls out internet trolls and homophobia. The song, released last week, already made a political statement with the lyrics alone. “Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?” is a lyrical line that gives a shoutout to the LGBTQ advocacy group that Swift has previously donated to.
In the lyric video that was released with the song last week, Swift highlighted the letters “e” and “a” together in words such as “seats”, “scream” and “peace” in subtle support of the House-passed Equality Act, an anti-LGBTQ discrimination bill.
Other lines in the song refer to protestors at pride parades and how bullying can’t change a person’s sexuality:
Sunshine on the street at the parade
But you would rather be in the dark ages
Makin’ that sign must’ve taken all night
You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace
And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate
‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay
Some fans think part of the song is directed at President Donald Trump, who made a jab at the pop star last year. The lyrics of the first verse take a hit at early-morning tweeters:
And I’m just like, damn, it’s 7 a.m.
Say it in the street, that’s a knockout
But you say it in a Tweet, that’s a cop-out
But Swift took her message a huge step forward with the music video released on Monday.
The video features a plethora of LGBTQ icons including Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Rippon, Adam Levine, Billy Porter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Hannah Hart, Hayley Kiyoko, Laverne Cox, the cast of “Queer Eye,” a multitude of drag queens featured on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and RuPaul himself, to name a few.
The story of the video revolves around a community of people living happily in a colorful neighborhood dawned with rainbow pride flags. A small group of 13 protestors wearing dim colors show up to the neighborhood with misspelled protests signs such as “Get a Brain Morans!” and “Homosekualty Is a Sin!”
Swift and her friends ignore the protests and instead dance, tan, have a food fight, and attend a wedding with two grooms.
After the final scene, a message pops up in support of the Equality Act and encourages viewers to sign a petition created by Swift. The Equality Act was introduced to the House in March and was soon after easily passed by the Democratic majority.
The legislation is to ensure that there is a national standard for LGBTQ equal rights and protections in workplaces, housing, education, jury service, public accommodations, and other areas.
Currently, there is no legislation in place in over half of the states that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination, meaning they could legally be fired or kicked out of their homes for their identity.
While the Equality Act had overwhelming support in the House, it faces major backlash in the Senate, where the Republican majority argues that the bill goes too far and infringes on religious freedom.
Watch the music video below:
So far, Swift’s petition has over 212,000 signatures and has gardened support from lawmakers such as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). With Monday’s music video release, the petition could surge, as the majority of Swift’s music videos get hundreds of millions of views.