Taylor Swift Has a Right to Rip Off Any Artist Like Anyone Else. Your Argument is Invalid

By:  H.T., Podcast: Kuroi And Youth

Recently, Taylor Swift shot the video for her song “Look What You Made Me Do” and many sited similarities to that and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” series.  Let me just say that yes, this is a rip off.  Let me also say that if Beyoncé people want to sue, they have a strong case.  However, there is one narrative that seems to not go away.  The narrative that Taylor Swift seems to hate black women.

This came from her assertion of being an advocate for women’s rights and women advancing themselves.  The complaint was that Taylor didn’t include enough black women or women of color, and this goes to the prevailing issue with black feminism.  The issue being that every movement has to cater to their needs and their issues when the fact is that the people this campaign or image is sold to don’t CARE.

It’s why many people take legitimate issue with BLM as it refuses to side with any politician unless they dedicate themselves totally and vocally to their message.  Never mind that in doing that, they are quickly alienating themselves as it becomes more like the person in power is pushing a slogan more than actual change.  If you wanted things to change, you could just introduce legislation that could change things but alas, this is where we are when it’s more important to be seen than to change things.

Fact is, Taylor can’t champion every woman anymore than any other feminist can, and to believe that she’s avoiding it is both true and needed.  Remember, she’s a pop star, she’s paid because her music and image fit well into the mechanisms of the music industry and capitalism as a whole.  To honestly believe that Taylor was at any point going to bring the kind of Twitter septum piercing and fros-feminism that her detractors wanted says a lot about them.

Fact is, Beyoncé is no more revolutionary than Taylor or any one who makes a living as a public figure and mainstream artist.  To believe this explains why Taylor stole the image in the first place:  it SELLS.  All Beyoncé did was make a series of, yes, catchy songs and videos that gave her fans what they wanted:  GIF-able scenes, wardrobe that would leave an impression, black imagery that would satiate the pedantically woke black fans of hers, feminine black men dancing around, and meme-able lyrics.

So Taylor thought, well if that’s what’s selling now, why not go that route?  People will say, “Well why does she have to rip off Beyoncé?”  Because she can.  Again, if she wants to sue, go right ahead.  But if every time someone rips off someone in some way had to get called out, nothing would get done in society.  Hell, you think Teslas’ family is pressed because Edison ripped off Nikolai and changed the world?  Did anyone say anything decades later when Stax Records made better music than Motown, but Motown just ripped people off and got over on them off respectability?

“But what about the release date?”  Look, I’m a Kanye fan, but even I think that line in Famous was on some shit.  If Taylor changed her mind later, she has a right to.  The shit was gross.  Honestly, she probably only said yes out of nervousness.  Am I a Taylor Swift fan?  No.  If I have to listen to a white girl sing pop songs, there’s always Lana Del Rey.  Taylor has catchy songs, but nothing I really care about.  Honestly, as a person I can put up with her as she’s cheery and pretty, but at the end of the day I know this is a pop star maintaining an image.

The issue are her detractors, namely the ones who defend Beyoncé when Beyoncé herself has ripped off countless people over the course of her career.  Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Aaliyah…the list goes on and on.  But because someone they don’t like because, hey, THEY decided to keep an image that keeps them raking in the endorsements while their fandom has to act like Aum Shinrikio to maintain her fanbase.

If you don’t like Taylor Swift, fine.  But don’t claim this is about racism or black art not getting its credit when this is really more about the fact you naively believe that any art form driven by capitalism is above underhanded tactics.

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