Taylor Swift used her VMA speech to send a powerful message to Trump and the White House
Taylor Swift took home the MTV VMA award for video of the year, but not before she called out president Donald Trump for his stance on LGBT+ rights.
After opening the VMAs with a drag queen-filled performance of ‘You Need To Calm Down’, Swift capped the night by winning the award for video of the year.
Taking to the stage flanked by Todrick Hall and a bevy of queens (including one who host John Travolta mistook for Swift), the singer used her acceptance speech to send a direct message to the White House.
Reminding viewers that the award was decided by fans, she said: “You voting for this video means that you want a world where we’re all treated equally under the law, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify.”
She pointed fans to her petition in support of the Equality Act, “which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law”.
“I want to thank everyone that signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” she continued, as she mimed tapping a wristwatch.
It means you want a world where we’re all treated equally under the law.
Earlier in the night, Swift and her posse also accepted the video for good award.
Rather than speaking herself, Swift handed the microphone to Hall, who co-executive produced the ‘You Need To Calm Down’ video.
Hall reminisced on his southern upbringing, saying: “I grew up in the small town of Plainview, Texas, and my entire life, all I wanted to be was Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
“I put a red towel on my head and tied my legs together and jumped in a pool, almost drowned — and after that, people started to tell me the things I could not do and could not accomplish in the world.
“If you are a young child out there watching this show who is different, who feels misunderstood, we need you more than ever to share your art, share your stories, share your truth with the world no matter what you identify as, who you identify as, who you love. This is just such a beautiful place.”
Taylor Swift released LGBT-themed video for Pride month.
Swift divided fans in June with the video for ‘You Need To Calm Down’ – which included appearances from more than a dozen LGBT+ celebrities and ended with a link to her Equality Act petition.
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As well as Drag Race stars including Delta Work, Trinity the Tuck, Tatiana and RuPaul herself, the video also featured cameos by Adam Rippon, Hayley Kiyoko, Laverne Cox, Ellen DeGeneres and the cast of Queer Eye.
Though there were some accusations of pandering to the queer audience, many commended the singer for putting her money where her mouth is by hiring a mostly LGBT+ cast, just a few weeks after she made a six-figure donation to an LGBT+ advocacy group.
After the video was released during Pride Month, Swift revealed what motivated her to take on the LGBT+ cause after a career of political silence.
She told Vogue magazine that Hall unintentionally motivated her to be more vocal in her support for LGBT+ rights, after he asked her: “What would you do if your son was gay?”
“The fact that he had to ask me… shocked me and made me realise that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough,” she said.
“If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking,” she goes on. “It was kind of devastating to realise that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”