All Articles Tagged "Taylor Swift"
With the official end of summer just a week away, we thought it was only right to give one last hooray to day parties, BBQs, and good weather. Click through the next slides and check out these artists who ruled the airwaves and provided the top ten songs that became the soundtrack of summer 2015.
10. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
You may not know Rachel Platten’s name but chances are you know her song. The 34-year-old singer wrote “Fight Song” as an inspirational song for herself after struggling for years to make it big in the music industry. The message caught on quick and the song was used in an episode of Pretty Little Liars, in promos for Revenge and Supergirl and is also being used in a Ford commercial.
Did you watch the 2015 Video Music Awards last night? We did too, and from missing guests to celebrity beef, we were left with some questions about this year’s show that we need answers to.
I had no legitimate reason to watch the MTV VMAs last night. In fact, not having cable, I went through a bit of trouble to actually do so. And honestly, it just wasn’t worth it…at all. There were some noteworthy moments like Justin Beiber crying. (I still root for him.) Fetty Wap not bothering to show up for the Artist to Watch award and of course Kanye West’s acceptance speech for the Vanguard Award.
In case you missed it, you can listen to the 12 minute speech in the video below. And while you will regret it later, you should do so just to get an understanding of what actually happened and how bizarre and disheartening it really was. (I’ll also include a transcript on the next page; but beware, it does it no justice.)
When it was all said and done, I laughed at the absurdity and then I shook my head in confusion, then later in sadness and disappointment.
In my mind, I thought Kanye would perform, acknowledge the Taylor Swift bull but spend more time and energy talking to us about the passion and purpose behind his artistry. Never did I imagine that there would be no performance but that Kanye West, a musical genius in our midst, would reduce his entire career to the Taylor Swift incident and not being liked.
I’m not going to pretend that we all don’t worry, ridiculously, about being liked. It’s just human nature. But throughout his entire speech, I just kept asking myself not liked by who though? If I remember correctly, it was mostly mainstream White folks who were upset the big Black man made the pretty little blonde hair, blue eyed White girl sad. Black people knew that Kanye was both right and wrong.
Right in the sense that Beyoncé did deserve that award and wrong because he shouldn’t have been the one to tell her that, in that manner. But there was validity in his statement. And, as he mentioned in his speech, it worked wonders for MTV and pop culture. And catapulted Taylor into a level of stardom she might not have enjoyed without him.
Black people knew and still know that Kanye is arrogant. No one believes in him or herself more than Kanye West. And while I’m sure that irks the hell out of some people, it’s one of the things I love most about Kanye. He is a genius. And in recognizing his own gifts, he should be able to say that. But a Black man proclaiming his own excellence is not only irritating, it’s threatening to White people. That, in combination with Taylor Swift, made him so deplorable. And if he were disliked because of that, it’s certainly something he should have to apologize for. Still, I don’t know that many people who don’t like him. Granted, I’m mostly around Black people…but most of them not only recognize Kanye’s talent, they root for him to win. We know he’s eccentric, like most creatives are, but we also know that Kanye is going to produce. I abhorred the “30 Showers” comment and swore the Kanye I knew and loved had left us for good. And then “All Day” came out. And I had to acknowledge his greatness once again.
My sister literally calls him Cousin Kanye because even when he does some off the wall things, we still regard him as family. We all have family members who act a fool but at the end of the day, it’s still love.
And just like I would be with any family member, I’m glad that Kanye recognized the error in his ways with the Taylor Swift situation. But he’s apologized on several different occasions, publicly and privately. It’s so over. Which is why it hurts me to know that when he had the opportunity to speak about his greatness, about his actual talent, a fact none of us can deny, he made it about Taylor again.
Anyone who’s been watching the award show since the Taylor Swift/Kanye incident, can tell you that it is always about her. Her awkward dance moves, her shady reactions to Justin Beiber, her performances, and her “you-really-like-me?” shocked face when she cleans up year after year with the most moon man trophies. I thought since Kanye had the chance to speak about himself and his art, he would take the opportunity to do so. If not that, perhaps, with it being the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, he would have taken the time to remind us of the days when he told us all, so prophetically, that George Bush didn’t care about Black people. That was true. And it needed to be said. But these days, living in the Kardashian cog, Kanye is not so concerned about race anymore. He believes classism is the new racism.
Classism is an issue. It certainly was in Katrina. But let’s not pretend that they don’t work hand in hand. Particularly when Black people are disproportionately jobless, underemployed and living in poverty.
Perhaps it’s unrealistic for me to expect so much. But the absolute last thing I thought I was going to watch was Kanye West pandering to White people who never really got it in the first place.
For those who can’t watch the video right now, check out Kanye’s full speech on the next page.
Many of us tuned into the 2015 VMAs in the hopes of seeing the way Nicki Minaj would respond to all the madness surrounding her controversial tweets about the inequity that Black women deal with in the entertainment business. Some tuned in to see if Minaj would blow up Miley Cyrus’ spot for basically calling her an angry Black woman last week. And she did. But that barely matters when you look at the bigger picture.
I think we all really just got duped by Taylor Swift.
Minaj opened the show with a performance of the catchy single “Trini Dem Girls” that led into “The Night is Still Young,” which culminated with Swift taking the stage in an act of pop solidarity. The performance ended with the formerly beefing pair singing Swift’s hit single, “Bad Blood.” What a well-orchestrated publicity stunt. Well done.
It was pretty odd that after all her pushback, Minaj decided to take the opening slot at a show that she claimed had done her wrong. So it should have come as no surprise that she would do so to wave a public white flag to Swift. I imagine that after Swift injected herself into Minaj’s tweets, the singer recognized damage control needed to be done and wasted no time getting Minaj on the phone to orchestrate a superficially huge water cooler and girl power moment for the 2015 VMAs.
Or, it’s possible that the entire beef was designed to give the music network ratings and relevance for its annual magnum opus. We mustn’t forget that the entertainment industry is all smoke and mirrors. Swift fans will welcome Minaj back into the fold while Minaj continues to dominate the pop-rap game, and all goes back to normal.
So who loses here? Everyone but Swift.
I suppose that at the end of the day, if it weren’t a stunt, Minaj couldn’t keep it really real even if she wanted to. She is a mainstream artist with a primarily White fanbase nowadays. But just as I started to come to terms with the whole publicity stunt thing, Minaj won Best Hip-Hop Video Award and things got even weirder. Minaj did her usual dance in her acceptance speech, thanking her fans and big upping independent boys and girls. Then she took a breath and thanked her pastor before launching into an assault on Miley Cyrus, the evening’s host, who was standing on the other side of the stage.
“And now back to the b***h who had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
The petite singer barked at a visibly startled Miley Cyrus, who wasted no time in her rebuttal. Miley responded to the MC while asking viewers to vote for the Artist To Watch award.
“Hey, we’re all in this industry. We all do interviews and you know how they manipulate sh*t. Congratu-f***ing-lations.”
The camera cut to Minaj during Cyrus’ rebuttal, and she seemed to be popping off. She was nowhere near the microphone, but she definitely told Cyrus “don’t play with me, b***h.”
Now for all intents and purposes, this entire exchange seemed real, and MTV even issued a statement clarifying that the moment was not staged. But that’s not really saying much. Either way, Minaj loses. Cyrus merely comes off looking dismissive and ignorant, but she gets attention, which is her only goal. Minaj has now taken a major blow to her credibility, which is critical at the end of the day. Beefing with Cyrus is a means to an end; she’s a buffoon who is not taken seriously. But in a perfect world, Minaj would have used her acceptance speech to further address disparities and clarify her original tweets that Swift misconstrued and Cyrus brushed off. It would have been a standout moment in her career, an important turning point. But alas, Minaj didn’t have time for that.
There is only one clear winner in this trifecta of beef: Taylor Swift. She managed to take a moment of cultural interference and transform it into a showcase to serve her perpetual victimhood. She started the show with a moment of redemption. In the middle of the show, she presented Kanye West with the Video Vanguard award, and half of West’s speech was dedicated to her. And to top it all off, she won Video of the Year with Kendrick Lamar as her supporting act. She has successfully stolen moments from all these people, and it is completely unacceptable, but of course, nothing will be done about it.
Going forward, we can only hope that Swift’s reign will not run over any more of the artists we enjoy. But most importantly, going forward, we all have to embrace the fact that our pop stars are not going to end our societal ills and that they will often use major issues, even ones as important as racial disparities, simply for attention. We have to keep doing the work ourselves and remember not to let the Taylor Swifts in our lives, hijack our moments.
There have been a lot of wardrobe malfunctions in Hollywood, but none of them can top Lenny Kravitz’ recent concert where he rocked out with it all out when his pants split open mid show (and revealed his secret piercing to the entire audience). We’ve got the gif here, but keep in mind it’s very NSFW.
Continue clicking to peep these celebrity wardrobe malfunctions left nothing to the imagination.
When Nicki Minaj expressed her frustration about MTV failing to nominate “Anaconda” for video of the year, we immediately assumed she referencing an issue of race. MTV has a very long history of pushing Black artists and other artist of color into the margins.
The story dominated the news cycle, particularly when Taylor Swift came out asking Nicki why she was coming for her, when she had been nothing but supportive. You know the mainstream is always here for Taylor’s victimization.
But before her performance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Nicki addressed the Twitter discussion. And her comments made us wonder if this was about race at all…
Read the excerpts and then watch the entire interview below.
Well, first of all I spoke to Taylor Swift yesterday on the phone. She was super, super sweet and she apologized. She said, ‘You know look, I didn’t understand the big picture of what you were saying but now I get it.’
So we’re all good.
I was just saying– I posted something on my Instagram and it just showed the stats of other videos that had been nominated previously and there just seemed to be a little funny business going on.
“Anaconda” had such a huge cultural impact and on top of that we broke the Vevo record. So, this is actually my third time breaking the Vevo record and Anaconda, therefore should have been nominated for it. And I do think that if it was one of the pop girls, they would have had many nominations for it.
I think I got two nominations for Anaconda for female and for hip hop but it should have been for the year.
I think that we just have to have both images for girls. We can’t have only one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are.
In addition to mentioning body type and pop in her initial Twitter rants, she also said:
“I’m not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pope culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it.”
She later deleted that tweet.
During her comments this morning, she softened her language a little bit, referencing body types and pop vs. rap. It’s coded and watered down a bit for the White folks but the implications are still the same. Pop= White, Rap= Black. Slim bodies = White girls. Thicker bodies=Black girls.
But maybe the predominately White crowd and White host weren’t ready for the race talk.
What do you think about Nicki’s explanation on GMA? Do you think people will understand the greater, deeper, racial implications behind her message or will they be lost in the sauce?
After inserting herself into a Nicki Minaj’s Twitter campaign against the double standards faced by Black women in pop culture, Taylor Swift is apologizing to the “Feelin’ Myself” rapper.
Earlier this week when VMA nominations were announced, Nicki publicly slammed the network for failing to nominate the visuals prepared for her singles “Feelin’ Myself” and “Anaconda.”
Hey guys @MTV thank you for my nominations. Did Feeling Myself miss the deadline or…?
If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year. I’m not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it.
Swift, whose music video “Bad Blood” scored a VMA nod, felt that Nicki’s tweets were a personal attack and quickly responded on the social media platform.
I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.
Once informed that Nicki’s anger was not directed at her, but more so at the system that perpertuates these double standards, Swift began to back peddle.
@NICKIMINAJ If I win, please come up with me!! You’re invited to any stage I’m ever on.
The “Shake It Off” singer also issued a more formal apology Thursday for her hasty response.
I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I'm sorry, Nicki. @NICKIMINAJ
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 23, 2015
That means so much Taylor, thank you. @taylorswift13 ❤️❤️❤️
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 23, 2015
I've always loved her. Everyone makes mistakes. She gained so much more respect from me. Let's move on. https://t.co/mx9pfIdnzT
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 23, 2015
Well, that’s settled. However, the case of the missing VMA nomination remains. Do you believe Nicki was deserving of a Video Music Award nomination this year?
The MTV Video Music Awards have always been more about controversy than music videos. From the Kanye West and Taylor Swift “I’mma let you finish” moment to Lady Gaga’s meat dress and the Britney, Christina and Madonna liplock heard ’round the world, you never know what to expect from the award show. But as for the nominations and the announcement of them, there is rarely any fuss over them.
That is until now.
The nominations for the 2015 MTV VMAs were announced yesterday morning, and both Nicki Minaj and controversial rapper Azealia Banks wasted no time tweeting their feelings about being snubbed. Minaj expressed her gratitude for her nominations but felt some kind of way about the lack of recognition for “Feeling Myself”:
Hey guys @MTV thank you for my nominations. 😘😘😘 Did Feeling Myself miss the deadline or…?
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
Shortly after, Banks added her two cents about her music and its lack of consideration during award season. She picked up no award nominations.
All my videos deserve VMas and my album deserves a Grammy but I’ll never get one because America doesn’t like opinionated black women. — AZEALIA BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) July 21, 2015
This was not a new song for Banks to sing. Just months ago she took to Twitter to give her two cents about Nicki Minaj always winning Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards.
The female rap award at the bet awards goes to nicki every year, it’s not even a real award anymore lol it’s a bit of a running joke.
— AZEALIA BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) May 18, 2015
In both cases, Banks wasn’t wrong. Minaj has won that award six years in a row. In fact, she won so many awards this year that at one point during last month’s ceremony, she accepted one and didn’t even know what it was for. And mainstream media has no love for opinionated Black women. But Banks is unfiltered and often emotional, and this combination ends with her saying some very taboo things more often than not. It’s become so normal for her that people can’t hear her even when she makes a very valid point. In the end, her credibility and musical talents have taken a back seat to her often tone-deaf opinions.
But Minaj does not have this issue. She defends herself and brings attention to her ownership of her sexuality. Her comments on race, while rare, are usually shared without backlash–until today. After inquiring about the lack of love for her collaboration with Beyoncé, Minaj continued to retweet her fans who were in an uproar that “Anaconda” and “Feeling Myself” did not receive nominations for Video of the Year. Minaj would even go on to blame the lack of acknowledgment for her record-breaking videos on the fact that she’s a Black woman, and a voluptuous one at that:
If I was a different “kind” of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well. 😊😊😊 — NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
When the “other” girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
But it was this subtweet that awoke the outrage of full-time victim, Taylor Swift:
If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊 — NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) July 21, 2015
The 2015 MTV VMA Video of the Year nominees include Beyoncé’s “7/11”, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” clip, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars for “Uptown Funk,” and Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar for “Bad Blood.” The only video in the entire bunch that “celebrates women with very slim bodies” is Swift’s “Bad Blood.” The finger-pointing and condescending happy faces proved too much for Swift to handle, and she swiftly (no pun intended) responded:
@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot..
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 21, 2015
It’s a bit of a reach for Minaj to act like she wasn’t calling out Swift. And it is interesting considering that there is a public history of good will between the two superstars. Back in 2011, Minaj went on record with Billboard to publicly acknowledge Swift for introducing “Super Bass” to a new fanbase. Swift rapped the song in a viral clip after requesting it during a radio interview.
“I want to publicly say again that Taylor Swift really launched that single into another stratosphere, with just tweeting about it and rapping it and stuff. I performed it with Taylor, and she’s so cute, and she’s like a big bowl of ice cream!”
While Minaj may have been a little petty with the subtweets, did Swift need to insert herself in this conversation about the Black female plight in the entertainment industry? Nope. Not unless she was trying to boost the issue into the mainstream. Swift’s main problem is with the lack of girl power, whereas Minaj is citing issues of race. But Swift’s gender-based clap back completely overshadowed Minaj’s whole point. In no time flat, they were caught up in yet another celebrity faux “beef,” with Minaj’s statements being labeled as “jabs” against Swift by mainstream media. Swift wins yet again.
The “Bad Blood” singer is often lauded for being the innocent, bullied country-meets-pop singer who supports all girls, but even she couldn’t acknowledge the possibility of a racial disparity in the music business. So, instead, she made a moment that wasn’t about her, about her. And while Minaj’s agenda is definitely self-serving, she had a point that could have made for a great national conversation until it was successfully derailed by Swift.
There’s absolutely no denying that this issue between successful, wealthy music artists is of much lower social significance and importance than the tragedy of Sandra Bland, Kindra Chapman, and many others. But this back and forth does expose things about the racial climate in America. This is about the devaluing of Black women and the kidnapping of our narrative. When Amandla Stenberg commented on Kylie Jenner’s appropriation of Black women’s style while ignoring the plight of Black people earlier this month, she was condemned as an angry, jealous Black woman making a big deal out of nothing. As Minaj broadcasts her feelings of erasure, Swift’s interjection and claiming of the narrative makes Minaj (like Azealia Banks, Amandla Stenberg, and countless others) out to be just another “angry Black woman.”
And mainstream media helped to push that image. Right after the spat, news articles from prominent sites like Entertainment Weekly showcased pictures of Minaj with her pink wig giving crazy eyes next to an angelic, glamor shot of Swift. After those on Twitter had raised their voice in disgust, EW issued an apology without actually addressing the intent behind the selection of the photos:
An earlier version of our post on Taylor & Nicki used an insensitive juxtaposition of photos. It was a hasty choice—we sincerely apologize.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) July 22, 2015
Hasty? Okay. We see you, Entertainment Weekly.
Inevitably, someone will apologize, and their reconciliation will be broadcast for the world to see at next month’s VMAs. But that does not mean this issue has been put to rest. The erasure of Black women is one of the most divisive and maddening issues we face. Black women so profoundly influence culture and create movements, but are continually cast aside. Our styles are appropriated, rebranded, and we are perpetually silenced.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about the “Anaconda” video or the “Feeling Myself” clip. It doesn’t matter if Minaj’s image rubs you the right or wrong way. But it does matter that as a Black woman, whether in the public eye or not, her feelings are heard and acknowledged.
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Apple Music has officially launched today at 11 a.m. ET ladies and gentlemen. The highly-anticipated streaming service, which is rolling out with the new iOS 8.4 update, features a subscription service (like Spotify), an online radio station called Beats 1, and a platform for artists to share exclusive media with their fans.
It all comes at a price, though — $9.99 per month. There is also a “family plan service,” according to ABC News, that costs $14.99 per month. But for those who aren’t too sure if they want to invest in Apple Music yet, don’t worry, it’s free for the first three months — a perk that was the center of controversy between pop princess Taylor Swift and Apple.
“Apple had originally said that artists would not be paid during the three month free trial period for Apple Music – a decision that prompted Swift to withhold her latest album, 1989, from the service,” according to The Telegraph.
After writing an open letter on her Tumblr account in which she took up the cause of fairness and the need to pay struggling indie artists, Apple changed its policy.
“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,” she said.
Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue made the announcement on Twitter.
“#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period,” Cue tweeted. “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
There is no more beef between Swift and Apple and the pop princess agreed to allow Apple to stream 1989.
The question is how Spotify will respond to Apple’s attempts to recapture its dominate position in the music market. Apple once rules the music roost with its iTunes downloads. More recently, purchases have declined.
According to Sky News, Spotify plans to match Apple’s family service plan, “neutering one of Apple Music’s key selling points.”
Apple really isn’t that much different from Spotify, Sky News reported. “They both have similar-sized music catalogues (30 million songs) and charge the same amount.” But Apple’s interface and recommendation system, Sky News said, is quite impressive.
Have you tried Apple Music yet? What do you think?
Robert Green not only landed his dream job, but also made his mother’s day.
The 22-year-old shared the news with his mother that he received the dance gig of a lifetime. The news sent his mother Sylvia Watlington-Green into complete shock. You can hear her scream “I’m so proud of you…this is just the beginning…I’m so happy for you.”
Robert began to cry after hearing his mother’s excitement. Green explained, “My mother is the most enthusiastic person I have ever met. Her sincerity and genuine thrill for life is admirable. Two years ago, my mom and I packed up in my 1996 Honda and she drove me from east coast to west coast with just enough money to make it. Prior to this amazing moment…I wasn’t working as a dancer as much as I had hoped. (After a series of setbacks) I was in LA with no job, no money, no car – just the support of my mother and my faith.”
At first, Robert was unsure if he should post the moment online. However, after posting it he received tons of messages. One message came from his soon to be boss, Taylor Swift. She tweeted,
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) April 29, 2015
Congratulations to Robert! There’s nothing like hearing the praise of your parents. Especially when you’re in an entertainment career field.