All Articles Tagged "Taylor Swift"
There are certain figures that command so much attention they’re deemed a powerful influence. Whether a celebrity, politician or CEO of a major company, these individuals appear to help make the world go round. Here’s a short-list of some folks you might recognize who made FORTUNE magazine’s 2015 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Surprisingly, people like President Obama didn’t appear to make the cut.
Even I had to do a double take at my computer screen after news broke that Taylor Swift had been named New York’s Welcome Ambassador. Out of all the celebrities who were born and raised in the Big Apple, it was a smack in the face to appoint someone who has only called it home for six months. Regardless, it was a decision that was made.
Last year Tay Tay vowed to donate all the proceeds from her song “Welcome to New York” to New York City public schools. It was a nice gesture, and the money is definitely needed. Too bad when she wrote the check–and made good on her promise–it wasn’t as much as some people would’ve liked.
For many New Yorkers, $50,000 just isn’t enough. Some critics even equate her small donation to throwing a quarter at a homeless person. Now I personally don’t have $50,000 to give to anyone, let alone a school system. Is it my place to judge how much someone gives out their pocket?
More to the point, how much do we expect celebrities to donate to good causes?
Now there are two sides to this coin. On one end you can look at Swift’s estimated net worth that’s currently at $200 million. She made FORBES list just last year as the second highest paid country star (reportedly earned $64 million). Needless to say she has more than enough money to donate to New York City public schools. Maybe it would’ve been a better idea to add to her $50,000 contribution so the funds could stretch a little more? Considering she was the 2014 Most Charitable Celebrity, it might’ve been a good look.
Taylor Swift’s charitable contribution–or lack thereof–has been compared to Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million donation to the Newark school system. Is it really fair to compare her donation to one made by a billionaire (worth $35.1 billion)? As wonderful as the Facebook co-founder’s intentions were, news outlets revealed his donation is practically gone with little-to-no real improvements.
Then there’s the other side of the coin that you might not take into consideration: entertainers don’t make a ton of money on digital sales. Thanks to modern technology, it has become really easy to pirate songs and pick and choose the ones you want for $1.29 or less without buying the entire album. It’s estimated musicians make 10 cents on the dollar which does explain the $50,000.
No wonder so many go on tours.
I’m on the fence about this one. I do understand the backlash–especially when you consider celebrities are enjoying their lifestyle because of us common folks who buy into their brand. At some point, it would be nice to get something back that can help pay it forward. Jay Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation has provided close to $3 million to help children and youth in need that has more than likely benefited New Yorkers. Beyoncé’s #BeyGOOD endeavor has been praised for its support of shelters, schools and community hospitals throughout the Big Apple. Perhaps Swift should’ve taken a page from others making noticeable strides in the town she calls home?
Then again, not everyone wants or needs to publicize their philanthropic efforts. Halle Berry has not only supported the Jenesse Center but continues to give much of her time to helping the women in the shelter. In fact, most of us had no idea about her physical involvement. And then there’s folks like the late Robin Williams who raised money out of the public eye for the West Seattle Food Bank.
In thinking about Taylor Swift and celebrity philanthropy, I’m reminded of a scripture that says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.” Hopefully I too can enrich my community with a monetary donation, but I personally don’t feel right about telling others how much they should donate.
Don’t know if you noticed but the Oscars didn’t exactly have that much for Black people. With the exception of Common and John Legend performing and winning the Academy Award for their song “Glory,” the show was a sea of White faces. It’s the reason we didn’t live tweet the show like we usually do. Instead, we simply showed you what our faves were wearing on the carpet. So in honor of our disappointment and in anticipation for tonight’s BET Honors, we’re highlighting some of the Blackest moments from award shows in the past decade or so.
“The Voices In My Head Told Me To Go”: Kanye Clarifies Comments About Beck After Backlash; Says He’s Working With Taylor Swift
After all of his yapping about Beyoncé being more deserving of the “Album of the Year” award at the Grammys than Beck, Kanye West’s name has been in everyone’s mouth for the past few days.
He almost brought us back to the 2009 VMAs when he ran on stage while Beck picked up his award, only to smile and run back down. He said that he was just joking at that moment, but comments he made later were anything but light and comical. As he told the folks at E! News after the big show:
“The Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t finna play with them no more! And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé. And at this point, we tired of it. Because what happens is when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face, after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration.
And we, as musicians, have to inspire people who go to work every day. And they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place. Then they do this whole promotional event…you know they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want the commercial advertising. Like no, we’re not playing with them anymore.
And by the way I got my wife, my daughter and I got my clothing line. So I’m not finna to do nothing to put my daughter at risk but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s why I didn’t say nothing tonight. But y’all know what it meant when Ye walked on that stage.”
Well, people weren’t feeling what he had to say (especially since Beyoncé doesn’t need him to be her keeper), so in an interview with On Air With Ryan Seacrest, he was given the chance to explain himself. He made it clear that he does have the utmost respect for Beck, and that his issue was more so with the Grammys than the musician. He also revealed that he will soon be teaming up with the first person he stage crashed, Taylor Swift, to make music:
Working With Taylor Swift
Yeah, she wants to get in the studio and we’re definitely going to go in. Any artist with an amazing point of view, perspective, fan base, I’m down to get in the studio and work. I don’t discriminate, I don’t have an elitism of music because of like how many Grammys or you know, the amount of ratings you get on an album. I that think everyone loves music whether they love hip-hop, alternative, country, and if I could be involved in giving people any type of energy, advice in the studio, whether you’re Beyonce, whether you’re Taylor Swift, whether you’re Jay Z, whether you’re Beck, whoever, and they can be reciprocal with that, I’d like to be involved with that.
If He Wanted To Say Something When He Got Out Of His Seat At The Grammys
You know, I felt like just the whole Grammys, right when that happened, everybody was looking at me and then people started screaming, “Kanye! Kanye! Go do it!” Ok, that didn’t really happen, these were voices in my head. So the voices in my head told me go and then I just walked up like halfway up the stage. You know, what I really wanted to do is just joke around about what had happened before, but I just really didn’t want to take away from Beck’s moment or the time he’s having to talk because you know the Grammys, they play music really quick no matter who you are and everything. So I didn’t want anything to take away from his screen time. So I just walked back down because you know, it was kind of a joke like the Grammys themselves.
If He Thinks He Was Disrespectful To Beck
Well first of all, Beck is one of the nicest guys and one of the most respected musicians in the game. So, there’s nothing that I will want to do as a fellow musician to disrespect him in any way. And the weird thing is like, and I don’t feel like I have the right to take away from people’s moments, but the reality of it is — and case in point by who came up to me right afterwards — is it’s almost like a chiropractor. You know, you just get a little crook out like, “Wow, this crook has been there!” It’s just a little jolt of truth, right? And then you know, everyone feels better after the fact, or everyone is way more famous after the fact, or everyone sells way more albums after the fact, and then Kanye just goes on being an a**hole to everyone.
And when I said that thing about respect artistry, I think it came off the wrong way, and that was a mis-wording on my part because obviously Beck is one the most respected artists and respects artistry. But I felt — and this is my opinion and he’s his own man and he’s not wrong and we’ll still go play basketball and stuff [unless] he doesn’t want to do it — but I felt that even though the Grammys sometimes gives awards to people who you wouldn’t think should win in the category, as a respect to artists, we mention the other artist’s name in our speech. And that was the point I was making about it. There’s like many of times I gave other people my award, literally made them come up onstage. Maroon 5, when they won best new artist, [Adam Levine] mentioned me because it was the College Dropout and [it had] 10 nominations and all that.
Why He Decided To Deliver His Rant After The Show
Well you know what happened? It’s because I sat there and I kind of let that [smolder] and I was asked my opinion and I was given a platform. And when given a platform, it’s very hard as we know — and I’m going to talk in third person like I’m a crazy person — but it’s very hard for Kanye West to not be very true and vocal to what he feels. You know, it’s like people take the Grammys for granted in a way because of the commercials, because a lot of the musicians are very rich and everything, but this is our Super Bowl. You know, and someone’s got to be mad that [Marshawn Lynch] didn’t get the ball.
At the end of the day, you win some, you lose some, and considering that Beyoncé has the most Grammy nominations of any female artist, and won 20, she’s not hurting for yet another one–even if it is “Album of the Year.”
Who is your favorite artist of the year? Do you think they will earn a coveted Grammy award for their hard work? Time will have to tell as nominees of the 2015 Grammys are still waiting to hear their names called. The Recording Academy has decided to switch things up this year by announcing nominations throughout the entire day. While we’ll have to wait and see who’s in and out, here is what we know right now. Head over to Twitter for full Grammy nominee coverage.
I couldn’t have been the only person who saw the SNL skit “Swiftamine” a busted out laughing.
Oh, you didn’t see it?
Well, basically the skit was about taking a medication, the moment you realize you’re starting to like Taylor Swift. It was like SNL had been in my living room, listening to my conversations.
For weeks I had been talking about how much I loved her new single “Shake It Off” and was seriously contemplating adding it to my iPod.
“Shake It Off” is my ish!
And I’m no longer ashamed to tell anyone.
Apparently, I’m not the only one. The song struck such a chord (no pun intended) with violinists Charly and Margaux, collectively Chargaux, that they decided to create a cover of it…on the strings.
And they killed that thang.
Check these two flyy ladies playing Taylor’s song so well they had me searching iTunes for the available download.
Trust me, it’ll bless you.
Aretha Franklin Is Asked About Today’s “Divas,” Adele, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift And Nicki Minaj, And She’s Not Impressed
Queen diva Aretha Franklin has been promoting her new hit album, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, and stopped to chat with The Wall Street Journal about it. During her conversation with Christopher John Farley, he asked her why she decided to take on the songs of others, including her decision to sing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
“It was Mr. Davis, the chairman’s idea…he brought the list to me, the list of singers and so on. But it was great because I had already bought some of these records and enjoyed them so it was natural.”
“Rolling in the Deep, I liked it when I first heard it…I said, ‘you know what? I like that melody and I like that song.’ So when Clive presented it to me, I said ‘absolutely.'”
Farley also asked her about today’s singers, and how many choose to use auto-tune, something Franklin isn’t feeling: “Oh please. That’s ridiculous.” So when he asked her to tell him the first thoughts that come to her head when she thinks of today’s divas (she did laud the late Whitney Houston: “She had a gift”), she didn’t have that much to say. She gave a thumbs up to Adele and Alicia, but that was about it.
Adele : “Young singer. Good singer.”
Alicia: “Young performer. Good writer. Producer.”
Taylor Swift: “Okay…Great gowns. Beautiful gowns.”
Nicki Minaj: “Nicki Minaj…Hmmm…I’m going to pass on that one.”
Gotta love ‘retha! She keeps it all the way real. Check out her chat with the WSJ below. The conversation about divas starts at the 3:50 mark.
It’s Not That Serious…Is It? Why I Don’t See Taylor Swift’s Controversial “Shake It Off” Video As Cultural Misappropriation
Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj both took the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards to perform their latest singles (“Shake It Off” and “Anaconda”). Despite occupying two very different genres, both stars have one common detail in their recent visual productions that seem to be bringing in a fair share of controversy– twerking backsides.
One video is being well accepted, albeit a little controversial, and is cited as a return of the booty bounce days.
The other? Well, that artist is being shamed for apparently being misguided and being given two definitive thumbs down.
Twerking became the most prominent dance craze of the moment last year. While twerking isn’t anything new within hip-hop culture, pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen have received an insurmountable wave of backlash for including the rump-shaking dance in their own music videos. It’s very easy to cross the thin line of appreciation and appropriation (just ask Katy Perry, who is often side-eyed for the latter), but in the case of Taylor Swift, if you ask me, it isn’t an open and shut case. How is it possible to celebrate Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” that features four minutes and 49 seconds of vibrating assets while Taylor Swift included fragmented segments of it in her four-minute production?
I understand rapper Earl Sweatshirt’s immediate response when he says that this video may be “inherently offensive and ultimately harmful.” But if this video montage of dance is harmful than what does that say about “Anaconda?” If Swift spent her entire video with only black dancers putting their hands on their knees while she rapped in her hoodie, fitted cap and boom box, then I would better understand how some view the video as wrong. But seeing as how she’s showcasing a medley of dance from ballet, cheerleading and even break dancing (all in a seemingly comical way), when does it really become offensive?
We’ve become so sensitive as a culture and throw darts at any artist that doesn’t have the same amount of melanin in their skin, deeming them to be culture vultures when they feature the same images in their videos that we do. There are moments of taking it too far, but sometimes we can take things a little too far.
There has to be some sense of balance. Every white girl who features twerking in her video is not racist. Things can be done in good taste and in good, clean fun. The storyline of the video is clear that it is poking fun at Swift’s two left feet. As director Mark Romanek put it: “If you look at it carefully, it’s a massively inclusive piece. It’s very, very innocently and positively intentioned. And — let’s remember — it’s a satirical piece. It’s playing with a whole range of music-video tropes and clichés and stereotypes.”
If we fault stars for including what is popular in their visual work – because let’s face it, white, black, purple and green people are all doing it – and even for questioning what seems to be popular, we’d all be stressed out.
Each video fits the genre it operates within. The head Barbie had every man, and maybe even some women, glued to the screen when “Anaconda” dropped, while the former country star has provided a cutesy, cookie cutter “be yourself” video for her fan base. Sometimes that’s all there is to it. So really, is this video really that bad?
Some stars have a reputation of being a tight wad when it comes to money even though they have more than enough of it. But these stars are quite to opposite and don’t mind sharing the wealth when it comes to leaving a tip. Check out this list of celebs who tip well… very well.
Jay Z has 99 problems but money certainly isn’t one. After the Brooklyn rapper teamed up with his mentee Kanye West for their collaborative “Watch The Throne” album, Hov went all out during the party thrown to celebrate its release. Jay Z ordered a quarter of a million dollars worth of champagne and when it came time to pay for the bill, he didn’t bat an eye dropping an extra $50,000 for the wait staff.
Sometimes it’s over just as quickly as it starts — it being these ridiculously short celebrity romances you might’ve missed if you blinked an eye.
Jennifer Lopez and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
When Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony tied the knot back in 2004, it seemed like a match made in heaven so fans were understandably shocked when they announced their split in 2011. J. Lo moved on to back-up dancer Cris Smart and they remained a couple until early June of 2014. While hot on the promo trail to get the word out about her upcoming album, Lopez started making different headlines. Reports leaked that Lopez had hooked up with “Dancing with the Stars” dancer and recent mirror ball champ Maksim Chmerkovskiy. But as quickly as it started, things have seemed to fizzle out. Reportedly, Chmerkovskiy was turned off by the media attention Lopez garnered and was looking for something a little more low-key.