#Mayochella: A Bigger Picture
Taylor Swift is puzzling, right? When it comes to her music, you can find yourself getting on board to her catchy songs. There’s a sugary quality that creeps up and she manages to fly below the radar. She writes her own music, and plays the guitar. Okay Taylor, we see you.
Just above the radar she hovers over so well is calculation; a “Did I do that?” persona that is quite annoying. Hence, her performance at the Billboard Music Awards. Taylor performed her new single “ME!” accompanied by a pink-clad marching band. It was just two weeks after Beyonce released Homecoming on Netflix; her history-making Coachella performance from last year. And yes, Beyonce performed with an alternately yellow and pink-clad marching band.
Purely coincidental, right? We know that Beyonce didn’t create marching bands, nor is she the first artist to use one. But the timing was in such poor taste. Well, the Beyhive wasted no time calling Taylor out. #Mayochella began trending, and she was given a new nickname: Taylor Grift.
However, Taylor’s performance just continues to probe an even more disturbing issue; the long history of black women’s achievements being ignored, appropriated and undermined.
This happens everywhere, from pop culture to politics, and just everyday life. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that black women are the demographic most likely to be invisible in social situations. The “women of color” band-aid diminishes the unique issues black women face. There is a deliberate commitment with which people refuse to acknowledge the contributions of black women.
Last year, actress Rebel Wilson claimed to be “the first ever plus-sized girl to be the star of a romantic comedy.” Of course, we had to remind her that Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique had starred in romcoms long before she came along. She came back with the whole thing was a “grey area”, before ultimately apologizing.
Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya’s athletic achievements have infuriated the committee so much that they refuse to acknowledge her as a woman, and are forcing her to chemically change her body so she is slower. She can no longer run in women’s races.
Let’s not forget the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Madonna, and even Jennifer Lopez. They all have been deemed culture vultures, taking pre-existing work or style from black women and blatantly recreating it.
Taylor Swift has cultural dominance in her own lane. She really has no reason to jump the fence, but you can bet she’ll be doing it again soon.