I’m a hardcore Beyonce fan. My Stan card was letter printed by Girlz Tyme members, verified by Skeleton Crew, signed with LeTavia’s tears, and delivered in Farrah’s luggage. I’ve attended 13 Beyonce concerts. My Twitter and IG handles are obscure references to my favorite Beyoncé song. I. GO. HARD. So when I saw the Twittersphere dragging Taylor Swift for what seemed to be an obvious Country Time version of Beyoncé’s Lemonade, I was livid.
Surely she’s not coming for my Bey? Is she really about to defile our Queen’s love letter to black women? Have we not already suffered enough at the hands of the Grammy Academy? Is this girl crazy? I gleefully traded screenshots with friends as black America dragged her through the mud and the BeyHive called for her head.
Let me be clear, I actually like Taylor’s music. I became a fan back of her during her Country days, and Shake it Off has been the soundtrack to more traffic shenanigans with my son than I can count. Taylor is unabashed and unapologetic, and everything she should be as a white Pop star in American culture. She writes, plays guitar, arranges and sings. But as much as I enjoy her catalog, the idea of her watering down any portion of the Lemonade visual for Middle America’s consumption was too much for me to handle. I couldn’t wait for the video to drop!
As I stared at my phone late Sunday night, I’d like to say I was surprised. I wasn’t. “Look What You Made Me Do” plays as the typical angst ridden white girl bop, perched precariously on vague references to rumors of feuds with KimYe & Katy. It also pushes through to supposed realization of self. This Taylor seems to recognize that the old Taylor’s were annoying, needy, dramatic, and fake. Or, at least she wants us to believe so. It conveniently plays well to her audience and sets her up to go in whatever direction she chooses with her new album.
I’d really love to say Taylor’s artistic interpretation was completely devoid of any Lemonade references, but I can’t. She brandished a baseball bat in ways far too similar to “Hot Sauce”. Try as I might, I can’t deny that. I noted a quick throwback to Bey’s “If I Were A Boy” 2010 Grammy performance; and if I stretched first, I could find some “Upgrade You” or “Telephone” inspiration in that car scene. When the unmistakably identical “Formation” sequence popped up, it took all of my willpower not to roll my eyes. I waited for a proper hair toss, middle finger, hip roll or booty pop. It never occurred.
Truth be told, the setting and formation of dancers are very similar, but there is nothing akin to Beyoncé to be found in those stiff hip movements and wild arm placements. No Swifties, your Queen’s head is safe. No matter how it’s packaged, what Taylor is peddling is the exact opposite of Beyoncé.