By WALKER MILLER, Features Editor
VIEWER DISCRETION: THIS PIECE CONTAINS LANGUAGE THAT MAY BE UNCOMFORTABLE TO SOME. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (SCPDA) — Logging into Twitter on the morning of Monday, July 18, I was unaware of the shocking, world-changing revelation that had taken place the previous night. This state of blissful ignorance would not last long, however, as I continuously grew more and more curious about all of the references to Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift in my Twitter feed. They were the top hashtags trending on Twitter, along with #KimExposedTaylorParty, which by adding detail somehow made it even more mysterious. As a lifelong Taylor Swift fan, I wondered what Kim could possibly have done to Taylor. What did all of the catty tweets on my Twitter feed mean? Why were so many minor celebrities weighing in on whatever this was?
There was even talk of Kim being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism. I hoped that part was a joke, but now nothing seemed to be sure. The buzz surrounding “Taylorgate” topped the very public Skai Jackson-Azealia Banks showdown from May and even dwarfed January’s legendary feud between Kanye West and Amber Rose.
#KimExposedTaylorParty was being followed more closely than the sometimes-funny, sometimes-depressing Twitter back-and-forth between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. What could Kim possibly have done? Scrolling through my feed desperately trying to find answers seemed futile. I reasoned that a quick Google search would explain everything. This was going to be something huge, right?
Except….it wasn’t. Not at all. The results of my Google were disappointing at best and irritating at worst. By now everyone should know what went down, but here’s a “quick” recap: This originates from 2009, when Kanye famously interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Music Video Awards. She was being presented with the Best Female Video award for “You Belong With Me,” but Kanye went on stage, grabbed the microphone and proceeded to explain why Beyonce should have won the award in question. (Beyonce actually won Best Video of the Year for “Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It].”) Kanye was swiftly condemned from basically everyone (including President Barack Obama) but Swift allegedly forgave him in 2010 before releasing her single “Innocent,” which was viewed as a passive-aggressive song that forgave Kanye while also insulting him.
Fast forward to February 2016: Kanye is now married to Kim and releases his single “Famous.” Controversially, it includes the lyrics “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that b*tch famous.” Alluding to the six-year-old dustup, most listeners assumed that Kanye was mostly joking about how he unintentionally launched Taylor’s career. (In all fairness, both Kanye and Taylor reaped benefits from the VMA Incident Of ‘09, with both artists’ 2010 albums reaching huge commercial success.) Kanye dismissed critics of the lyrics by insisting that he called Taylor to ask permission before including it in the song. Shortly after release, however, Taylor strongly refuted his claims, saying that while she and Kanye did talk on the phone in January about the song, he never asked her specifically about the lyrics in question. Kanye did not react well, tweeting that he asked Kim’s permission as well (as if that justified it) and that Taylor actually came up with the lyrics herself.
This made Kanye seem like a crazy liar who hadn’t moved on from 2009. Later that week, Taylor won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards for her album “1989” and gave an acceptance speech that was thought to be directed at Kanye. She told “all the young women out there: there will be people who will try to take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” in a not-so-subtle reference to the brouhaha over Kanye’s song “Famous.”
What does any of this have to do with Kim? Well, in the dark of the night on July 17, Kim uploaded a series of 19 ten-second video clips to her Snapchat story. The videos in question show excerpts of Kanye’s fabled phone call with Taylor. He is on the phone with Taylor, and Kim is recording via video. They appear to be discussing the disputed lyrics, with Kanye rapping at one point “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex,” and Taylor saying in reply “It’s close to overexposure,” but later acquiescing with “Go with whatever line you think is better.” Critics of Taylor immediately pounced on the recordings, insisting Kim proved Taylor was lying when she said Kanye never asked her about the lyrics. Taylor quickly sidestepped this, posting on Instagram to reiterate that she and Kanye did talk about the song (which she never denied) but that Kanye never told her he intended to call her a b*tch. Indeed, the phrase “that b*tch” goes unmentioned in Kim’s Snapchat story.
The fact that the contentious “b*tch” phrase did not appear in the phone records proves Taylor’s point. Yet the entire world is still acting like Swift committed some unspeakable sin. She is now commonly depicted as a conniving snake throughout social media, complete with serpent-like emoji. The reaction to Kim’s so-called expose has been so disheartening. Even people who reluctantly admit Taylor wasn’t lying still believe she’s overreacting; it’s not a big deal, it’s just two words: That b*tch. This is really what the debate comes down to. Many Hollywood celebrities either take pride in being called a b*tch, like Nicki Minaj or don’t care when the moniker is applied to them, like Kim. But just because Kim is fine with being called a b*tch doesn’t mean Taylor is, or that she should be, or that she’s uptight. Why? Because she dared to challenge Kanye, the king of the male-dominated patriarchy that is hip hop? Since day one, Swift’s brand has been built on “girl power” female-oriented tracks and anthems.
Her target audience is young girls. So why shouldn’t she object to being called a b*tch in a widespread, unapproved single by someone who’s insulted her in the past? Kanye’s attitude and behavior towards women isn’t exactly that of a role model. So why does the burden of proof rest on Taylor now? Why is she the one who has to go to these lengths to convince people Kanye was lying when there’s already no evidence he was telling the truth? Taylor has the right to be angry when a frenemy with a worldwide audience calls her a bitch without permission and then lies about getting her agreement. There’s no evidence that Taylor lied, and plenty of proof that Kanye wasn’t telling the truth. So yes, Taylor is upset. And she has every right to be.